After getting beaten from pillar to the post, the Cardinals will be out for a measure of revenge when they conclude their series against the Nationals in D.C. First pitch is set for 7:05 PM ET at Nationals Park.

St. Louis sends Kyle Lohse to the mound while Washington will counter with lefty John Lannan. Lohse who will be bidding for his eighth win of the season opened in the baseball odds as a -111 favorite with the total at eight but this has since been moved to eight and a half. Lannan is one of the hottest hurlers in the league with an ERA of less than 1.00 in his last four starts.

The Nationals were clicking on all cylinders as they pounded out 15 hits, including four home runs in their 10-0 Wednesday night wipeout of the Cardinals. The ageless wonder, Livan Hernandez twirled a complete game three-hitter as Washington handed St. Louis its season high sixth straight loss. For Hernandez it was his 9th career shutout and it was made even easier by the Nats offense that roughed up Kyle McClellan who was making his first start following a stint on the disabled list with a hip injury.

Michael Morse homered twice and drove in three runs, giving 12 and 40 and the team lead in both departments. Danny Espinoza (11) and Jayson Werth (9) also went deep for the Nationals while Roger Bernadina and Pudge Rodriguez each had three hits.

John Lannan Pitching Washington NationalsThe loss dropped the Cards (38-31) into second-place in the National League Central Division, a half-game behind Milwaukee. The Nationals (32-36) share last-place in the East with the floundering Florida Marlins.

Happy Holliday

The Cardinals will gladly welcome Matt Holliday back to the lineup tonight. The veteran outfielder has been out since June 1 with a quad strain and during his absence St. Louis went 5-8 and suffered a loss of -318 units at the betting window. Holliday is hitting .342 with six homers and 31 RBI’s and his presence in the lineup should get St. Louis back on track.

Despite getting blanked by Hernandez the Cardinals still boast some of the most impressive offensive numbers in baseball. They rank second in both hitting (.272) and on base percentage (.347) and are fourth in runs scored with an average of 4.78.

The Nationals looked like world beaters against the slumping Cardinals but their overall numbers remain among the worst in the majors. Washington is 28th in hitting (.234), 27th in OBP (.303) and 24th in runs scored (253).

Lowdown on Lohse

In the absence of Adam Wainwright, who is out for the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his elbow, Kyle Lohse (7-3, 2.67) has become the Cardinals most dependable starter. He leads the team in wins, ERA and quality starts and threw a complete game, two-hit shutout on April 21 beating Washington 5-0.  However he’s struggled in his last two starts giving up eight runs in just 10 2/3 innings.

Latest on Lannan

Lannan (4-5, 3.60) has been brilliant over his last four starts allowing just two earned runs and 16 hits in 26 1/3 innings. The 26-year old lefthander has been especially tough at home where he’s forged an ERA of 1.70 and has allowed just seven runs compared to 25 on the road. Lannan has faced the Cardinals once this year gaining an 8-6 win on April 20 to improve his career record to 2-2.

Overtime

The two teams have split their first four series meetings of the year with ‘over’ cashing in three of them. The Cardinals are also 6-2 to ‘over’ in their last eight games vs. the NL East in 2011 and are a whopping 24-12-2 to the high side on the road.

The District weather forecast is calling for mostly cloudy conditions with a 40 percent chance of rain and scattered thunderstorms. The game time temperature is expected to be in the 60’s with winds of 10-15 miles per hour.

Harvey’s Take: I’m siding with Lannan tonight. His four-game split coupled with his success at Nationals Park is a combo that can’t, and won’t, be ignored.