The best team in the 2012 MLB regular season is on the verge of being eliminated from the playoffs.

After taking the first game of the NLDS, the Nationals are one loss away from being knocked out of the postseason by the Cardinals. The defending champions lead Washington in their best-of-five series 2-1.

The man that helped St. Louis get past the wild card round will take the mound on Thursday at Nationals Park. Kyle Lohse starts Game Four for the Cardinals. He gave up just two runs in their win over the Braves on Friday, and pitched to a 2.86 ERA during the regular season.

Lohse faces a Nationals lineup that has struggled through the first two games. They are averaging just two runs per game. Nineteen-year old phenom Bryce Harper has been one of the worst players in the postseason. He has one hit in 15 at bats.

With Washington shutting down Stephen Strasburg for the remainder of the season, Ross Detwiler will have to make a start for the team. He’s never pitched in the playoffs, and will be asked to keep the Nationals season alive.

Detwiler goes against the best offense in the national League, and possibly the best postseason hitter of all time. In 26 career playoff games, Carlos Beltran is hitting .367 with 13 home runs, 22 runs batted in and nine stolen bases.

The Nationals won 10 more games during the regular season, but the Cardinals are actually slight favorites on the road. St. Louis is a minus 108-favorite at most Las Vegas sportsbooks.

If St. Louis can’t pull out the victory, the two teams will play Game Five on Friday night in Washington.

The game will air on TV on TBS. It’s also possible to watch a live stream online of the contest at mlb.com for $4.99. Buying the package on the Web site would allow you to watch all the ALDS, NLDS and ALCS games online.