In today’s lineups post, I said: “Tonight’s lineup doesn’t look poised to score a ton.” Let me be the first to say it: I was wrong. Four runs is definitely a ton by Nationals standards. Coming into today, the Nationals were 20-2 when scoring three or more runs, so scoring four is not worthy of criticism. Unfortunately, everything that was not the offense went wrong. Dan Haren got lit up, and the Padres stole five bases. They were 8-8 on stealing bases in the series, and Kurt Suzuki has thrown out two of 27 attempted base stealers this season. It’s hard to draw massive conclusions off of two games or with two of the team’s best hitters injured, but no World Series-caliber team would ever be in a situation to start three batters hitting under .200.
Most Important Nationals Hit: Ryan Zimmerman‘s two-run home run (+16.3%)
When the top of the third started, the Nationals had a 16.2% chance of winning, already trailing 3-0. But a Steve Lombardozzi single, one of three on the day for him, set up a two run second-decker by Zimmerman that cut the Nationals’ deficit to one. The homer was Zimmerman’s second of the series, but only his third of the season.
Most Important Nationals Pitch: Carlos Quentin‘s RBI double (-11.5%)
The Padres jumped on Haren early. After a single, stolen base, and walk, the Padres had runners on first and third with one out. Quentin, hitting just .182 coming into the game, laced a double to score Cabrera and move Headley to third. The Padres did not have any momentously large offensive outbursts, instead choosing to score their runs mainly through strings of hits, which is why their largest WPA play was not so large.
Champ of the Game: Including the home run, Zimmerman (+10.2%) was 2-4 with a run scored and three RBIs. San Diego’s Jedd Gyorko (+15.6%, pronounced “jerk-o”, really) was 2-3 with two runs scored, two RBIs, and two walks.
Chump of the Game: Haren (-46.1%) struggled mightily. He allowed seven runs on nine hits and two walks in five innings, pumping his ERA back up to 5.54. Only two Padres had a negative WPA, and two of them tied for Chump at -3.1%. Tim Stauffer allowed two hits and a run while recording no outs, while catcher Nick Hundley was 0-4 with an RBI.