A strong outing by Wang, even if the numbers say otherwise (Nats lose 6-2)

You look at the pitching line of Chien-Ming Wang this afternoon, you assume it was another tough outing for the veteran right-hander.

Wang went four innings today, allowing two runs on eight hits. He struck out two, walked none and leaves with the Nats trailing 2-0 in the fifth.

The numbers are deceiving, however. Wang actually pitched pretty darn well.

His sinker had great movement, and he was able to locate it down in the zone and get Brewers hitters to beat it into the ground. He had good velocity, hitting 93 mph on the stadium gun.

Wang just got burned by a few bad breaks. Three of the eight hits he allowed were slow ground balls that found a hole, and he also was credited with allowing a Ryan Bruan double when Bryce Harper lost a fly ball in the sun leading off the fourth inning.

Bruan came around to score later in the inning. Essentially it was an unearned run, even though Harper wasn’t credited with an error.

Wang worked out of trouble later in the fourth, getting a couple ground balls to third to escape a second-and-third, one-out jam.

Because he hasn’t started a game since his final rehab outing Sept. 1, Wang was held to just four innings of work, throwing 69 pitches. He’s on the hook for the loss, even though he was pretty impressive, especially for a guy who was making his first big league start since June 19.

Craig Stammen is in for the Nats here to start the fifth.

Update: The Nats have knotted it at 2-2 in the fifth with RBIs from Chad Tracy and Jayson Werth.

Tracy now has 11 pinch-hit RBIs on the season, tied for the most in the majors. This from a guy who missed 55 games with a groin injury.

Update II: The sun isn’t doing the Nats any favors today.

Harper lost a ball in the glare earlier today, and Werth did the same in the seventh, losing track of a fly ball to shallow right off the bat of Carlos Gomez. That brought in a run, one of three Brewers runs put up on Ryan Mattheus in the seventh. It’s now a 5-2 game.

Only one ball in the inning was struck all that well - Aramis Ramirez’s double down the line - but two infield singles, an intentional walk and Gomez’s fly ball single did most of the damage.

Update III: Well, that was a weird one. The Nats made two errors, lost two balls in the sun, allowed 15 hits in today’s 6-2 loss to the Brewers.

With Atlanta’s 2-1 win over the Phillies this afternoon, the Nationals’ magic number to clinch the NL East remains six and their division lead has been cut to 4 1/2 games.

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