The Washington Times - September 23, 2013, 04:32PM

ST. LOUIS — It has been almost a calendar year since the Washington Nationals took up residence inside the visitors clubhouse at Busch Stadium. They were here just more than a year ago for the start of the National League Division Series, and they left with the series tied 1-1 and headed home. 

Most people know how it went from there. 

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And now the Nationals are back here, looking to keep their slim playoff hopes alive and perhaps impact the race for the National League Central title. 

Their task is tall.

A Cincinnati Reds win, along with a Pittsburgh Pirates win, combined with their own loss to the Cardinals could eliminate them from postseason contention as early as tonight. The Reds and Pirates both have a magic number of two to clinch a playoff spot and ensure the Nationals will be watching from home this October. The Cardinals are two games ahead of the Reds and Pirates in the division.

Tanner Roark takes the mound, carrying with him his sparkling 7-0 record and 1.08 ERA, but facing a very good offensive team. Adam Wainwright will pitch for St. Louis.

Here are the full lineups:

Nationals

Denard Span CF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Jayson Werth RF
Bryce Harper LF
Ian Desmond SS
Adam LaRoche 1B
Wilson Ramos C
Anthony Rendon 2B
Tanner Roark P 

Cardinals

Matt Carpenter 2B
Carlos Beltran RF
Matt Holliday 1B
Matt 1B
Yadier Molina C
Jon Jay CF
David Freese 3B
Daniel Descalso SS
Adam Wainwright P