Rapid Reaction: Yankees 4, Nationals 1
June, 17, 2012
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com
Recap | Box score | Photos
What it means: That if the Yankees were in the National League, they might go 162-0. Sunday's 4-1 victory over the Nationals not only completes a three-game sweep in D.C., but makes it three straight sweeps over three pretty good NL teams -- Mets, Braves, Nationals. And the Yankees have got six more with the NL this week.
Capital punishment: The best in the AL versus one of the best in the NL looks like a mismatch all weekend.
Nova a knockout: Ivan Nova pitched his third straight gem, working into the eighth inning, allowing seven hits and just one run on Adam LaRoche's homer leading off the second. Over his past three outings, Nova has worked 22 2/3 innings and allowed just two earned runs for an ERA of -- wait for it -- 0.79. Sick.
Rockin' Robby: Robinson Cano just crushed a 2-0 fastball from reliever Tom Gorzelanny over the left-center-field fence to give the Yankees a little breathing room in the seventh. Cano's 12th homer of the season made it 3-1 Yankees.
Just dandy: Curtis "I'm not a home-run hitter" Granderson belted No. 21 into the Nats' bullpen leading off the fifth inning to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead. Only Adam Dunn and Josh Hamilton have more. Grandy also had a first-inning double that, because of the Yankees' nagging RISP problems, went nowhere. Of course.
Daily double: With the Nats threatening in the fourth inning -- first-and-third, one out -- Nova got a huge double play on a smooth-as-silk pick and toss by Cano on Danny Espinosa's one-hopper.
Sacrificial lamb: Nova laid down two successful sacrifice bunts, although the first one, in the fourth inning, looked like he hit it by accident. By the sixth, however, Nova had it down pretty good. He can use it again over the weekend at Citi Field against the Mets.
Cold-Rod: Even with a day off Saturday, Alex Rodriguez was just 4-for-22 on the road trip (.182), although one of those hits was the grand slam that tied Lou Gehrig last Tuesday in Atlanta. But A-Rod had some bad at-bats Sunday, especially in the seventh inning, when he chased high and away on what would have been ball four and struck out.
Mitt malfunction: The Yankees' fourth run scored on a passed ball charged to Nats catcher Jhonatan Solano, on a ball four to Andruw Jones, allowing Mark Teixeira to score from third. On the next pitch, another one got past Solano, allowing Jones to move to second.
Bryce is right: Bryce Harper rebounded from his horrendous five-K Saturday with a ringing double off the right-center-field fence in the third, a single in the eighth, and an on-the-money peg home on Derek Jeter's lineout to center, holding Andruw Jones at third.
Bully!: Teddy Roosevelt got hosed in the Presidents' Race again, this time by a most-unsportsmanlike Thomas Jefferson, who elbowed him out of the way just before the finish line. TR is now 0-474 in the daily scandal.
What's coming: A column on Nova, who threw the kind of game Greg Maddux would have been proud of. Plus, any available update on Nick Swisher's fitness for Monday night's game against the Braves.
Monday: Yankees open a three-game series at home against the Atlanta Braves, who they swept out of the Ted just a few days ago. The pitching matchups: CC Sabathia (8-3, 3.70) vs. LHP Mike Minor (3-4, 6.01) Monday night; Hiroki Kuroda (6-6, 3.43) vs. RHP Tim Hudson (4-3, 3.90) Tuesday night; and Phil Hughes (7-5, 4.50) vs. RHP Tommy Hanson (7-4, 3.32) on Wednesday afternoon.