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Washington Nationals’ lineup for 2nd of 4 with the St. Louis Cardinals in D.C.

Davey Martinez’s squad tries to even things up in the second game of their four-game set with the Cardinals in Nationals Park.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo talked to 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s Sports Junkies last week about the Nats’ record in series openers, which was 1-7 at the point, and is now 1-9, after losses to the San Diego Padres in the first of three last weekend and to the St. Louis Cardinals last night.

“You like to win that first game,” Rizzo said, “... it kind of sets up the series for you. Obviously you can’t sweep unless you win that first game, so the first games of the series are often the busiest, most active days of a series because that’s when you go through the advance reports, that’s when you do all your major preparation for the upcoming series and that type of thing, so we’re going to take a look at how we’re preparing and what we’re doing and maybe tweak a few things, but I just think that it’s an anomaly right now and we just have to win series and try to get out of the gates quickly and give ourselves an opportunity to go on a little bit of a run and with our rotation and our lineup even as banged up as it is, I think we have a run in us in the near future and when we start putting it together. I think we’ll see that.”

Davey Martinez chafed at the suggestion his team came out flat against the Cardinals in the first of four in the nation’s capital on Monday, considering they jumped out to a 3-0 lead, in spite of the fact that they did end up losing another opener.

“We scored three runs right away, and then all of a sudden we had an opportunity to score a couple more points there, and then we had bases loaded, had another opportunity to score, we just couldn’t do it,” Martinez said.

“I just think, like I said, we come prepared, ready,” he explained. “They came out, put some good at bats together. Those middle innings — I think the middle innings we’ve just got to add on some more runs there. We always seem to come back, we score early and then we seem to come back later on, the middle innings we’ve got to keep pounding and try to get that starter out of there early.”

After scoring three early, and putting two on with one out in the fourth against Cards’ right-hander Michael Wacha, 12-straight batters went down before Juan Soto took a one-out walk in the bottom of the eighth inning last night.

Matt Adams and Carter Kieboom walked as well, loading the bases in front of Brian Dozier, but the infielder popped out to end the threat.

“There’s really no explanation,” Martinez said of the middle-inning issues he identified.

“Like I said before, I think sometimes we get in a little chase mode, just a lot of times just take your walks and be patient and get a good pitch to hit.”

Will the Nationals be able to score early, add on, and finish off the Cardinals tonight?