Dan Haren: back from the grave? After yesterday’s seven shutout innings, he now has a 2.40 ERA since going in the disabled list, in sharp contrast to his 6.19 ERA before going on the DL, which was the worst in baseball. He won his second consecutive start yesterday after the Nationals had lost his previous eleven. A return to form for him would be massive for the Nats, especially given Ross Detwiler‘s injury status. The offense was not great yesterday, mustering just seven hits after getting twelve the day before, but two home runs and one manufactured run were more than enough as the pitching staff shut the Brewers down. The Nats need sustained offense and sustained winning more than anything else right now, and we can talk about the playoffs or anything else once they get it, and not before.
Most Important Nationals Hit: Wilson Ramos‘ solo home run (+11.6%)
The Nats manufactured their first run, with no one big hit contributing to it and accounting for a big WPA spike. It was eventually driven in by Anthony Rendon on a sacrifice fly, giving the Nats a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Ramos’ hit doubled that lead in the fifth inning. It was his seventh home run in 34 games this season, a 33-homer pace over a 162-game season. Ramos now has an OPS of .838, demonstrating his incredible offensive value and how important it is for the Nats to keep him healthy.
Most Important Nationals Pitch: Rickie Weeks‘ double (-5.7%)
This hit came in the very first Brewers at-bat of the game. It suddenly looked like Haren might return to his pre-DL self, and was in significant danger two outs later when he walked Jonathan Lucroy to put runners on the corners with two outs. But he got Carlos Gomez out to escape the inning, and locked down on the Brewers, allowing only three hits and one walk for the remaining six innings of his outing.
Champ of the Game: Haren (+48.0%) posted one of the best lines he had all season: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. He is also no slouch with the bat, going 1-2 at the plate. Brewers left fielder Khris Davis (+3.6%) was 1-2 with a walk at the plate, and made an incredible leaping catch at the wall that may have robbed Ryan Zimmerman of a home run.
Chump of the Game: Denard Span (-8.8%) went 0-4 in his return to the leadoff spot, but the two guys behind him, Zimmerman and Bryce Harper, were 0-4 too. For Milwaukee, shortstop Jean Segura (-11.6%) was 0-4 with a strikeout, including a strikeout with Weeks on third and one out in the first inning.