There were a lot more Yankees fans in Nationals Park on Saturday than the day before, likely because a bunch came down after work on Friday. Lots of cheers for the road team and lots of groans when Mark Teixeira doubled in two go-ahead runs in the 14th. The Yankees won 5-3 and outside of one Cory Wade meatball, got some pretty fantastic pitching. It was a great win. Really was. Here are some miscellaneous observations…
- First thing that stands out to me: Bryce Harper looked just awful. Andy Pettitte completely manhandled him early, and overall the wunderkind went 0-for-7 with five strikeouts. He saw 24 pitches total, swung and missed 11 (!) times, and grounded out weakly to end the game on the first pitch he saw from Rafael Soriano. That’s about as bad as a player can look in a single game.
- The Yankees almost got no-hit by Washington’s bullpen, which threw seven hitless innings from the start of the seventh through the end of the 13th. The Brad Lidge meltdown was as predictable as it gets — he has been unbelievably terrible this year — but Teixeira was their last hope in that 14th inning. The pitcher’s spot was behind Robinson Cano and he wasn’t going to see a hittable pitch again all day.
- New York’s bullpen was pretty awesome as well, with only four hits allowed — one being the game-tying homer by Ian Desmond in the eighth — to go with five strikeouts and a 10/4 GB/FB. I thought it was only a matter of time until someone hit a walk-off once Freddy Garcia entered the game, but give it up to him, dude threw two nearly flawless innings despite making just one appearance in the last 25 days.
- I haven’t seen a replay yet but frankly I don’t want too. The home plate ump called Tyler Moore out at the plate on Dewayne Wise’s throw in the eighth and that’s good enough for me. I had no idea Wise has that kind of arm, he got the ball to Russell Martin on the fly.
- Derek Jeter had the loudest 1-for-7 ever, he scalded three line drives right at defenders for outs. Eric Chavez was also hitting the snot out of everything and even made a few standout defensive plays at the hot corner. Outside of the two homer game at Fenway, this was probably his best game of the season.
- Nice little game for Jayson Nix, who came into the game as part of a double switch and had the dinky little infield single that started the 14th inning rally. He also stole a big base that inning, got down a sac bunt when asked earlier in the game, and made one nice play defensively in left. Most utility players are terrible, but I definitely think Nix has been a notch above that during his brief time with the Yankees.
- Pettitte gave up five hits and how many were on broken bats, at least three right? Jesus Flores’ two-run double to the wall was clearly the most annoying only because Jesus Flores has no business hitting the ball to the wall in the first place, broken bat or not.
- I was surprised to learn that this was only the Yankees’ third extra-innings game this season. The other two came in Baltimore during the second series of the year. Also, I have to admit I’m kinda disappointed they won despite not hitting a homer. Part of me was hoping to see them win 95 games and go 0-30 when not hitting one out. Woulda be … unique.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the nerd score, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees have won eight straight games and that’s kind of a big deal. They’ve also won 11 of their last 12, 13 of the last 15, and 18 of the last 22. I mentioned this last game, but this might be the best baseball they’ve played since 2009. Ivan Nova gets the ball against Edwin Jackson on Sunday afternoon, hoping to give his club their third consecutive three-game series sweep.