The Nationals will be watching, and have a keen interest, in what happens at Turner Field on Friday evening. They will play the winner of the inaugural one-game wild card round between the Cardinals-Braves on Sunday at 3:07 p.m.
The Braves and Cardinals are both using their best starting pitchers on Friday’s game. The Braves send Kris Medlen (10-1, 1.57 ERA in the regular season) to the mound and the Cardinals will lean on ground-ball pitcher Kyle Lohse (16-3, 2.86 ERA). (Chipper Jones, for the record, said this of Medlen: “He’s the closest thing I’ve played behind to [Greg] Maddux, just in his repertoire.”)
First pitch is at 5:07 p.m. but until around 7 p.m. the sun, and the shadows cast onto the field, will be an issue.
“It’s bad,” Jones said “…That’s why I say if somebody can break through early in the game, it’s going to be tough. It’s going to be a big advantage to score early.”
Added Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny: “If it’s a problem, it’s an equal problem. So everybody is going to have to deal with it, and guys have done it all season. It’s part of the game.”
This could be the last game in Jones’ storied career, and the third baseman, despite a strong season at 40, insists this is the end.
“I was riding in with my mom and dad today,” he said, “and I turned around and told my dad, I was like, ‘This is why I know I’m ready to go. I’m not even nervous.’ I don’t know whether that’s just being prepared, you know and being confident. But usually first game of the playoffs, I’m nervous before the workout the day before.”
The Nationals are 10-8 against the Braves this season, and 4-3 against the Cardinals.
As always, talk about the game here. And follow the action here.
1. Jon Jay, CF
2. Carlos Beltran, RF
3. Matt Holliday, LF
4. Allen Craig, 1B
5. Yadier Molina, C
6. David Freese, 3B
7. Daniel Descalso, 2B
8. Pete Kozma, SS
9. Kyle Lohse, SP
1. Michael Bourn, CF
2. Martin Prado, LF
3. Jason Heyward, RF
4. Chipper Jones, 3B
5. Freddie Freeman, 1B
6. Dan Uggla, 2B
7. David Ross, C
8. Andrelton Simmons, SS
9. Kris Medlen, SP