This game was much more along the path of the Nats’ recent losses than their recent wins. The Reds were up 3-0 by the end of two innings and the offense never got going, accompanied by a defensive miscue or two. However, despite the missed opportunities, this was not a particularly demoralizing loss, and winning three of four against a strong Cincinnati team is a great achievement, and made all the better by the fact that Atlanta was swept by Detroit.
Most Important Nationals Hit: Kurt Suzuki‘s RBI double (+12.2%)
Trailing by four in the bottom of the seventh, it looked as though the Nationals might mount a comeback. Starter Tony Cingrani left the game, replaced by Sam LeCure, and the Nationals offense finally found some traction. Ian Desmond and Anthony Rendon were on first base when Suzuki roped a 3-1 pitch to left, scoring Desmond and putting Rendon on third with just one out. The lead was cut to 4-1 and the Nationals seemed to be in good shape before Steve Lombardozzi and Denard Span grounded out to end the threat.
Most Important Nationals Hit: Brandon Phillips‘ two-run single (-11.3%)
The Reds’ offense got off to a quick start against Ross Detwiler, with Zack Cozart and Joey Votto in scoring position with one out. Brandon Phillips provided Cincinnati’s third straight hit with a single that allowed them both to score, putting the Reds up by two early. Detwiler escaped the rest of the inning unscathed, but allowed another run to score in the second. His final line of three runs on eleven (!) hits in five innings bumped his ERA all the way up to 2.03, knocking him from his lofty perch of #2 in the NL in ERA.
Champ of the Game: Rendon (+8.5) earns his first Champ of the Game award since being called up! He was 1-2 with two walks, but no RBIs or runs scored. Cingrani (+24.4%) was rightfully champ for Cincinnati, striking out 11 Nats (including four in one inning, thanks to a wild pitch) and allowing just two hits in six innings.
Chump of the Game: Detwiler (-22.3%) bails out Adam LaRoche (-12.3%) from being the Chump for the third consecutive game. Despite his lackluster performance today, he still has great season stats, and will certainly be great for the Nats going forward. For the Reds, LeCure (-15.7%) retired only one of the four batters he faced, and allowed a run.