For the second night in a row, the Nats’ offense was nowhere to be found. Anthony Rendon‘s solo homer in the seventh broke a 15-inning scoreless streak for the Nats, but they did not put up much of anything else. It was not a pretty performance all around, with almost every player struggling. Bryce Harper was hitless and dropped his second fly ball in two days, which led directly to two unearned runs for the Brewers. The team as a whole managed only five hits. The pitching struggled as well, with Ross Detwiler allowing four runs on eight hits, although just two runs were earned. The Nats have had two bad comedown losses after two excellent blowouts, which is hardly a surprise. Harper also does not look to be completely comfortable after missing a month of games, which should also not be surprising. There is no instant gratification in baseball. Like I said yesterday, the Nats are capable of making a run at the playoffs, they just need to do it. However, there is a difference between “are capable of” and “will”.
Most Important Nationals Hit: Denard Span‘s strikeout (-5.8%)
The Nats’ best shot for a rally came with two outs in the fifth inning. With nobody on, Kurt Suzuki singled to center, bringing Detwiler to the plate. Entering today, he was 1-21 (.048), but he also singled up the middle to put two runners on for Span. Unfortunately, Span struck out to extinguish the brief hope. After escaping there, Brewers starter Kyle Lohse would only allow one more hit, Rendon’s homer, in three more innings.
Most Important Nationals Pitch: Norichika Aoki‘s two-run single (-14.9%)
Detwiler had cruised through three innings, allowing just one hit, but ran into trouble in the fourth and the fifth. In both innings, he put two runners on with no outs. In the fourth, a double play helped him escape unscathed, but he was not so lucky in the next inning. After a sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third, Aoki’s single scored them both and put the Brewers up 2-0. Detwiler allowed just two baserunners in his first three innings, but seven in the next three.
Champ of the Game: For the second time in a short time, there is a tie: Ian Desmond and Craig Stammen (+2.2%). Desmond was 1-3 with a walk, while Stammen threw two shutout innings. Lohse (+26.4%) mowed down the Nats, allowing one run on four hits and a walk in eight innings while striking out seven.
Chump of the Game: Detwiler (-14.5%) allowed two runs in six innings on eight hits and a walk, but was also on the hook, in terms of WPA, for two unearned runs courtesy of Harper’s error. Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy (-9.1%) was 2-4 with a run scored, but grounded into a double play with no outs and two runners on in the fourth, effectively torpedoing that scoring chance.