May 14, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) pitches in the fourth inning against the Washington Nationals at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Moments That Mattered: Kershaw Mows Down Hapless Nats Bats

Source: FanGraphs

Any game when you have your AAA starting outfield going against a former NL Cy Young winner probably won’t work out too well. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly put enough faith in his ace to go a career-high 132 pitches, and it was a wise move. One two-run single in the third was all he needed to earn the win, holding the Nationals down completely. Dan Haren pitched quite well for the Nats, and the narrative would certainly be different had the opposing pitcher not been one of baseball’s best, but c’est la vie. With the way Kershaw pitched, it was all but over when the Dodgers scored, and WPA agrees.

Most Important Nationals Hit: Ryan Zimmerman‘s single (+3.5%)

May 14, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Washington Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (11) hits a single in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Nationals managed only five hits, and all of them were singles, so it’s hard for one to stand out. As the game got later, the Dodgers’ two run lead became more secure in WPA’s eyes, but a two-run lead is never too solid. In the sixth, Zimmerman knocked his third single of the night with one out, making for a noticeable jump in the Nationals’ winning chances. Nothing would come of it, of course, as he would be stranded.

Most Important Nationals Pitch: Andre Ethier‘s two-run double (-21.1%)

Haren began the third inauspiciously by hitting Kershaw on the tip of his toe with a pitch. He got Carl Crawford to fly out, but a Matt Kemp single and a wild pitch put two runners in scoring position with just one out. He took a big step out of the woods with a nice strikeout of Adrian Gonzalez, one of his four on the night, but Ethier made him pay with a single that would be the only scoring play of the game for either team. Haren was great overall, allowing just four hits and no walks in seven innings, but he was unfortunate enough to clump just enough of those hits to allow L.A. to score.

Champ of the Game: Zimmerman (+4.2) was great, hitting three singles to all three parts of the field. He is now an incredible 7/13 against Kershaw in his career. For the Dodgers, Kershaw (+53.4%) was otherworldly. He struck out eleven while allowing just five hits and a walk in 8.2 shutout innings, albeit against a depleted Nats lineup.

Chump of the Game: Tyler Moore (-15.0%) was 0-4 with two strikeouts, including making some untimely outs. He struck out with the bases loaded in the first inning, and struck out with Adam LaRoche on second to end the game. Gonzalez (-11.1%) was similarly bad for L.A., going 0-3 and striking out with two runners in scoring position in the third.

Tags: Los Angeles Dodgers Washington Nationals

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