Moments That Mattered: Without Offense, Bullpen Squanders Strasburg’s Excellence


Source: FanGraphs

When the Nationals scored two runs in the top of the first and had yet to put their ace, Stephen Strasburg, out on the mound, things were looking pretty good for the Nats to take the second game of their series in San Francisco. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there. The team managed three hits in the first inning but only two for the rest of the game against Matt Cain, Rafael Soriano blew the save with two outs in the ninth, and Yunesky Maya allowed a Pablo Sandoval walk-off home run in the bottom of the tenth to drop the Nationals back to .500 and to 3-6 on their road trip.

Most Important Nationals Hit: Ryan Zimmerman‘s RBI double (+11.1%)

May 19, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Washington Nationals center fielder Denard Span (2) dives back to first base ahead of the tag by San Diego Padres first baseman Yonder Alonso (left) during the fifth inning at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Nats struck quickly against Cain with a series of hits. Denard Span led the game off with a single, and after a Bryce Harper bunt moved Span to second, Zimmerman drove him in with a double to give the Nats a 1-0 lead. One out later, Ian Desmond broke a prolonged hitless streak with a double that drove Zimmerman in. Zimmerman has now hit in nine of his last ten games.

Most Important Nationals Pitch: Gregor Blanco‘s game-tying triple (-53.2%)

Fresh off blowing a save in San Diego, Rafael Soriano unfortunately did it again today. He allowed Buster Posey to single to lead off the bottom of the ninth, but retired the next two batters to bring up former Nats minor leaguer Gregor Blanco. Blanco sent a long fly ball to right field that got over the head of Bryce Harper, who looked as though he might have been concerned about running into the wall as he chased after it. Blanco ended up on third, but would be stranded there and the game would go to extras.

Champ of the Game: The day’s lone bright spot, Strasburg (+25.9%) locked down the Giants for seven innings. He struggled with command early, allowing two hits and two walks in the first inning, but escaped unscathed with the help of a timely double play and only allowed four more baserunners and one run for the rest of the game. For San Francisco, Blanco (+57.6%) had the game-tying hit, but was also 3-4 overall.

Chump of the Game: Maya (-38.3%) had a career 5.52 MLB ERA before being called up to fill out a depleted Nats bullpen. Unsurprisingly, he allowed the winning home run to give the Nats the loss. The Giants’ Brandon Belt was 0-4.

Topics: San Francisco Giants, Washington Nationals

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