Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Nationals won the biggest game in their history Wednesday night, but they don’t have time to bask in the afterglow — Game 1 against the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship Series is Friday night — and the trash-talking’s already started. 

“I don’t give a (bleep) who we play,” Cardinal manager Mike Shildt told his players after they won their own NLDS Game 5 over the Atlanta Braves in the early game Thursday. “We’re going to (bleep) them up.”

The fiery speech came in the clubhouse with no reporters around, but was captured by St. Louis rookie Randy Arozarena, who put it out on social media.

Washington fans know the Cardinals well, after St. Louis dropped the Nationals in five games of the 2012 National League Division Series with the clincher coming at Nationals Park.

This year’s Cardinals team won five of seven games against Washington in regular-season play. 

The Cardinals could start veteran right-handed pitcher Adam Wainwright (14-10, 4.19 in 2019) when the NLCS opens on Friday at 8:08 p.m. in St. Louis. The Nationals are expected to counter with right-hander Anibal Sanchez, who was 11-8, 3.85.

St. Louis is paced on offense by first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (34 homers, 97 RBIs in regular season), infielder Paul DeJong (30, 78) and outfielder Marcell Ozuna (29, 89).

The backup catcher is Matt Wieters, who played for the Nationals last season. Cardinals infielder Kolten Wong, who turns 29 Thursday, has four postseason homers.

The Cardinals won three of four games in Washington from April 29 to May 2 and then won two of three in St. Louis last month. Patrick Corbin got the only win in that series for the Nationals.

Wainwright won the last game of the second series for the Cardinals, beating Washington ace and St. Louis native Max Scherzer Sept. 18.

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