It would be an understatement to say that the Nationals have been on fire offensively in the past two days. After today’s 10-run outburst, they have scored 23 runs in their past two games, the most in team history. They have jumped from 29th to 26th in baseball in runs scored. They had scored 10+ runs just once this season before doing it these past two days. Bryce Harper will inject some much-needed life into this lineup, and now the second-half run must begin. The Nats trail the Braves by six games. They’ve looked unstoppable these past two days, but obviously they won’t hit or play like that the entire season. The biggest thing will be how often they can play like that, which was not very often in the first half of the season.
Most Important Nationals Hit: Bryce Harper’s solo home run (+11.1%)
Could it have gone any other way? Of course not. Just like on Opening Day, Harper homered in his first at-bat of the game. He sent waves through the twittersphere with the blast, and the believers were convinced that the #Harpocalypse was nigh. Harper now has 13 home runs on the season, second on the team to Ian Desmond‘s 15, despite having missed 31 games. It’s good to have him back.
Most Important Nationals Pitch: Aramis Ramirez‘s RBI double (-4.0%)
The Nationals led this game 8-0 at the end of the fourth inning, but consistent offense allowed the Brewers to climb back into it. They scored four more runs to cut the lead to 8-4, but their odds of winning were still just 5% at the end of the sixth. In the top of the seventh, they were at it again. Ramirez’s two-out double cut the Nats’ lead to 8-5, and started to scare the Nats a bit. However, in the game’s remaining 2.1 innings, only one more Brewer would reach base.
Champ of the Game: Jordan Zimmermann (+23.1%) did not pitch extremely well in getting his ML-leading 12th win, allowing four runs on nine hits in six innings, but the runs came with the Nats up 8-0 and hardly dented his WPA. Additionally, a major part of his contribution was his offense. He was 3-3 at the plate with a double and two runs scored despite a sub-.100 batting average entering today. Ramirez (+1.9%) was 2-4 with an RBI for the Brewers.
Chump of the Game: In relief, Craig Stammen (-2.5%) allowed one run on two hits in 0.2 IP in the top of the seventh. That run was Ramirez’s double. Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo had his worst start of the year, surrendering eight runs on nine hits and two walks in just three innings. His ERA jumped from 4.20 to 4.78.