Given that it was only a two-run game, this outcome was in question up until the bitter end. As evidenced by the WPA spike when Harper doubled in the ninth, any semblance of a rally would have been huge for the Nats, but as has been their way recently, the bats fell silent. However, again I would say to the alarmists: patience. A week ago the bullpen was a disaster and something had to be done. Now it hasn’t allowed a run in three games. At the same time, the defense was the problem, but now it’s turned seven double plays in two games. Nothing is as bad as it seems.
Most Important Nationals Hit: Bryce Harper‘s double (+10.2%)
The Nats only mustered five hits, and Harper’s was the only extra-base one. It initially didn’t look like a double, but Harper surprised everyone by hustling around first and barely beating out Carlos Beltran‘s throw to be safe. The Nats looked as though they finally had something going, but Adam LaRoche struck out on a pitch that certainly looked outside on TV and the rally died soon thereafter.
Most Important Nationals Pitch: Allen Craig‘s RBI double (-15.3%)
For the second straight day, Craig opened the day’s scoring with a double, and for the second straight day, the Nationals didn’t score enough for any other moment to be more important. Craig’s hit drove in Shane Robinson, who had singled the at-bat before. This double was a part of a rough fourth inning for Ross Detwiler, who allowed four straight hits and two runs before escaping from danger with three straight outs. Even with that inning, Detwiler had another good start, allowing two runs in six innings. This was his first start all year allowing more than one run, and his ERA skyrocketed to 1.38.
Champ of the Game: Harper (+14.0%) was 2-3 with a walk, and remains as the only National truly doing his job on offense as of late. He is the only player on the team with any multi-hit games in the team’s last five, and he has two. For St. Louis, Adam Wainwright (-34.9%) flattened the Nats’ offense, allowing no runs while striking out nine in 8.1 IP.
Chump of the Game: LaRoche (-22.5%) earned an infamous Golden Sombrero, thanks to his striking out four times in four at-bats. He is now 0-9 with six strikeouts in his last nine at-bats. His most damaging play was when he struck out with the bases loaded to end the fifth (-11.7%). David Freese (+11.8%) was 0-4 as well, but did not strike out once.