After a brutal series against the Milwaukee Brewers saw them temporarily exit the top of the National League Central standings, the St. Louis Cardinals look to regroup against a Washington Nationals club that's managed to remain respectable despite losing Ryan Zimmerman, in addition to Stephen Strasburg, who won't play in 2011 after last season's elbow surgery. Former Cardinal Rick Ankiel is back from a stint on the disabled list following a wrist injury, but his career as an outfielder continues to stall after the highs of 2008 and 2009. The Cardinals will get an outfielder back, too—Matt Holliday is expected to play Thursday, in the Cardinals and Nationals' series finale.
The Cardinals will activate Kyle McClellan, who returns from his own trip to the disabled list, on Wednesday; young ace Jaime Garcia is set to pitch Tuesday, while the surprising Kyle Lohse gets the start on Thursday. The Nationals will respond with Yuniesky Maia, Livan Hernandez, and John Lannan.
Hottest Cardinal in June: Albert Pujols, for once! He's hitting .310/.408/.762 through June 12, with four doubles and five home runs.
Coldest Cardinal in June: Colby Rasmus is hitting .200/.238/.350.