When last the St. Louis Cardinals saw Busch Stadium, Albert Pujols couldn't stop grounding into double plays, Lance Berkman was a washed-up walk-taker, Matt Holliday was laid up after an appendectomy, and the offense was, generally, the most hopeless thing going in town. Visits to the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks were apparently all it took to get those three members of the Cardinals' Big Four to start hitting, and with David Freese, Ryan Theriot, and Yadier Molina in on the fun (and Colby Rasmus having hit all year) the Cardinals return to St. Louis with more than three runs a game a distinct possibility.
Arriving to test that possibility Tuesday are the Washington Nationals, 8-7 despite major acquisition Jayson Werth's slow start. They've been picked up by great play from Ryan Zimmerman as well as rookie catcher Wilson Ramos, not to mention outstanding pitching from strange sources—Livan Hernandez and former Cardinal Jason Marquis have each gotten off to fast starts, while derailed prospect Jordan Zimmermann has been excellent despite a 1-2 record. With a strong, young bullpen featuring Tyler Clippard and former Pirate Sean Burnett, they've got a good shot at staving off big offensive nights even if that strong rotation falls back to earth.
The Cardinals will send Jake Westbrook, Jaime Garcia, and Kyle Lohse out against the Nationals, who open with contact-pitcher extraordinaire John Lannan on Tuesday.