The story of this game was missed offensive opportunities. See that massive spike in the Nats’ win probability in the eight inning? Trailing by one, the Nats’ win probability actually exceeded 50%, thanks to runners on the corners with no outs. But, just like you’d expect, the Nats made three straight outs and squandered their chance. The inning before, Denard Span was caught stealing with two outs. Before that, there were runners on the corners with two outs that were stranded. In fact, the Nationals left at least one runner on base in every single inning but the first. Five of those times, a runner was in scoring position. With runners on base, the Nationals were 2-14 (.143) tonight, including 0-7 with runners in scoring position. For contrast, Zack Greinke was 1-1 with a runner in scoring position. The Nationals’ sole run came on a solo homer from Adam LaRoche, who, unlike the rest of the team but like Hansel, is so hot right now. Things have to improve when Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth return to the team, but even so, the offense is struggling mightily right now. Oh, and did I mention that both Ross Detwiler and Wilson Ramos suffered injuries in today’s game? It was a miserable evening.
Most Important Nationals Hit: Ryan Zimmerman‘s single (+23.2%)
Quite a high WPA for a non-run-scoring hit, huh? Perhaps WPA expected a little too much out of the rest of the Nats’ offense. After a Steve Lombardozzi single, Zimmerman stepped in and delivered one of his own to move Eury Perez, who was pinch-running for Lombardozzi, over to third. Right after that, Adam LaRoche flew out to left, but the ball was not deep enough to score Perez. Ian Desmond struck out and Kurt Suzuki flew out shortly afterwards to leave Perez right where he was.
Most Important Nationals Pitch: Adrian Gonzalez‘s RBI single (+10.8%)
Detwiler had trouble from the game’s outset, and the Dodgers took advantage. Detwiler got the first two outs of the game, but Matt Kemp tagged him for a ground-rule double. Gonzalez, now batting over .400 with runners in scoring position, followed Kemp up with a single to score the game’s first run. Detwiler would leave the game after the third due to back spasms, and his abbreviated line was not pretty. He allowed six hits, two walks, two runs, and no strikeouts. But there is good news: his back spasms are minor and the team hopes he can make his next start.
Champ of the Game: Zimmerman (+19.6%) was just 1-4, but his one hit was the single above that could have been pivotal. Zack Greinke (+25.7%) contributed on both sides of the ball in his return, pitching 5.1 innings and giving up only five hits and one run and hitting an RBI single that would prove to be the winning run.
Chump of the Game: Desmond (-18.2%) was not particularly bad, going 0-3 with a walk, but his strikeout with the runners on the corners was hugely damaging in the eyes of WPA, good for -16.9%. L.A.’s Juan Uribe (-11.2%) was 0-3.