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Washington Nationals vs St. Louis Cardinals Series Preview: Nats must swallow Trea Turner’s absence

The offense will have to make do without leadoff man Trea Turner, who broke his wrist after being hit by a pitch Thursday night and is expected to miss two months.

Pittsburgh Pirates v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Nationals (47-32) vs. Cardinals (37-41) Series Info:

Game 1: Friday, June 30 at 8:15 p.m. EST (MASN2/106.7 The Fan)

Game 2: Saturday, July 1 at 7:15 p.m. EST (MASN2/106.7)

Game 3: Sunday, July 2 at 8:00 p.m. EST (ESPN/106.7)

Pitching Matchups:

Friday: Tanner Roark (6-5, 5.15 ERA) vs. Mike Leake (5-6, 3.12)

Saturday: Gio Gonzalez (7-2, 2.87) vs. Michael Wacha (4-3, 4.50)

Sunday: Max Scherzer (9-5, 2.06) vs. Carlos Martinez (6-6, 2.88)

What to watch for:

Nats lose Trea Turner to a broken wrist

The Nats’ bullpen blew another ninth inning lead Thursday night — we’ll get to that in a minute — but the biggest loss was Trea Turner being hit by a pitch and fracturing his wrist, knocking him out for eight weeks.

With Adam Eaton already out for the season with an ACL tear, there’s suddenly a lot of uncertainty at the top of the Nats’ lineup.

Stephen Drew (.333/.361/.481 in 54 at-bats) will likely handle a bulk of the playing time in Turner’s absence.

There will still be plenty of runs scored by this Nationals offense, but it’s pretty unlikely that they’ll be able to replace Turner’s speedy production.

Get this, the bullpen blew another lead

Blake Treinen handed the Cubs three runs in the top of the ninth inning Thursday, blowing a two-run Nationals lead that would’ve given them a series win over the defending World Series champions.

Instead, we’re talking about how the Nats have lost six games this season when entering the ninth with a lead — yes, that’s the most in the majors.

The calendar will turn to July after the first game of this series, giving Mike Rizzo just one month to start making some deals to bring better relief arms to D.C.

Sunday night features a true showdown of aces

For as much as Max Scherzer and Jake Arrieta’s matchup on Tuesday was hyped up to be a battle of Cy Young winners, the showdown between Scherzer and Cardinals’ ace Carlos Martinez on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball will be much more evenly matched.

Martinez would probably be much higher up in Cy Young considerations if he had a few more wins on his record, but the Cards average just four runs per game this season with him on the mound — tied for the seventh-lowest mark in the NL.

The Cardinals may not be the team they used to be, but this is a game you’re not going to want to miss.

Who to watch out for: Jedd Gyorko

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Entering play Friday, the Cardinals have scored the fifth fewest runs in the NL.

However, that’s in no part the fault of Jedd Gyorko, who is having a career year hitting .298 with 12 home runs and 39 RBIs.

He’s coming into this series swinging a hot bat (7-for-20 in the past week; .350 BA), so the Nats will have their hands full trying to keep him off the basepaths.