The Good: Bryce Harper. Granted it’s Coors Field, but Harper looked more like himself this series than he has in a long, long time. He went 2 for 4 in this one with two runs, two RBIs and a mammoth home run that would have been out anywhere in the league. Is now hitting .321/.444/.571 in August, and doesn’t that sound like music to your ears?
Also: Trea Turner (2 for 4, 2 runs, RBI, triple), Anthony Rendon and Brian Goodwin (a pair of hits apiece) and Pedro Severino with his first MLB home run.
The Bad: Wilson Ramos. 0 for 5, five LOB. Tough day for one of the team’s MVPs this season.
Also: Oliver Perez. Attempting a second inning of work after a 1-2-3 fourth inning, Old Man Ollie gave up a homer to the left-handed hitting back-up catcher, walked a righty pinch-hitter on four straight pitches then hit lefty Charlie Blackmon with his next offering. Quickly approaching obsolescence.
The Ugly: Stephen Strasburg. Who else? Simply, the worst start of his professional career. He may have had a day this bad back in legion ball or something, but hard to imagine it. Nine earned runs in five outs is a darn tough thing to do. Couldn’t locate the fastball at all, gave up on the breaking pitches. Just a recipe for disaster. Even the opposing pitcher smacked a hard-hit double to the gap.
Want to get worried? He’s given up 19 earned runs over 11 2⁄3 innings in his last three starts. No bueno.
Moment that mattered: After the Nats scored two in the top of the fifth inning on Harper’s 21st home run ( and first since July 20) to make it 9-6, Perez came back out, gave up a homer and put the next two on. Matt Belisle was summoned, and promptly gave up a single to the pesky DJ LeMahieu. After a ground out and sac fly, the Nats were back down by six runs, a deficit they never could surmount.