The Nationals were swept by the New York Yankees on Fathers Day Weekend despite a quality start by their starting pitcher each game and an overall ERA of 3.50 from their rotation. Gio Gonzalez, Jordan Zimmermann, and Edwin Jackson all labored through their starts with high pitch counts, but each left the game with their team in position to win the game. The patience of the Yankees lineup, however, paid off as their offense was able to come alive late in each outing while the Nationals bats continued to struggle.
Jackson allowed just two runs in six innings in Sundays 4-1 loss, but threw 110 pitches along the way. He said afterwards the outing was harder than your usual six-inning start.
They made me work today, I threw 100 pitches in six innings and thats what they are notorious for doing, make the pitcher work the pitch count, he said.
Facing a lineup as deep as New Yorks, you cant really ask for much than what Jackson did. He left the team in good shape moving into the later innings, but the Yankee approach was steady.
Jackson explained what makes them so tough:
They arent afraid to hit with strikes on them, theyre not afraid to hit with two strikes. They make you throw strikes and make you continue to throw strikes, he said.
They get two strikes and they still feel like they are able to come and get a hit off you.
New York broke through in the very next inning after Jackson was relieved. Robinson Cano hit a home run into center field off left-hander Tom Gorzelanny as the second batter. Then, Mark Teixera scored on a passed ball from reliever Ryan Mattheus to catcher Jhonatan Solano. It became the same story seen the two previous games as the Yankees ran away with the victory.
Overall the Nationals relievers allowed eight runs in 14 innings of work in the series, a total ERA of 5.14. Manager Davey Johnson said he had a tough time managing as there really is no letup in the Yankees batting order. Even on a day opposing skipper Joe Girardi played his backup catcher Chris Stewart, the guy got two hits.
They are a little hard to match up against, they have a lot of power and guys that can hit for average, Johnson said.
It is a tough offense. When you try and go create match-ups for your pen, it is a lot tougher.
Johnson said he tried to pitch around Cano for most of the series, but even he got to them in Sunday. Curtis Granderson hit another home run, this time off a right-handed Jackson, but on Friday hit an RBI double and a home run off Nationals lefties. The balance of the Yankee order and their ability to hit all types of pitchers was impressive to Johnson.
Their left-handers are not really susceptible to lefties, they can hit them just as good as right-handers. It is a tough lineup, he said.
The Yankees currently hold the best record in the American League and showed this weekend they are at least a little better than the Washington ballclub. But as an A.L. team, they really have no effect on the Nats moving forward. The only other time they could meet would be the World Series.
But despite all that, Johnson and the Nationals see themselves as in the same category, that they are in a race with all of the leagues best teams.
They got a good ballclub, they will be tough to catch, he said.