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A closer look at Washington’s three-day stand against the Braves at Turner Field.

Game 1: 6-1 win on Tuesday night (June 30)

Game 2: 4-1 loss on Wednesday night (July 1)

Game 3: 2-1 loss on Thursday night (July 2)

What I liked:

1. Jordan Zimmermann’s start in Game 1 – Spotted a four-run lead, Zimmermann did exactly what a pitcher should do in such a circumstance: throw strikes and devour innings.  An incredible 85 of his 109 pitches were strikes as he tossed 7 2/3 scoreless innings.  Zimmermann now has thrown 15 2/3 scoreless innings over his last two starts, during which he has allowed no walks.

2. Max Scherzer’s start in Game 3 – Scherzer tossed another complete game, giving up two runs in 8 1/3 innings on nine strikeouts versus five hits and no walks.  He now has three complete games over his last four starts off totaling one complete game over his first 210 career starts.  This complete game was rare, as it came on a walk-off loss thanks to a Cameron Maybin chop single that went over third base and was ruled fair by third-base umpire C.B. Bucknor, even though he was facing away from the bag as the ball went over it.  The play wasn’t reviewable but clear replay angles apparently weren’t available anyway, which is pretty surprising.  Gun-to-my-head, that was a fair ball.  But the real takeaway is that this was another gem from Scherzer, who is just 9-6 despite leading the majors in WHIP (0.78), strikeout-to-walk ratio (9.93) and opponents’ batting average (.181) and being second in the majors in ERA (1.82).  The Nats have totaled just seven runs in Scherzer’s six losses this season.  This is why pitchers should never be judged on their records!

3. The offense in the first inning of Game 1 – Four of the Nats’ six runs in the series and four of the Nats’ 20 hits in the series came in the top of the first of Game 1.  Shelby Miller’s opposing batters entered the game just 3-for-46 in first innings this season.  The Nats went 4-for-6 and scored four runs.

4. Bryce Harper and Denard Span – They combined for eight of the Nats’ 20 hits in the series.

Harper went 4-for-12 with a walk, providing doubles in Games 1 and 3.

Span went 4-for-9 with three walks and three stolen bases.

What I didn’t like:

1. The offense after Game 1 – The Nats totaled just two runs and went 9-for-59 with 20 strikeouts over Games 2 and 3.

2. Doug Fister’s start in Game 2 – Fister allowed four runs in six innings, giving up seven hits (including two homers).  He now has struggled in two of his three starts since coming off the 15-day disabled list and now has a 4.34 ERA and 1.36 WHIP over 10 starts this season.

3. Harper not running out a fly out in the top of the third of Game 1 – This wasn’t an outrageous crime, but it is something that the best player on a team shouldn’t be doing.  Braves announcers Chip Caray and Joe Simpson criticized Harper on Fox Sports South.  Matt Williams on Wednesday said that he had spoken to Harper , “It’s important for him to be passionate about the way he plays in every aspect.”

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