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Washington Nationals’ lineup for tonight’s series opener with St. Louis

Washington’s Nationals try to avoid a third straight loss in the series opener with the St. Louis Cardinals tonight.

Miami Marlins v Washington Nationals Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

To paraphrase the reporter’s question, Dusty Baker was asked after Sunday’s loss about Washington’s hitters making solid contact but getting BABIP’d to some extent over the course of what ended up a 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies in Citizens Bank Park.

“We did hit some balls hard,” Baker said. “We hit some balls exceptionally hard. If you keep hitting the ball hard, good things are to follow. We didn’t strike out today like we had done the first two games. Being aggressive early in the count creates you hitting the ball hard. So we just have to take that into tomorrow’s game.”

He also addressed the struggles some of the Nationals’ relievers dealt with during the first week and in the series with the Phillies.

Koda Glover threw just 10 of 21 pitches for strikes in Sunday’s loss, giving up two hits a walk and the game-winning run just a half-inning after the Nats’ rallied to tie things up with Ryan Zimmerman’s three-run blast making it 3-3 after five Philly pitchers kept the visiting team off the board through eight innings.

Baker said he’s not worried about his relievers. It’s part of the job to put rough outings behind them and move on if they’re going to be successful.

“You worry about it today,” he said, “but the life of a reliever is that you have to forget yesterday, and work on whatever didn’t happen yesterday.”

“You can’t take it forward with you,” Baker continued. “If you can’t handle this, how are you going to handle when the real pressure starts in the second half and the playoffs and the World Series.

“This is a learning process for a lot of them. I’ve still got confidence in those guys, big-time.”

Baker and the Nationals will look to avoid a third straight loss when they take on the St. Louis Cardinals tonight in the nation’s capital.

Here’s the Nationals’ lineup for tonight’s game: