WASHINGTON — The Yankees have moved into first place, gotten terrific starting pitching and continue to hit home runs at a solid pace.
At first glance, it almost seems like everything is going their way.
After a 4-1 win over the Nationals yesterday, the first baseman raved about all the positive aspects of the team, but couldn’t ignore the problem that has been following them around virtually all season: a lack of hits with runners in scoring position.
“We’re still not happy about that,” Teixeira said after the Yankees went 0-for-12 in those situations yesterday. “I wish I could tell you the issue. I really [can’t]. We just have to be better.”
"We just have to be better."
It seemed to be a much more pressing issue when the Yankees were in last place and a handful of games out of first. Now that they have moved to the top of the division and — not coincidentally — gotten improved starting pitching, it’s easier to ignore.
Still, Teixeira admitted the offense won’t be able to get away with failures in the clutch all season.
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“Our pitchers have picked us up,” Teixeira said. “If not for them being so good, we’re not in first place right now.”
And he couldn’t recall a team as talented as this one struggling for such an extended period of time with runners in scoring position.
“I wish I could explain it,” Teixeira said. “I guess you could call it ‘winning ugly.’ This nice run we’re on is because of pitching.”
It’s certainly not because of the 0-for-12 yesterday or the 3-for-18 in their 14-inning victory Saturday.
Instead, it’s home runs and the guys on the mound.
“We’re a home-run hitting team,” manager Joe Girardi said. “There’s no doubt about it. That’s how we’re going to score our runs. We won this game by hitting home runs.”
Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano both went deep at Nationals Park to help overcome the “offensive woes” as Derek Jeter jokingly referred to them recently in Detroit.
“We can score other ways,” Jeter said. “The other team isn’t just saying, ‘Here you go,’ and then throw it down the middle. ... Those are tough hits to come by.”
Especially this season.
“You find other ways to win,” Jeter said. “It’ll turn around.”
Mark Teixeira, Teixeira, The Yankees, the Nationals, Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter