The Washington Nationals return home on Wednesday for the first ever playoff game at Nationals Park. Edwin Jackson will take the hill for the Nats in a crucial Game 3 of the NLDS. Davey Johnson's club pulled off the split on the road, but each outing by his starter was unremarkable and he was forced to use the full complement of pitchers in his bullpen.
Jackson did not pitch well down the stretch, and posted a 7.71 ERA in two starts against St. Louis. The Cards rocked him for eight earned runs in the final week of the season.
On the other side, Mike Matheny will send veteran righty Chris Carpenter to the hill. Carpenter has plenty of postseason experience, but he wasn't expected to contribute this year. In late July, he had a rib removed in a procedure designed to alleviate stress on the nerves in his shoulder. He was expected to recover and rehab from the surgery for three to six months, but he made a miraculous comeback down the stretch, making three starts at the end of the regular season. He posted a 3.71 ERA in those three starts, and it's hard to project what the Nationals will see from him. But his experience as a team leader and staff ace in postseasons past should have Cards fans feeling comfortable.
Game 3 at Nats Park will lead off a full day of postseason baseball, with first pitch scheduled for 1:07 p.m. ET. The shadows should not play as big a role as they did in the late afternoon games in St. Louis, but they could become a factor if the game goes late.
The Wednesday afternoon game will be broadcast nationally on MLB Network.