Today’s two starters both had ERAs above eight. Of course, the Nats’ starter let up four runs in 3.1 innings, while the Giants’ starter threw five scoreless innings and might have thrown more if he hadn’t exited with a fractured right hand. The Nationals got hammered, plain and simple. Their odds of winning dropped to 4.4% by the end of the fourth inning. They managed three hits and two walks, and one of each was by a pitcher. Today was their fifth loss by seven or more runs thus far this season, a large reason behind their -25 run differential. I have more negative facts, but you get the message.
Most Important Nationals Hit: Ryan Zimmerman‘s single (+3.0%)
Ryan Zimmerman singled in the top of the fourth with one out. The next batter, Adam LaRoche, grounded into a double play to end the inning. He was 0-3 on the day, ending his career-long 16-game hitting streak. The Nationals only trailed 2-0 at the time, but this would be the last of the team’s three hits. The Giants added three runs in the home half, all but putting the Nationals out of it. In the (here overdramatic) words of T.S. Eliot, “This is how the world ends: not with a bang but a whimper.”
Most Important Nationals Hit: Andres Torres‘ RBI double (-16.1%)
Two straight Giants singled to open the second half of the inning. Andres Torres wanted to make sure they had not done so in vain, and hit a double to score Hunter Pence and put the Giants on top, 1-0. Brandon Crawford would drive in another run in to double the lead in that frame, though San Francisco’s real onslaught would not come until the fifth.
Champ of the Game: In the land of the blind, the one-eyed, shortsighted man with cataracts is king. With the lowest WPA to take this title in recent memory, it was Zimmerman (+0.6%), going 1-4. San Francisco’s Ryan Vogelsong (+20.4%) pitched five shutout innings, allowing three fewer runs than he did in any other start this year. Unfortunately, he left the game after being hit by a pitch on the hand, and will miss six weeks.
Chump of the Game: Zach Duke (-15.7%) pitched 3.1 innings, allowing four runs and seven hits. However, he was 1-1 at the plate. Every starting Giant had at least one hit, so their “chump” was reigning NL MVP Buster Posey (-4.5%), who was 2-5.