Morse and Desmond ready for challenge of Cardinals back home

Nationals left fielder Michael Morse said the St. Louis Cardinals were very good, as expected, at Busch Stadium in the first two games of the National League Division Series. After the Nationals won Game 1, 3-2, the Cardinals rebounded to take Game 2, 12-4.

"They are a tough team at home," Morse said. "If you look at their numbers home and away, they are a tough team to beat. Just like when we were there a couple of weeks ago, they put up some big numbers."

This season, the Cardinals were 50-31 at home and 38-43 on the road. Dating back to last season, the Nationals have won six of their last seven at Nationals Park against St. Louis, outscoring the Cardinals 56-24.

June 14-16, 2011
Washington 8, St. Louis 6
Washington 10, St. Louis 0
Washington 7, St. Louis 4.

Aug. 30-Sept. 2, 2012
Washington 8, St. Louis 1
Washington 10, St. Louis 0
St. Louis 10, Washington 9
Washington 4, St. Louis 3.

But Morse said the Nats accomplished what they needed to in St. Louis with at least one win. And now, obviously, they need two at home to advance.

"We wanted to win one. We won one. That was the big thing," Morse said. "Everyone is talking about how we lost yesterday. That is not affecting us any. We could have lost the first one and won the second one and everybody would have been talking about how great we did. Now we are home and we play good ball here."

Shortstop Ian Desmond said the team had a good workout Tuesday at Nationals Park and the memories of the 12-4 loss are already behind them.

"I think Game 2 was over the minute we stepped into the clubhouse," Desmond said. "It wasn't our quietest moment of the year. We have obviously had worse games than that. We went in there, hostile grounds, played two good games.

"Obviously, the second game, the score of the game didn't dictate the way we played. We were knocking on the door. We left some runners on base. We hit the balls on the barrel a lot. We put some pressure on them. That is all we can ask for going into their place. We are walking out of there (1-1), and we come home in good spirits."

And Morse being an avid deep sea fisherman, I asked him what kind of fish would compare to winning the National League Division Series.

"That would be like a big sailfish, maybe two," Morse smiled. "They are huge. They are bluish silver. A sailfish is a little smaller than a marlin. You can bring them in the boat. But the marlin, you got to touch and let it go."

Save the marlin for the National League Championship Series. Maybe two.

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