After losing five straight games to give the Atlanta Braves a glimmer of hope in the National League East division, the Washington Nationals have now won back to back games in convincing fashion, defeating the St. Louis Cardinals on August 30 by the score of 8-1. Edwin Jackson picked up his eighth win of the year for the Nationals, while Jaime Garcia had his sixth loss.
After going five straight starts giving up at least two earned runs, Edwin Jackson finally turned things around and had a great performance on August 30, throwing eight innings while giving up on unearned run on four hits to go along with ten strikeouts for the game. He has pitched well enough for double digit wins with a 3.53 ERA, but just has not gotten much run support on the season. Jackson has not gotten as much recognition either being in the back end of the rotation and all as Stephen Strasburg and Gio Gonzalez have dominated the headlines, but that is not to say that he hasn't played an important role in contributing to the team's success this year. It will be interesting to see if the Nationals try to resign him in the offseason, because he will more than likely garner a lot of interest from around the league.
The offense for Washington has been on the rebound after a rough series against the Philadelphia Phillies, and Bryce Harper has played an important role in that, going 2 for 5 against the Cardinals with a home run in the first inning to go along with three RBIs for the game. Harper now has three home runs over his past two games with 15 on the year overall, and finally seems to be comfortable at the plate after having a dismal second half of the season to this point. With everyone back in the lineup healthy and Harper starting to turn things around, the Nationals have all but wrapped up the division in my view, as the Braves have been too inconsistent to make a run and the team's starting pitching has remained rock solid.
The Washington Nationals will look to make it three wins in a row on August 31 as Gio Gonzalez takes the mound against Adam Wainwright in what should be a great pitching matchup. Gio has had a great year for the Nationals with a 16-7 record and a 3.28 ERA, and will need to continue being the ace of the staff with Stephen Strasburg supposedly being shut down for the season over the next couple of weeks. Wainwright has won his past five starts and has been in a groove of late, so Washington's lineup may have a rough go of it in this one.
Ryan Kekoufski lives near the Nationals' stadium and has been following the team ever since they moved to Washington D.C.