Most Important Nationals Hit: Adam LaRoche‘s three-run home run (+37.0%)
If the Nats’ hearts were torn out when New York scored five runs in the bottom of the fourth, LaRoche was their EMT. After Jayson Werth walked and Bryce Harper doubled, his three-run bomb off of Aaron Laffeyput the Nationals back on top, 6-5, in a critical inning for an offensive response to the Mets. In the time that I have done this post (so for under two weeks), I believe it is the single most influential hit by any team. Not nearly enough can be said about how important this was, not only statistically, but also in terms of the Nationals’ morale.
Most Important Nationals Pitch: Justin Turner‘s two-run single (-24.5%)
Gio Gonzalez cruised through the first three innings, recording five strikeouts and allowing no runs, but inexplicably blew up in the fourth. He had already allowed two runs to cut the Nats’ lead to 3-2 and loaded up the bases when Turner singled to score Colin Cowgill and Ruben Tejada, putting the Mets up 4-3. Gonzalez started out the inning by allowing a triple to David Wright and walking John Buck, but induced a groundout and threw Wright out at home on a fielder’s choice. With two outs, the Nationals’ win expectancy was 81.4%. After two walks and three singles that allowed the Mets to score five runs, that number plummeted to 19.6%.
Champ of the Game: Harper (+46.8%) did not have the game’s most influential hit, but he had the next two. He hit a third-inning home run (+16.1%) to boost the Nats’ lead from 1-0 to 3-0, and another (+26.5%) to break a tie in the eighth, his fourth career multi-homer game. For New York, John Buck (-19.0%) was only 1-4, but had an RBI, a run scored, and a walk to go along. His single tied the game in the seventh off Ryan Mattheus.
Chump of the Game: Gonzalez (-47.6%) was leading the team in Win Probability Added in the third inning, but quickly plummeted in his disastrous fourth. His final line was 4 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 5 K. Laffey (+38.8%) took this crown for the Mets, recording only two outs while allowing the setup to LaRoche’s home run in addition to the home run itself.