The Nationals have won five straight games for the first time since 2009. Last week, they took a season series from the Padres for the first time since 2003, when they were still the Montreal Expos. And tonight, they've got a chance to reach another milestone of sorts by winning a season series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
The last time the Nationals did that was 2007, when they took five of six from the Cardinals. They split the series last year, but after winning the series opener in St. Louis this year, they got shut down in the next two games.
In the final game of that series, the Nationals ran into right-hander Kyle Lohse, a sinkerballer who's had an uneven career with the Twins and Cardinals. Against the Nationals, though, Lohse has mostly been sharp; he's got a 2.81 ERA against them in his last five starts, with an eight-runs-in-five-innings start last August as the only blip on the radar. And in April, he threw one of the best games of his career, pitching a two-hit shutout against the Nationals.
Michael Morse and Jayson Werth have outstanding career numbers against Lohse, and Laynce Nix also has a solid .857 OPS in 16 career plate appearances against him. But the rest of their lineup has struggled; only Ryan Zimmerman has an OPS over .700 against Lohse, and his is a mediocre .721.
Lohse hasn't pitched more than five innings in either of his last two outings, though, and if the Nationals can jump on him tonight, they've got a chance for a six-game win streak, a sweep and a season series win over the Cardinals.