Most important pitch (Nationals pitching): Justin Ruggiano grounds into double play. (-0.144)
Like I mentioned in our recap, there were two double plays, and they were both the most important Miami at bats of the game. This one edged Casey Kotchman‘s double play because this one was later in the game and the leverage index (and hence Win Probability) was higher.
Most important at-bat (Nationals hitting): Gio Gonzalez‘s home run (+0.163)
For the second straight game, the opening home run of the game was the game’s most important moment from an offensive perspective for the Nationals. Gonzalez’s home run was big because it was later in the game than Bryce Harper‘s first inning blast in the season opener. It wasn’t as late as Clayton Kershaw‘s home run but it was a pretty good impression nonetheless.
Honorable Mention: Casey Kotchman grounds into double play.
Kotchman’s double play was .010 less in WPA than Ruggiano’s but was actually higher in terms of run expectancy lost. There was an extra runner on base and they went from first and second and nobody out to a runner on third with two outs. Kotchman’s failed bunt attempt made this double play even more poignant and his injured hamstring was just injury to insult.
The positive for the Marlins was that this double play wasn’t self-inflicted but good pitching often comes from good defense and the Nationals were no exception. They got themselves out of the jams they needed to when they got into trouble in both games so far this season.