The Washington Times - August 31, 2012, 03:40PM

If the Washington Nationals need an example of how a team can reach the sport’s ultimate peak without its ace, they need look no further than the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals, who put together their magical 2011 season with Adam Wainwright watching from the sidelines as he recovered from Tommy John surgery.

In his first full season back from the surgery, Wainwright is 13-10 with a 3.63 ERA but in the second half he’s been even more impressive, working to a 6-2 mark with a 2.13 ERA. In a seemingly cruel twist of fate for the Cardinals, they’ve spent the 2012 season without last year’s ace, Chris Carpenter.

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At any rate, the Nationals will get their own look at Wainwright tonight as they counter with Gio Gonzalez and try to ensure themselves of at least a split of this four-game set.

— A reminder that Saturday’s game has been moved to 4:05 p.m. as it’s the nationally broadcast FOX game of the week.

Here are the full lineups:

Nationals

Jayson Werth RF
Bryce Harper CF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Adam LaRoche 1B
Michael Morse LF
Ian Desmond SS
Danny Espinosa 2B
Kurt Suzuki C
Gio Gonzalez P

Cardinals 

Jon Jay CF
Carlos Beltran RF
Matt Holliday LF
Allen Craig 1B
Yadier Molina C
David Freese 3B
Skip Schumaker 2B
Pete Kozma SS
Adam Wainwright P