It looked good for seven innings, kind of. The offense managed only one run, pathetic by any standard, especially against the lowly Cubs. Sure, the Nationals had some bad luck, such as a “unique” strike zone and Suzuki’s throw striking the batter’s bat on the go-ahead error for the Cubs, but all in all, there can be no excuses made for a series loss at home to a last place team. A bad series for Atlanta in San Francisco kept the Nats just one game back, but they won’t get gifts like those all season. Bryce Harper and Ian Desmond can only carry the offense for so long, while the pitching is faring relatively well.
Most Important Nationals Hit: Ryan Zimmerman‘s RBI double (+14.2%)
The Nats struck early against Cubs pitcher Scott Feldman, which makes the one run scored off him look all the more disappointing. Zimmerman stepped to the plate with Denard Span on second and Bryce Harper on first after a double and a walk respectively. His long fly ball to right field was nearly caught by Ryan Sweeney, but bounded off the wall and scored Span, putting two runners in scoring position with one out before Adam LaRoche struck out, Ian Desmond walked, and Danny Espinosa flew out.
A mouthful of a title, huh? Soriano and Borbon took off from second and first respectively with the game tied in the top of the ninth against Rafael Soriano. Soriano would likely have been safe at third, but Kurt Suzuki‘s throw bounded off of Welington Castillo‘s bat and past Zimmerman at third, allowing Soriano to score the go-ahead run. Soriano is credited with the loss, and somewhat deserves it for putting runners on first and second with one out, but the run was unearned.
Champ of the Game: Today’s lone bright spot, Gio Gonzalez (+38.9%) was stellar. He had a perfect game going through five innings and finished with just two hits and one walk allowed. Chicago’s Soriano (+29.3%) was 1-4 with a run scored, that being the winning one.
Chump of the Game: Deservedly and undeservedly, the Nats’ Soriano (-31.5%) allowed two hits and the unearned winning run in the top of the ninth, taking his first loss of the year. The Cubs’ first baseman, Anthony Rizzo (-23.1%) was 0-4 and grounded out to end multiple innings with runners on base, but received a seven-year extension after the game, so it’s not all bad for him.