Jackson in trouble early (Nationals missing offensive opportunities)

For the second straight game, a Nationals starter has fallen behind big before the end of the second inning.

On Monday, it was Jordan Zimmermann putting the Nats in a 4-1 hole after two innings. Today, it's Edwin Jackson who has allowed four runs in the first two frames, leaving the Nats trailing 4-0.

Jackson retired the first two hitters he faced to start the game, but allowed a two-out single to Matt Holliday and an RBI double down the left field line to Allen Craig, getting the Cardinals on the board and taking some of the life out of a hopped-up Nationals Park crowd.

The Nats' veteran right-hander avoided further trouble in the first, but worked back into a jam right off the bat in the second, allowing David Freese and Daniel Descalso to reach on back-to-back hits.

Light-hitting shortstop Pete Kozma, who had two homers all regular season, then crushed a three-run shot on the first pitch he saw from Jackson, giving the Cardinals a four-run lead.

As we've discussed thoroughly, Jackson has been wildly inconsistent this season. When he's good, he's incredibly tough to hit. When he's off his game, teams usually put up big numbers,

The Nats have to hope that their righty gets on track soon, or this could be another long day with crooked numbers on the St. Louis side of the scoreboard

Update: Jackson has settled down, putting up zeros in the third and fourth innings, but the Nationals continue to miss opportunities to tack on runs.

Through four innings today, they've had five baserunners and have stranded all five. Twice - in the first and fourth innings - they left runners in scoring position, and now for the series, they've stranded 24 runners in 22 innings.

Ian Desmond is 2-for-2 today with a double and now has six hits in the series. Ryan Zimmerman has reached twice, and Jayson Werth struck two balls well.

But regardless of how Jackson pitches the rest of the day, the Nats will need to do more offensively in order to avoid falling behind in this series.

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