The Nats have had a frustrating season by all accounts. I have learned enough to know that proclaiming that any win a momentum-shifter is foolish, but scoring the most runs of the season in a dominating victory the day before Bryce Harper returns has to feel good, especially after yesterday’s game. The Nationals took their frustrations out on the Mets in a big, big way, as today’s 11-run margin was the biggest win of the season. At the halfway mark of the season, the Nats are a paltry 41-40. They have the talent to play much better, and should make a run if they can stay healthy. But it could well be too late, and only time will tell. When Harper comes back for Game 82 tomorrow, it’ll be the start of a whole new season for the Nats in more ways than one. They just need to play like they can.
Most Important Nationals Hit: Ian Desmond‘s RBI double (+11.6%)
This offensive outburst was a team effort, through and through. As you’ll see in this and the Champ of the Game, no one Nat carried the team. The 13 hits and 13 RBI were split relatively evenly among all eight starting position players, with each player having at least one and no more than three of each. Desmond’s hit scored the second run of the four-run second inning after a LaRoche solo homer and a Werth walk.
Most Important Nationals Pitch: Marlon Byrd‘s strikeout (+4.4%)
Given how early the Nats stuffed them in a deep hole and how well Gio Gonzalez pitched, the Mets had just one half-inning where their offense mattered. Thanks to a single and a walk, they had two runners on in the bottom of the first with just one out. Byrd’s strikeout was the second out of the inning, and the third was a Josh Satin flyout. After the first, no Mets out or hit was worth more than +/- 3.3%.
Champ of the Game: Despite the offense, Gonzalez (+16.3%) earned this fully. He had a stellar outing, throwing seven scoreless innings on three hits and two walks while striking out seven. After a rough start, he has settled into a groove recently. He allowed one more run in all of June (8) than he did in his April 14th start against Atlanta (7). David Wright (+4.9%) was 1-2 with a double and a walk, but was hit for in the ninth when the Nats led 13-0.
Chump of the Game: Anthony Rendon (-3.6%) started the game 0-4, extending his hitless streak to 17 at-bats. But in his fifth at bat in the eighth inning, he doubled home two runs and would score his own later in the inning. Mets starter Zack Wheeler (-33.5%) got lit up in his home debut, with a gruesome final line: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 5 K.