With ten straight wins from the Atlanta Braves, and the Nats still below .500, their margin for error is very thin. Any time when you can’t afford to make mistakes, any error seems bigger than it usually would. Ordinarily, Taylor Jordanallowing four runs in 5.1 innings would not be a terrible issue, especially if it came in the third game of a series after the Nats won the first two games. But the Nats need every win they can get their hands on, and blew a three-run lead today, so the defeat is especially crushing. The Nats can at least be happy that the offense showed up, which is certainly the key for them. The Nats have scored five or more runs 43 times this season, and they have lost just four of those games. They only had eight hits, but were aided by some Milwaukee errors and hit-by-pitches. Taking advantage of another team’s mistakes is as much a part of baseball as executing soundly yourself. Unfortunately, it seems that the Nats can’t do both very often.
Most Important Nationals Hit: Kurt Suzuki‘s two-run single (+14.1%)
The Nationals struck first in this game, and did so in a situation they usually might not have converted. After two hit-by-pitches from Brewers starter Kyle Lohse, oddly his first two of the year, and a single, the Nats had the bases loaded with one out. As we all recall the futile hitless streak with RISP recently, it would make sense that the Nats would squander this shot with the bottom of their order. Instead, Suzuki scored two with his single and Jordan scored another after a Brewers error on his bunt, putting the Nats up 3-0 in the second inning.
Most Important Nationals Pitch: Juan Francisco‘s game-tying double (-22.7%)
All of that offensive hard work was sadly undone in the sixth inning. The Brewers loaded up the bases against Jordan with no outs, and scored on a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 4-2. Fernando Abad then replaced Jordan, and then the trouble started. A Khris Davis single scored another run, and Francisco’s double tied the game and put two runners in scoring position. Jeff Bianchi then singled to score both, completing the five-run inning that turned a 4-1 deficit to a 6-4 lead.
Champ of the Game: Anthony Rendon (+13.1%) did not start this game, but his entrance as a pinch-hitter was significant. After the Nats blew up in the bottom of the sixth, he pinch-hit for Abad to lead off the seventh with a home run, putting the Nats down just one. Francisco (+19.9%) had just one hit, but it was his major game-tying double, and he had another RBI earlier in the game that scored the Brewers’ first run.
Chump of the Game: Abad (-43.0%) only allowed two earned runs in his 0.2 IP, but was in the game as four pivotal Milwaukee runs scored on the three hits he served up. Brewers reliever John Axford (-5.5%) pitched the sixth inning and gave up a home run to Adam LaRoche, who hit his second in as many days using Jayson Werth‘s bat.