Like Dante from “Clerks”, Jayson Werth wasn’t even supposed to be at work last night, but he ended up playing and hit a huge home run that started a ninth-inning rally in what ended up a walk-off win.
Werth’s name was not in Washington’s lineup when it originally released, but it was when a new lineup came out a little while later.
Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker explained why his left fielder’s name only appeared in the updated one.
“I wasn’t planning on giving him the day off,” Baker told reporters before Wednesday game, “especially against a left-hander, the way he hits left-handers pretty well.”
“He was a little under the weather, but then he came in and said, ‘Hey, man, I’m fine, I’m ready to go, that’s why we changed the lineup back.”
Werth and his teammates were taking on the Baltimore Orioles and O’s left-hander Wade Miley in the third game of the four-game, two-city series with the Nationals’ regional rivals.
As a team, the Nationals started the night with a .336/.395/.617 line against lefties early this season, good for 1st/1st/1st across the line in the National League.
Werth, a career 295/.395/.541 hitter against left-handed pitching, had just 12 plate appearances against left-handers this season (2 for 8, 1 HR).
He went 0 for 1 with two walks against Miley, singled off righty Mychal Givens, and took O’s closer Brad Brach deep in the ninth inning, battling for 11 pitches before hitting a solo shot to right-center that got the Nationals within one, 6-5.
Washington loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, and got a walk-off single from former Orioles’ catcher Matt Wieters.
“Jayson Werth had a super at bat,” Baker said after the win. “Rarely do you have an at bat like that when you end up hitting a homer.”
Werth’s done it more than once of course, most memorably in Game 4 of the 2012 NLDS.
Tonight in D.C., he fouled off a number of pitches before finally barreling one up and hitting it out.
Baker was asked if he could tell Werth was getting closer to squaring one up as the at bat went along.
“He was trying to make contact first,” Baker explained.
“That’s a determination at bat. If every at bat the guys have that much determination then they’d never make outs, but something happens when you’re down to your last breath and guys seem to find more determination from somewhere and I’m glad he did.”
“It was tough,” Brach said of the at bat against Werth, “looking back at it I threw some really good pitches, and just — he got the upper hand there towards the end and just was able to drive one out to right-center field.”