The St. Louis Cardinals have received some spectacular starting pitching over the past week and they may need it to continue when the Washington Nationals come to town for a three-game series beginning Friday night. The Cardinals had a string of three consecutive shutouts snapped with a 6-3 loss at Tampa Bay on Wednesday and now open a 10-game homestand. "Our starting pitching has been extremely good these last few, to say the least," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said.Washington's starting pitching hasn't been too shabby either, registering 12 consecutive quality starts before dropping the finale of a four-game series in San Francisco on Thursday. The Nationals took three of four from the National League West-leading Giants and have used a 10-3 run to surge to the top of the NL East. The teams split a four-game series in Washington in April, but the Cardinals permitted only four runs in a three-game home sweep of the Nationals in September.TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, MLB Network, WUSA0 and MASN2 (Washington), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)PITCHING MATCHUP: Nationals RH Jordan Zimmermann (5-2, 3.17 ERA) vs. Cardinals RH Lance Lynn (6-4, 3.49)Zimmermann carries a 18-inning scoreless streak into Friday's start and is coming off a dazzling performance, recording a career-high 12 strikeouts in a two-hit shutout at San Diego. That followed eight scoreless innings of five-hit ball against Philadelphia in the previous start for the 28-year-old Zimmermann, who was 19-9 last year. Zimmermann has been tormented by St. Louis, going 0-4 with a 7.03 ERA in seven career starts.Lynn has lost back-to-back starts since a five-hit shutout of the New York Yankees on May 27, getting shelled for seven runs (four earned) by San Francisco and struggling through five innings in a 3-1 loss to Toronto last time out. Lynn has permitted three runs or fewer in 10 of 13 starts but is 2-4 since winnning his first four decisions. He beat the Nationals on April 19, allowing one run on five hits in 5 2/3 innings.WALK-OFFS1. Zimmerman gave up four runs - one earned - over seven innings in a loss to Lynn and St. Louis in April.2. Current Cardinals are batting a collective .327 against Zimmermann, led by OF Jon Jay (7-for-15), who is riding a seven-game hitting streak.3. Nationals 2B Danny Espinosa is 3-for-5 with two homers and four RBIs against Lynn.PREDICTION: Cardinals 5, Nationals 4