Blog Entry

Jeter Watch: Hitless, should he hit bench in NL?

Posted on: June 11, 2011 4:06 pm
Edited on: June 11, 2011 7:06 pm

By Evan Brunell

Derek Jeter went hitless Saturday, which means he now has five games left to collect nine hits, which is a tall task to ask Jeter to reach these days, as his .310-hitting days appear to be far gone. As is, it's extremely likely that the Captain will head out on the road on Friday needing a handful of hits for 3,000.

The Yankees will begin interleague play by heading to Wrigley Field next weekend and then kick off the new week with a visit to Cincinnati. Those are actually pretty fine places to get a 3,000th hit at; Wrigley is an iconic park and has seen a 3,000th hit before with Cardinals great Stan Musial netting his milestone there. Cincinnati, meanwhile, is where the iconic Pete Rose made his name as the all-time hit king.

It's no New York, though. Jeter's stature, plus the fact that no Yankee has ever gotten 3,000 hits, has propelled this particular chase to a situation where Jeter really should get hit No. 3000 at home, but how can New York make this happen?

The Yankees return home to host Colorado on Friday, June 17, so all they have to do is get through six games on the road. Jeter has played in every single Yankees game since May 5, a span of 32 games without a break. He's definitely going to play in the remaining five games on the homestand, as manager Joe Girardi and every Yankee fan will pray for a hot streak. That leaves Jeter in prime position to get a day off the first game of the Cubs series, as Girardi can shrug off benching Jeter as a normal off-day. Jeter will certainly need the break at that time.

Girardi could also look ahead to the final game of the Reds series, which is on June 22, as the next day is an off-day for the Yankees. Girardi could justify this as a way to give Jeter two consecutive days off. This is more commonly used for starting catchers, but it happens for position players as well.

That's four games left for Jeter to hit -- or more accurately, miss -- the milestone on the road. So let's turn to Joe Girardi's book, which has all measure of statistics in it. We find that Jeter's hitting just .246/.297/.301 against right-handers on the year (yuck) but is at .299/.405/.403 against left-handers. So the answer there is simple -- during the interleague swing where the DH can't be used, give backstop Eduardo Nunez a game with a right-handed pitcher on the mound.

Boom -- three of the six games on the road have Jeter on the pine. There's no question Girardi would be scrutinized for the reasons behind putting Jeter on the bench, but it's hard to argue with a day off, another day off that gets Jeter two straight off days, plus a benching against a right-hander to get Nunez and his defense in the lineup.

Only time will tell if Girardi would take this route, but he would certainly prefer Jeter to collect nine hits in a five-game span and make the point moot.

SATURDAY: Jeter was 0 for 4 on Saturday, failing to collect a hit for the first time since June 3, over a week ago.


ALL-TIME LIST: Jeter will stand at 28th until he ties Roberto Clemente at 3,000.

NEXT UP: Jeter will face the Indians again on Sunday with five games to go on the homestand. Toeing the mound will be Josh Tomlin, whom Jeter is 1-for-3 against in his career.

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Since: May 20, 2008
Posted on: June 12, 2011 12:46 am

Jeter Watch: Hitless, should he hit bench in NL?

Because as Yankee fans we want him to make that money.  A portion of that is my investment in the franchise.  Your team can spend your money how it wants, myself and the vast majority of Yankee fans have no issue with his salary.   And from a pure business perspective, Jeter is worth every dime to the yankees.  The return on investement may not be the largest percenteage wise but the pure revenue he generates is well worth it.s 

Since: May 20, 2008
Posted on: June 12, 2011 12:42 am

Jeter Watch: Hitless, should he hit bench in NL?

Mister C 78, you are a Mets fan, you would know what DUMB means............ Jeter is better than any other Mets "great" so really, just zip it. 

Since: Nov 13, 2009
Posted on: June 11, 2011 10:10 pm

Jeter Watch: Hitless, should he hit bench in NL?

Jeter needs to play regardless of where he gets 3000.  Resting him so he can reach the milestone at Yankee Stadium is plain dumb.  Jeter is not in the top 10 of all time greats so what's the big deal.  Only because he plays for NY.  Jeter has clearly lost his ability to hit.  The Yankees paid this man millions for the next two season so he can hit number 3000 in a pin stripe uniform.  DUMB.

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: June 11, 2011 9:19 pm

Jeter Watch: Hitless, should he hit bench in NL?

No, Evan, he should not be penalized for being the most proficient hitter in the New York Yankees' history. Derek Jeter loves to play the game. There is no earthly reason for sitting him because of an arbitrary number. The job of the manager is to win baseball games. Make that every baseball game. Derek Jeter is still producing nightly and an asset on the field. So long as Girardi believes Jeter gives him the best chance to win the decision is a no brainer.

I get why people make a big deal of arbitrary statistical milestones. I suspect that Jeter would just as soon have everyone ignore them and just let him play. He did go though this when he broke Gehrig's Yankee record so it is likely to be less stressful than last time. I say let him play and treat each game as no different than the next one. The Yankee faithful should want to attend the last hit Jeter gets (also a record) when his career is over. The Yankees do not have trouble selling tickets (year after year they are first in MLB for attendance at home). Let them help Chicago and Cincinnati sell out their ballparks as well. With the advent of cable TV coverage we will all get to see the 3,000th hit no matter which ballpark it occurs. There is a good chance Yankee fans will be the majority of attendees everywhere.

Since: May 4, 2010
Posted on: June 11, 2011 8:59 pm

Jeter Watch: Hitless, should he hit bench in NL?

You keep telling yourself that, sparky.

Since: Mar 22, 2009
Posted on: June 11, 2011 6:48 pm

Jeter Watch: Hitless, should he hit bench in NL?

Jeter has aeffected baseball more than Hank Aaron...

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: June 11, 2011 6:09 pm

Jeter Watch: Hitless, should he hit bench in NL?

Why did the Yankees give Jeter more money? Why? Seriously, Jeter should just reach 3000 and call it a career after this year. It's painful watching him now.

Since: May 4, 2010
Posted on: June 11, 2011 5:05 pm

Jeter Watch: Hitless, should he hit bench in NL?

Baseball forced Hank Aaron to play 2 of 3 games in Cincinnati, when he was chasing Ruth.
No offense to Jeter fans, but Jeter ain't no Henry Aaron. He needs to play his regular schedule,
and let the hits fall where they may.
He's not THAT special.  

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