Game 21: Dodgers 4, Nationals 3 F/10

While the starter phenom and the hitter phenom did their jobs, the closer phenom is still on the DL, and boy, did the team miss him.

Strasburg spun 7 beautiful innings, but the Nationals (14-7) lost their third in a row as Henry Rodriguez blew a 2-run lead in the 9th and Matt Kemp launched a walk-off in the bottom of the 10th to spoil Bryce Harper’s debut.

Apr 28, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper (34) during an at bat in the second inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

Strasburg was excellent, allowing 1 run on 5 hits and no walks while striking out 9, which raised his ERA to 1.13. He did two uncharacteristic things, however. He hit two batters, after only hitting only one for his entire career previously, and got a hit of his own, doubling in the sixth and barely missing a 3-run homer in the seventh. Tyler Clippard threw a scoreless 8th before H-Rod’s nightmarish 9th. He allowed three straight hits to open the inning, scoring one run, but seemed to settle down, getting out the next two batters. He was a strike away from ending the game until his second wild pitch of the inning allowed Juan Uribe to score from third, tying the game, and a third wild pitch on a potentially inning-ending strike three vs. Dee Gordon allowed Gordon to reach first safely. Manager Davey Johnson then pulled Rodriguez, putting in Tom Gorzelanny to finish the inning.

As for hitters, Harper did not disappoint in his debut, going 1-4 with an RBI sacrifice fly in the 9th to break the 1-1 tie. He also made a great throw on a hit to left in the 7th, a perfectly placed laser that would have prevented the Dodgers’ first run from scoring if Wilson Ramos had been able to hold on to it. Adam LaRoche stayed hot, hitting a solo home run in the 7th to tie the game, while Ian Desmond stayed cold, going 0-5. Rick Ankiel and Danny Espinosa were both 1-4 with a run scored. Wilson Ramos hit a single immediately after Harper’s sacrifice to score the second run in the top of the 9th, creating the 3-1 lead that Rodriguez would promptly squander.

Champ of the Game: Strasburg, who continued to pitch excellently with his solid start against a potent offense.
For the Dodgers, Kemp is the obvious choice.

Chump of the Game: Rodriguez, who regressed to his erratic 2011 form.
Dodger relievers Javy Guerra and Scott Elbert combined to allow 2 runs in the top of the 9th.

Unsung Hero: Harper had too much attention to be unsung, so the title goes to the perpetually underappreciated LaRoche.
Chad Billingsley allowed only one run in seven strong innings for LA.

Next Game: 4:10PM @ Dodger Stadium, Gonzalez (2-0, 1.52) v. Capuano (2-0, 3.52)

Topics: Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals

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