These posts are starting to sound like a broken record. Early runs from the opponent drop the Nats’ Win Expectancy to ~25%, effectively dooming the team given the way the offense is playing. Late in the game, runners get into good position and the WE spikes, but that glimmer of hope is snuffed out and the Nationals lose. This team is too good for things not to turn around soon, but it’s a little depressing in the meantime. The names involved are below:
Most Important Nationals Hit: Jhonatan Solano‘s single (+10.5%)
With one out in the seventh, Anthony Rendon singled for his second career hit. Solano followed this with a single to put runners on the corners for the pitcher’s spot, in which Steve Lombardozzi pinch hit. Solano made for second as Lombardozzi struck out, and was thrown out to end the scoring threat. Lombardozzi has been hot this season, now hitting .345, and rarely strikes out, but the way the Nats’ offense is going, this outcome is no surprise.
Most Important Nationals Pitch: Yadier Molina‘s two-run single (-15.0%)
It wasn’t Allen Craig this time! Stephen Strasburg had trouble in the first, surrendering three runs on three hits and a walk, and Molina did the damage first. WPA loves early runs, which is why this hit was so valuable and why the Nats’ WE dropped to 19.7% after the third run of the inning was scored. The Nats really aren’t doing themselves any favors with these early (4th inning or earlier) runs, and their confidence would hugely benefit from a 2-0 lead in the sixth inning sometime.
Champ of the Game: Denard Span (+2.5%) was 1-4 with a single. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. Seriously though, it’s easy to take this title when the rest of the offense struggles and the pitching isn’t in a situation to have a high WPA because the game is all but decided. Joe Kelly (-14.8%) only pitched 1.1 innings for St. Louis, but bailed Jaime Garcia and himself out of situations with two men on.
Chump of the Game: Danny Espinosa (-15.2%) continues to struggle, going 0-4 with a strikeout today and dropping his season average to .155. According to Davey Johnson, who continues to rattle the lineup in search of runs, has said he will likely sit tomorrow in favor or Lombardozzi. For the Cardinals, Craig (+8.3%) finally came back to earth after great WPAs his last two games, and went 0-4 with three strikeouts.