This one was contentious all along, but the way the Nationals’ hitters flailed against a pitcher with a 4.57 ERA was painful to watch. The team was 4-26 tonight, good for an anemic .154 average. Nats who are not Harper, Adam LaRoche, and Ryan Zimmerman are 5-42 (.119) in these past two games. Four of today’s starters were hitting under .230, and two under .200. The team hit into more double plays (2) with runners on base than they had hits (1), going 1-9. It was a sad showing any way you slice it, and hopefully a change will come soon, whether that comes through a team-wide regression to the mean, or through some demotions to the minors.
Most Important Nationals Hit: Steve Lombardozzi‘s RBI single (+16.5%)
Inexplicably, the .210-hitting Lombardozzi has two RBI hits in the Nats’ last three games. Most would agree he should not be hitting second, especially Keith Law, but at least for this series, he could definitely have been worse. Kurt Suzuki was walked, moved over by a Jordan Zimmermann sacrifice, and scored by Lombo with two outs after a Denard Span flyout. He has an OPS of .510.
Most Important Nationals Pitch: Everth Cabrera‘s RBI single (+23.2%)
This was an unfortunate sequence for Zimmermann, who was excellent all game long. He misfired on a pickoff move that allowed Alexi Amarista to move to second and subsequently score on the single. He retired the next two batters to end the inning, meaning the run may not have scored if he hadn’t erred, but it did not look like the Nats were going to score anytime soon to get him the win.
Champ of the Game: Zimmermann (+9.3%) earns this, but for an odd reason. His one-ER, seven-hit, eight-inning complete game was actually worth -1.0%. But at the plate, he was 1-1 with a reach on error and sacrifice, good for +10.3%. For San Diego, the usually pedestrian Eric Stults (+29.9%) locked down the helpless Nats, allowing four hits in eight innings.
Chump of the Game: Denard Span (-23.2%) was 0-3 with a walk. Not particularly bad, until you realize all of his outs came with runners on and one was an inning-ending double play. Chris Denorfia (-12.8%) was 1-3, and also grounded into an inning-ending double play.