Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats need a win today to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Yankees.
The Nationals will attempt to get back on track this afternoon with Edwin Jackson on the mound. The right-hander has become the workhorse of the majors' best rotation, having reached the eighth inning three times this season when none of his teammates have done it once. That durability could prove important today in the wake of a 14-inning loss during which Davey Johnson needed eight innings out of his bullpen. (If you missed the earlier news, Brad Lidge has been designated for assignment and Ryan Mattheus has been activated off the DL.)
This, of course, is Father's Day, and what better place to spend it than at the ballpark? My family will be in attendance today, and I'm going to spend a couple of innings in the stands with my 9-month-old son, Brian, hopefully the first of many Father's Days we can spend together at the ballpark. Hope everyone out there enjoys their day with family and friends!
Updates to come...
NEW YORK YANKEES at WASHINGTON NATIONALS
Where: Nationals Park
Gametime: 1:35 p.m. EDT
TV: MASN, Ch. 50, MLB.tv, TBS (outside D.C. market)
Radio: WJFK (106.7 FM), WFED (1500 AM), XM 176
Weather: Partly cloudy, 78 degrees, Wind 9 mph RF to LF
LF Steve Lombardozzi
CF Bryce Harper
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Adam LaRoche
RF Michael Morse
SS Ian Desmond
2B Danny Espinosa
C Jhonatan Solano
RHP Edwin Jackson
SS Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
3B Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
1B Mark Teixeira
LF Raul Ibanez
RF Andruw Jones
C Chris Stewart
RHP Ivan Nova
HP Jeff Kellogg (cc), 1B Eric Cooper, 2B Marty Foster, 3B Tim Timmons
1:39 p.m. -- We are underway on an absolutely gorgeous Father's Day in the nation's capital. Another packed house here for this series finale.
1:53 p.m. -- On the bright side, that top of the first could have been a whole lot worse than it turned out. A Derek Jeter single off Edwin Jackson's glove and a Curtis Granderson double off first base put the Yankees in business right from the start. And then a one-out intentional walk to Robinson Cano loaded the bases for Mark Teixeira. Teixeira wound up lofting a sacrifice fly to deep center, then Raul Ibanez lined out to center to end the inning. All things considered, Jackson and the Nats have to feel very fortunate to get out of that trailing only 1-0.
1:58 p.m. -- It looked like Bryce Harper might get bounce back from his 0-for-7, 5-strikeout game with an infield single in his first at-bat today. But a fantastic play by Cano foiled Harper's hopes and highlighted a 1-2-3 bottom of the first for Ivan Nova, who needed only eight pitches in the inning.
2:18 p.m. -- Adam LaRoche, the son of a big leaguer, crushes a Father's Day homer, his team-leading 12th of the season, to lead off the bottom of the second. So we are now tied 1-1 heading to the third.
2:35 p.m. -- Jackson has been one of baseball's most efficient pitchers this season, but apparently that doesn't apply against the Yankees (baseball's most patient lineup). Through three innings, he's already thrown 60 pitches, allowing four hits while walking two (one intentionally). It's still 1-1, but it'll be interesting to see how far Davey Johnson lets his starter go after yesterday's 14-inning game.
2:40 p.m. -- Bryce Harper finally records his first solid hit of the weekend, a double off the right-field wall with two outs in the third. He did beat out an infield single on Friday night, but this was his first clean hit to the outfield. Unfortunately, he was stranded in scoring position as Ryan Zimmerman struck out on three pitches, offering up a feeble check-swing attempt at Nova's final pitch. Zim is now hitting .231 for the season. Not good. Still 1-1 heading to the fourth.
2:52 p.m. -- Three errors in three days for Desmond. That's surprising, given the stellar defense he had been playing for quite some time.
3:18 p.m. -- Sorry, folks, my jaunt down to the stands didn't produce the usual positive result for the Nationals. Granderson, however, did club his 21st homer of the season in the top of the fifth, giving the Yankees a 2-1 lead. The Nats had a chance to do something in the fourth with runners on the corners and one out, but Espinosa grounded into a double play. And then another potential rally in the fifth was quashed when Lombardozzi grounded out to second and Harper lined out to short. We head to the sixth...
3:38 p.m. -- Davey does seem to give Edwin Jackson more rope than just about anyone else in his rotation, and that trust paid off in the top of the sixth. With runners on second and third and one out, Davey left his starter (already over 100 pitches) in to face Jeter and Granderson. Jackson got Jeter to fly out to center (with Harper showing off his cannon to hold Andruw Jones at third) and then got Granderson to ground out to first on his 110th pitch of the day. Gutty performance from the right-hander, keeping this a 2-1 deficit heading to the bottom of the sixth.
3:44 p.m. -- The Nationals aren't making Nova work at all today. A four-pitch bottom of the sixth leaves the Yankee starter with only 63 pitches on the afternoon, a staggeringly low total. Ryan Zimmerman has seen only five pitches in three at-bats (all outs) today. He's only taken one pitch (a called strike). Everything else, he's swung at.
3:58 p.m. -- Things are falling apart in the seventh inning. Tom Gorzelanny enters and serves up a homer to Robinson Cano, who has now reached safely in 10 of 13 plate appearances this weekend. A double and a groundball put a runner on third and brought Ryan Mattheus out of the bullpen for his first appearance back from the DL. It did not get off to a positive start: Mattheus walked Andruw Jones, then didn't cover home when the ball got away from Jhonatan Solano and let another run score. So it's now 4-1 at the seventh-inning as the Nats find themselves nine outs from a series sweep.
4:10 p.m. -- Meanwhile, today's official paid attendance is 41,442. That means all three games this weekend were sellouts. And as Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post points out, seven of the 13 largest crowds in Nationals Park history have come this season.
4:36 p.m. -- As the Nats finally knock out Nova in the eighth -- and still fail to score another run -- a question for everyone: If someone told you the Nats would get swept by the Yankees this weekend but still hold a four-game lead in the NL East, would you take that?
4:49 p.m. -- It's over. The Nats lose 4-1 and suffer a sweep at the hands of the Yankees. Here's your stat of the day: They're now 0-6 this season against the Dodgers and Yankees ... and 38-20 against everyone else in baseball.