Major League Baseball
Preview
Washington at St. Louis
When: 2:15 PM ET, Saturday, April 30, 2016
Where: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, Missouri

A blister on his right middle finger temporarily halted Joe Ross' hot start, but the Washington right-hander hopes to pick up where he left off when the Nationals visit the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday. Ross allowed just one run and eight hits over 14 2/3 innings in his first two turns of the season before the blister knocked him out of his April 20 start against Miami.

Ross left after two scoreless innings and was scratched when his scheduled turn came around on Tuesday. Team trainers shaved down the callus and Ross has been able to throw on the side without issue. Washington halted its three-game losing streak with a 5-4 victory in Friday's series opener, and the game-opening homer by Michael Taylor ended the team's 22-inning scoreless drought. The Cardinals have lost two straight games after winning four of their previous five.

TV:
2:15 p.m. ET, MLB Network, MASN (Washington), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Joe Ross (2-0, 0.54 ERA) vs. Cardinals LH Jaime Garcia (1-1, 3.24)

Ross has limited opposing batters to a .161 average and possesses an impressive 0.84 WHIP. The 22-year-old experienced major control issues in his lone career start against the Cardinals as he walked a career-high six while giving up three runs - and only one hit - in 2 2/3 innings of a no-decision on Sept. 1. Ross' control has been fine this season as he issued just two walks in both of the starts that lasted at least seven frames.

Garcia lasted just five innings in each of his last two starts after striking out 13 while tossing a one-hit shutout against Milwaukee on April 14. He has fared well against the Nationals in his career, compiling a 4-1 record and 2.88 ERA in six career outings. Garcia has struggled against Danny Espinosa (6-for-13) while holding Bryce Harper to one hit - a home run - in six at-bats.

WALK-OFFS

1. Harper has drawn six walks while going 2-for-11 over his last four games.

2. St. Louis LF Matt Holliday recorded three hits in the opener and is 7-for-15 during his five-game hitting streak.

3. Washington RHP Jonathan Papelbon hurled a hitless ninth inning in the opener to post his eighth save - the second-highest total in the National League.

PREDICTION: Nationals 5, Cardinals 4
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Washington 15-7 W1 8-4 7-3 11-7 1-0 0-0 3-0
St. Louis 12-11 L2 5-5 7-6 3-1 5-7 4-3 0-0
Last Meeting
Washington St. Louis
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
4/29/16 WAS 5 STL 4 .219 2 .663 .286 1 .781
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Washington D. Espinosa .500 2 1.750
St. Louis M. Holliday .750 3 1.750
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Washington D. Espinosa 1 1 2
St. Louis M. Adams 1 1 3
Pitching ERA Avg K
Washington 4.00 .219 10
St. Louis 5.00 .286 2
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Washington D. Murphy .364 28 1.015
St. Louis A. Diaz .420 29 1.191
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Washington B. Harper 9 15 24
St. Louis B. Moss 5 16 14
Pitching ERA Avg K
Washington 2.42 .232 195
St. Louis 3.90 .276 179