As you may or may not know, Davey Johnson has been growing his beard out in protest of the Nationals’ lack of offense. Yesterday, a five-hit, four-run fifth inning nearly got him to shave. The team’s five runs marked the most they have scored since a 6-5 extra-inning win in San Diego on the 17th. It’s certainly not a solution to the Nats’ offensive woes, but it’s a start. Another positive sign was production from the bottom of the order: seven hitter Tyler Moore, hitting .130, was 1-3 with a walk, and eight hitter Steve Lombardozzi, hitting .242, was 3-4. The rest of the lineup is hitting reasonably well; the key to the team’s success is production from those spots that are all too often black holes. The team should also be quite encouraged by the fact that this production came against a good pitcher in Kyle Kendrick, who entered the game with a 2.82 ERA.
Most Important Nationals Hit: Adam LaRoche‘s RBI triple (+23.4%)
May 24, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche (25) hits an RBI triple during the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Trailing 2-1, the Nationals did not seem to have anything special going on in the fifth inning. Ryan Zimmerman was at first with one out after a fielder’s choice, but LaRoche turned it all around by driving a triple that scored Zimmerman and put the Nats in a great position to add more in the inning. Two more singles and a double would bring the inning’s total to four. At the beginning of the frame, the Nationals had a 39.9% chance of winning, but those odds skyrocketed to 87.8% at the end.
Most Important Nationals Pitch: Ben Revere‘s ground into double play (+14.8%)
The Phillies actually had some legitimate offensive opportunities, so it’s a bit surprising that their most influential offensive play was a double play. They scored on an RBI single in the second and a sacrifice fly in the fifth, but Revere’s GIDP came with the bases loaded and one out as the Phillies were threatening to break the game open.
Champ of the Game: LaRoche (+28.4%) earns this by virtue of his pivotal triple. Overall, he was 1-3 with a walk, an RBI, and a run scored. For the Phillies, Domonic Brown (+12.6%) was 2-3 with an RBI and a run scored.
Chump of the Game: Ian Desmond (-10.8%) was 0-3, but had an RBI. Philadelphia’s Kendrick (-38.4%) was lit up: he allowed five runs on eight hits and four walks in five innings, while striking out only one.