Boy, that narrative turned around quickly. I mean, it really got around fast. After losing six straight and leading many to declare their season dead in the water, the Nats have suddenly won three of their past four. The offense still isn’t blowing opponents away, with a shutout coming as the only loss in these four games even though the Nats scored nine runs in a win the day before, but the Nats will take what they can get. The biggest storylines from tonight were the resurgences of two players who had not been playing quite like themselves recently. Bryce Harper homered for the second time in four games, breaking up a power outage that had plagued him since after his homer immediately off the DL on July 1st. Dan Haren finally delivered on the promise he had been hinting at since reportedly adjusting his repertoire during his DL stint, dominating the Mets over seven innings. The Nats also managed to scuff up Dillon Gee, who had allowed just two runs in 18.2 IP against them over three starts earlier this season. This is not the start of a turnaround; far from it. But it is a sight for the sore eyes that have watched the Nats struggle terribly this month.
Most Important Nationals Hit: Ian Desmond‘s home run (+12.0%)
Through five Nats batters, it looked like Gee would stymie them again, having set all five down in order. But Desmond quickly put an end to that nonsense, taking Gee deep for his 16th of the season to put the Nats up 1-0. This could be a lone aberration for Gee in his continued dominance against D.C., but the tables turned quickly in the next at-bat. Denard Span also hit a home run, his first of the season. If Span could pound him, so could any Nat.
Most Important Nationals Pitch: Omar Quintanilla‘s walk (-4.1%)
This stat is a testament to Haren’s success. Only one Met reached before Desmond and Span’s homers put the Nats up 2-0: David Wright on an Anthony Rendon error. He walked the first batter he faced in the top of the third, that being Quintanilla, but rebounded by retiring the next three Mets. Haren dominated the Mets, and did not allow his first hit until the fourth inning.
Champ of the Game: Haren (+27.9%) made one of his best starts of the season today. He allowed just one run on three hits and a walk over seven innings, all while striking out six. Despite allowing five runs in his last start, he has averaged just two runs per start since returning from the DL. For the Mets, Wright (+6.8%) was 2-4 and drove in the Mets’ only run on a sixth-inning single.
Chump of the Game: Adam LaRoche (-3.1%) was 0-3 today, and his season average has dropped all the way to .238. Gee (-23.4%) was decent except for the longballs he gave up. Here is his line: 7 IP, 6 H, 3 HR, 4 ER, 0 BB, 2 K.