For the first time in a while, it was pretty easy for the Nats. The offense clicked, Jordan Zimmermann was dominant, and everything went right in a season in which everything has gone wrong. The Nats clambered back to .500 at 36-36 and gained a game on the losing Braves. Today marks the Nats’ second straight win, which means pretty much nothing. What will be telling is if the Nats can win tomorrow. They have won two games in a row four times since the last time they won three straight: a five-game win streak from May 4th-10th. Since then, they are 16-21. Any sort of prolonged streak would be huge for a team that has struggled to be consistent, and could build some positive momentum before Bryce Harper‘s quickly approaching return.
Jun 20, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond (20) is congratulated by manager Davey Johnson (right) after hitting a solo homer during the second inning against the Colorado Rockies at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Most Important Nationals Hit: Ian Desmond‘s solo home run (+11.8%)
After last night’s tie-breaking grand slam, Desmond had a pretty good second act today. His solo blast gave the Nats a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second off Roy Oswalt. He now has 11 home runs on the year, and is building a pretty strong case to make his second straight All-Star appearance, especially with the injury to Troy Tulowitzki. He leads all NL shortstops in doubles, and is second to Tulowitzki in home runs.
Most Important Nationals Pitch: Yorvit Torrealba‘s ground into double play (+7.7%)
The Rockies didn’t score until they trailed by five in the eighth inning, so it stands to reason that they wouldn’t have many significant offensive chances. Todd Helton singled to open the second, but Torrealba erased the threat by grounding into the double play. After that, Zimmermann locked down, retiring 15 straight Rockies until Nolan Arenado singled with two outs in the seventh.
Champ of the Game: Like Desmond, Zimmermann (+26.4%) is assembling quite an All-Star case. He is now 10-3 with a 2.26 ERA after going eight innings tonight and allowing one unearned run on six hits and a walk while striking out nine. He is fourth in the NL in ERA and second in WHIP. For Colorado, 2B DJ LeMahieu (+3.3%) was 2-4 and drove in the Rockies’ only run of the night in the eighth.
Chump of the Game: It looks like there was only enough good feeling for one Zimmerman(n) last night, as Ryan Zimmerman (-8.2%) went 0-4 with two strikeouts. Oswalt (-18.9%) had a bizarre line in his first Rockies start: 5 IP, 9 H, 0 BB, 4 ER, 11 K.