In the first of a three-game series between the St. Louis Cardinals (83-46) and the Washington Nationals (66-63) at Busch Stadium, John Lackey (11-8, 2.92 ERA) and Gio Gonzalez (9-7, 4.11 ERA) get the ball. The game starts at 8:15 p.m. ET on Monday, Aug. 31 and will air on MAS2 and FSMW.

In his last start, Lackey pitched 7.0 innings, allowing one run, striking out four and walking one in a 3-1 victory over the Diamondbacks. Matt Carpenter (.260, 77 Rs, 19 HRs, 68 RBIs, 3 SBs) played well again yesterday, going 2 for 5 with two runs and one RBI. The Nationals were unsuccessful to the Padres 6-5 the last time Gonzalez pitched. He went 4.2 innings, giving up four runs (one unearned), striking out six and walking two. Bryce Harper (.331, 90 Rs, 31 HRs, 77 RBIs, 6 SBs) went 1 for 4 yesterday with one run and one RBI.

St. Louis, a -140 favorite, will look to capitalize at home against Washington. The Over/Under (O/U) for the matchup is seven runs. The Cardinals have a winning record of 70-29 when playing as the favorite and an overall money line of +2,669. Over the last 10 games, they have a very good record when playing as the favorite (6-2). The Cardinals don't give up many hits to opposing batters, ranking fourth in the NL with only 8.2 hits allowed per game.

Across the field, the Nationals have a subpar record of 13-23 when they are the underdog and are -1,302 overall with the money line. They also allow just 2.3 walks per road game, good for tops in the NL.

In their previous three games this season, the Cardinals have a 2-1 record. This game will feature Gonzalez (LHP) on the mound against the Cardinals, who have an 18-15 record when they take on a left-handed starter. The right-handed Lackey will take the mound against the Nationals, who have a 49-49 record against righty starters this season.

Predictions: SU Winner - StL, O/U - Over


St. Louis won its last game in a shutout, its 14th of the season. Washington has been shut out nine times this season.

Having scored zero runs in their last game, the Cardinals are going to have to up their game if they want to win this matchup. The Nationals have a 9-0 record in games where opponents scored that many runs.

When they are outhit, the Nationals are 10-54. The Cardinals have a 21-31 record when opponents outhit them.

St. Louis ranks near the bottom of the league at 23rd when it comes to home runs, hitting 107 this season. Washington ranks in the top 10 at ninth with 136.

Ranking 11th, Washington is in the top half of the league in hits, notching 8.35 per game. St. Louis ranks in the top 10 at sixth with 8.62.

Ranking 17th, St. Louis is in the bottom half of the league for its on-base plus slugging percentage (.714). Washington ranks in the top half at 14th with an OPS of .722.

When the Nationals allow at least one home run, they are 29-39. When the Cardinals allow one or more homers, they have a 33-31 record.