Most Important Nationals Hit: Danny Espinosa‘s solo home run (+0.126)
It would stand to reason that the game’s lone Nationals run would be their most influential hit. Espinosa has been struggling this season and is still hitting .175, but hitting a home run off Tim Hudson is no small feat. He certainly has power, especially for a second baseman, but his low average and strikeouts continue to plague him.
Most Important Nationals Pitch: Evan Gattis‘ two-run home run (-0.216)
It also stands to reason that the hit that gave Atlanta two thirds of their runs would be the most influential Nats pitch. Gattis has been a beast this year, with four home runs, and the Braves consider his bat valuable enough that they put him at first base when Gerald Laird caught the first game of the series. Curiously, he has hit four home runs and scored only four runs, meaning he is the only one who has driven him in. He took advantage of Ryan Zimmerman‘s error and gave the Braves all the runs they would need to win.
Champ of the Game: Espinosa (+0.057) takes this title by virtue of his home run. Every other offensive player had negative WPAs, as did Ryan Mattheus. But, for those who say the bullpen is collapsing: numbers two and three in WPA were Zach Duke (+0.050) and Henry Rodriguez (+0.046). For Atlanta, Hudson (+0.336) was dominant in seven one-run innings.
Chump of the Game: Adam LaRoche (-0.130) grounded into a double play after Zimmerman singled to start the second inning. Ordinarily, that alone would not merit being named the Chump, but on a day like today, it was death by a thousand cuts for the Nats offense, and the double play was the deepest. Brave Juan Francisco (-0.108) was 0-4 with two Ks.