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NLDS Cardinals-Nationals Game 3 preview: Chris Carpenter vs. Edwin Jackson

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer

Cardinal warhorse Chris Carpenter will oppose former teammate Edwin Jackson in Game 3 of the NLDS. (Getty Images)

After the Cardinals 12-4 win in Game 2 of the NLDS, the series will shift back to Washington tied at 1-1. It's now in essence a best-of-3 affair to be played out in Nationals Park.

Will the Nats' vaunted rotation finally step up in this series? Game 1 and 2 starters Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann struggled badly, and the bullpen has already pitched nine innings in the series. Lucky for them (and the St Louis 'pen for that matter), Tuesday's an off day.

Game 3 (Wednesday at 1:07 p.m. ET) will feature Chris Carpenter (0-2, 3.71) for the Cardinals and Edwin Jackson (10-11, 4.03) for the host Nationals.

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Carpenter vs. Nationals

The veteran Carpenter of course didn't make his season debut until Sept. 21 because of a shoulder condition that eventually required surgery. So he hasn't faced the current Nats model.

In his career, though, he has a 3.39 ERA against Washington in 12 starts and a 4.50 ERA in one start at Nationals Park. Current Washington hitters have combined to hit .275/.311/.406 against Carpenter in a total of 75 plate appearances.

Given Carpenter's recent injury history, extra rest probably isn't a bad thing this time of year. On that point, it's worth noting that the veteran right-hander will be going on seven days of rest.

Jackson vs. Cardinals

There's obvious intrigue here because Jackson was of course an important part of the Cardinals' belt-and-title season in 2011 after the midseason trade that sent him to St. Louis.

This season, the well-traveled right-hander has faced the Cardinals twice: once on Aug. 30 (8 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 10 K, 2 BB, 0 HR) and again on Sept. 28 (1 1/3 IP, 9 R, 6 H, 0 K, 4 BB, 1 HR). As those parenthetical numbers show, he was dominant in one start, and in the second start he turned in perhaps the worst outing of his career.

For that career, Jackson has an ERA of 4.58 in seven games (six starts) against the Cardinals, and current Cardinal hitters, for their careers, have hit .293/.359/.439 in 93 plate appearances.

While the sample size is vanishingly small, we would be remiss not to point out that Yadier Molina in his career is 8 for 12 with two home runs against Jackson.

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