The Nationals had recently been enjoying a bit of an offensive renaissance. In their last six games, against Philadelphia and Baltimore, the Nats had had at least eight hits, even though they were 3-3. However, all of that progress seemingly disappeared tonight. The Nationals managed just three hits, and the support that had made their recent offensive success possible dissolved. Tyler Moore‘s five-game hitting streak ended as the bottom four hitters in the lineup combined to go 0-12. Recently hot Ryan Zimmerman was also hitless. While the opposing pitcher deserves some credit, he does not deserve too much. Coming into today’s game, Freddy Garcia was 1-2 with a 4.61 ERA. He had nine strikeouts TOTAL in 27.1 innings, and had a 1.21 WHIP. Tonight, he increased his strikeout total by 67%. Going into the last day of May, the Nats are a .500 team. In the words of Ian Desmond, “No more complacency. It’s time to turn it on.”
Most Important Nationals Hit: Ian Desmond’s single (+5.7%)
Adam LaRoche singled to open the second inning, and when Desmond did the same, the Nationals looked like they were in business. However, that rally quickly fell flat when the 6, 7, and 8 hitters all made outs to strand the runners and end the inning. After that frame, the Nationals would go a cumulative 1-22.
Most Important Nationals Pitch: Nick Markakis‘ RBI double (-12.8%)
The Orioles had more offense in the third inning than the Nationals had all game. A leadoff single and a two-out single put two runners on for Markakis, who laced a Dan Haren pitch for a double that drove home Ryan Flaherty. That one inning was enough to sink the Nats, even though Haren pitched well enough to get a win on most nights.
Champ of the Game: Haren (+14.9%) had a great outing, allowing two runs on eight hits in 7.1 innings. He dropped his ERA down to 5.09, but also dropped the decision to go to 4-6. For Baltimore, Garcia (+59.3%) was absolutely stellar, throwing eight shutout innings while allowing only three hits and no walks while striking out six.