Most Important Nats Hit: Bryce Harper‘s solo home run (+0.144 WPA)
Much like last night, the Nats trailed 1-0 after a run scored in the top of the first. After a few more scoreless innings, Harper obliterated a Gavin Floyd pitch to the upper deck in the fourth to tie the game. As it goes with WPA, runs that tie the score or break a tie tend to be the most important. For example, Danny Espinosa‘s tie-breaking single shortly afterwards was +0.141 WPA.
Most Important Nats Pitch: Alex Rios‘ first-inning double (-0.086 WPA)
Curiously enough, this play didn’t even score a run. The double put Jeff Keppinger on third base with one out, allowing him to score on an Adam Dunn groundout in the next at bat. That play was only -0.007 WPA, which speaks to the importance of not only scoring runs, but also being in position to score more runs. The expected runs value, on which WPA calculations are based, of second and third, one out, appears to be only slightly less than that of one run in, runner on second, two outs.
Champ of the Game: Harper (+0.192) was 2-4 overall, with a single in addition to his pivotal and monstrous home run. Alex Rios (+0.055) was 2-4 with an RBI for Chicago.
Chump of the Game: After breaking out of his slump, Adam LaRoche (-0.105) got another hit, but was just 1-4 with two Ks and a GIDP. For the second straight game, Chicago’s starter was hot at the outset but fell apart at the end, and Gavin Floyd ended with a -0.319 WPA.