So, about last night...? The Nats won a game that they had absolutely no business winning, which is awesome. But was it the Nats game of the year? Let's meet the contenders and go over their credentials before making a decision.
Last Night - Nationals 6 - Mariners 5
Joe has already recapped this game, but I want to add some stats to his analysis. As you may have seen by now, this was the Nats biggest 9th inning comeback since they came to DC from Montreal (previous record was 2 runs). Winning a game where Zimmerman became the first Nats/Expos franchise player to ground into 3 double plays since (wait for it) Fernando Seguignol did it on April 26, 2001 (H/T @Stats_MLB).
For the next bit of analysis let's turn to fangraphs. When Ryan Zimmerman grounded into the double-play down 5-1 in the 9th the Nats only had a 0.5% chance to win the game. For those of you scoring at home, that's a 1 in 200 chance to win. With the Hairston single the odds went to 1.4%. Morse single to 4.0%. Espi single to 8.7%. Then Ramos came up and hit a ball to the moon to add the 91.3% to get the Nats to 100%. Insanity.
After 8 innings of play, the Nats had just 3 hits - only to have 4 more in the 9th. Definite game of the year potential.
May 20 - Nationals 17 - Orioles 5
After being shut out 3-0 and 1-0 in New York in the two games prior, many in NatsTown were calling for Rick Eckstein's head. A team record 6 home runs and 17 runs shut everyone (including me) up.
Werth finally stepped up to the plate in a big way, going 3 for 4 with 2 homers and 4 RBIs. Espinosa added to his growing legend by going 3 for 5 with 5 RBIs, ending up a double short of the cycle. Ramos also went 3 for 5 with a homer and 2 RBIs. Everyone on the Nats starting lineup got at least one hit, except for one. Our DH, Matt Stairs, who was hitting for our best offensive pitcher, Jason Marquis. Oh, the delicious irony.
It was the best offensive output since the Nats have been in DC. Definitely worth game of the year status.
June 15 - Nationals 10 - Cardinals 0
A ten-run offensive output is usually the key to a great game, but for this game of the year candidate it was the pitching that set it aside. More specifically the crafty veteran throwing one of the best games of his long career, just 6 days ago.
Livan Hernandez was the star of this game, and it wasn't even close. Livan threw 9 innings of 3 hit ball, striking out 6 and not walking a single batter. His Bill James Game Score was an 87, the 15th best in all of MLB this year. It was also Livan's best game score since August 18th, 2000 when he went the distance for the Giants against the D'Backs with 9.0 IP, 0 ER, - R, 4 H, 2 BB, and 10 K.
Behind him, the Nats played stellar defense and gave him much-needed run support. You're offensive standout was Michael Morse, who went 3 for 4 with 2 home-runs and 3 RBIs.
10-run win? Check. Best start in 11 years by a veteran? Check. Game of the year? Maybe.
So - it's on you CapBallers. Which game listed (or not listed) is the Game of the Year so far? The comments section awaits!