Posted on: June 5, 2011 8:11 pm
Pete Rose needed 2,370 games to get to 3,000 hits. Derek Jeter, 14 hits away from 3,000, has played in 2,350 games.
Pete Rose had just turned 37 when he got to 3,000 hits. Derek Jeter won't turn 37 until June 26.
We spend so much time talking about how old Derek Jeter is, how long he should play shortstop and how long he should lead off, and we forget that technically, he's still ahead of Pete Rose's pace.
"If there's one guy who could scare Pete, it's Derek," Chipper Jones said over the weekend. "If Derek can play five or so more years, he could definitely scare 4,000."
Before the Jeter-haters go crazy, this is not a prediction that Jeter is going to beat the Hit King. Rose was a .324 hitter when he got to 3,000; Jeter is at .260 after going 1-for-5 to get to 2,986 hits on Sunday in Anaheim.
But there are more comparisons than you'd think.
Here's one: Back in 1978, when Rose was chasing 3,000, the Reds considered it very important that he get there at home. Reds manager Sparky Anderson even suggested to reporters that he'd pull Rose from a road game, if necessary.
"I will not allow Pete Rose to do it anywhere but Cincinnati," Anderson said then. "I would not cheat those people. It's a must that he do it at home."
And he did.
Now Jeter and the Yankees come home, for 10 games starting Tuesday against the Red Sox. And now the pressure is on for Jeter to do it at home, too.
Obviously, it's not impossible that he will. Plenty of times in his career, Jeter has had 14 hits in 10 games.
Obviously, it's not a given that he will. Jeter hasn't had 14 hits in any 10-game span this year. And of the 14 players to reach 3,000 since Rose did it, only three -- Lou Brock in 1979, George Brett in 1992 and Paul Molitor in 1996 -- got the final 14 hits in as few as 10 games.
Rose, for what it's worth, needed just eight games to go from 2,986 to 3,000.
And then he needed another 1,192 games, over eight years, to go from 3,000 to 4,256.
When he got to 3,000, Rose said he wanted at least another 631, to break the National League record that then belonged to Stan Musial.
When he gets to 3,000, it's a safe bet that Jeter will not admit that he has any number in mind.
They're not the same. But for now, they are on the same pace.
On to 3 to Watch:
1. The Cubs are losing so often that no one asks anymore whether they can be part of the National League Central race. Instead, the talk when baseball people meet is about who will be the next Cubs general manager (Brian Cashman? Ned Colletti?). The Reds have lost 13 of their last 18 to fall a season-high 5 1/2 games behind the first-place Cardinals, but the talk there is about how they catch St. Louis. One answer may come in Cubs at Reds, Tuesday night (7:10 ET) at Great American Ball Park. Edinson Volquez is expected to return then from his two-week exile at Triple-A Louisville, and there's little question the Reds need him to come back and succeed.
2. It's looking like the biggest day of the Rangers season came two weeks ago, when Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz came off the disabled list. The Rangers, 10-16 in their last 26 games at that point, are 10-3 in their 13 games since. The Tigers would love to think that the return of Magglio Ordonez can give them a similar boost. Ordonez could come back in Tigers at Rangers, Tuesday night (8:05 ET) at Rangers Ballpark. If nothing else, it's a good spot for Ordonez's return. He has a .377 career average in 44 career games at the ballpark.
3. According to baseball-reference.com, Jeter has faced 1,163 different pitchers in his big-league career. Tops on the list, both in terms of most plate appearances (115) and most hits (31), is Tim Wakefield, the Boston starting pitcher in Red Sox at Yankees, Wednesday night (7:05 ET) at Yankee Stadium. Jeter's career average against Wakefield is just .287, below his career average of .313. Jeter also has 21 career hits against Josh Beckett, who starts Thursday, and 12 against Jon Lester, who starts Tuesday.
Posted on: July 18, 2010 8:28 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2010 8:45 pm
Yankee fans cared very much about George Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard. Baseball fans everywhere have cared very much about Stephen Strasburg.
Now Alex Rodriguez is approaching 600 home runs.
Do you care?
There's been amazingly little A-Rod buzz, and from what I was told, there wasn't much reaction from the Yankee Stadium fans when Rodriguez hit his 598th home run Sunday against the Rays.
You'd think it would be a meaningful milestone. Only six players have hit 600 home runs, and A-Rod (who turns 35 on July 27) will be the youngest ever to get there -- unless it takes him more than a year to hit two more home runs.
So why is there no buzz?
Is it that Rodriguez admitted using steroids earlier in his career? Is it that the steroid era has made 600 home runs seem that much less significant? Are we waiting for him to approach Willie Mays (660 home runs), Babe Ruth (714), Hank Aaron (755) and Barry Bonds (762), the numbers that earn A-Rod $6 million bonuses in his most recent contract? Do we just not like A-Rod?
Or maybe the buzz is suddenly going to appear Tuesday night, when A-Rod gets his first legitimate chance at reaching 600. He needs two more home runs, and he has hit two or more in a game 55 times in his career.
Not only that, but he has hit 67 career home runs against the Angels, by far the most he has hit against any opponent.
For the record, none of the six guys with 600 home runs hit Nos. 599 and 600 in the same game. Ruth came closest, hitting them on back-to-back days in St. Louis, in 1931.
A-Rod took nearly two weeks between 498 and 500, and also between 398 and 400.
So this countdown could take a while. But unless the buzz builds, this may be the only time it appears in 3 to watch:
1. Two years ago, when Ken Griffey Jr. reached 600 before a sparse crowd in Miami -- maybe there wasn't that much buzz then, either -- Rodriguez told Tyler Kepner of the New York Times that it's always better to reach big milestones at home. Rodriguez has six chances to get to 600 on this homestand, starting with Angels at Yankees, Tuesday night (7:05 EDT) at Yankee Stadium . At least Rodriguez won't be facing Scott Kazmir, who has held him to four hits -- and no home runs -- in 29 career at-bats. Kazmir went on the disabled list Sunday, and the Angels told reporters that they plan to call up a starter from the minor leagues to pitch Tuesday. A-Rod is also homerless in 35 plate appearances against Wednesday starter Joel Pineiro. He has four homers in 19 at-bats against Jered Weaver, who won't pitch in this series.
2. The fans want to see Strasburg. The scouts, most likely, will instead head for Chicago, to watch potential trade targets Brett Myers and Ted Lilly face off, in Astros at Cubs, Wednesday afternoon (2:20 EDT) at Wrigley Field . In a pitching market that no longer includes Cliff Lee, Myers and Lilly could be two of the more attractive properties.
3. Nothing against Bronson Arroyo, who will be Strasburg's opponent in Nationals at Reds, Wednesday night (7:10 EDT) at Great American Ball Park , but wouldn't it have been more compelling if Strasburg was starting a day earlier, against fellow rookie Mike Leake, or a day later, against Edinson Volquez? Apparently ESPN didn't care, as yet another Strasburg start has been scheduled for national television. Can't say I blame them.
Posted on: July 5, 2010 6:12 pm
NEW YORK -- The Reds now expect Edinson Volquez to rejoin their rotation after the All-Star break.
Manager Dusty Baker and general manager Walt Jocketty said that Volquez will likely make a sixth minor-league rehabilitation start this week with Triple-A Louisville. The Reds had considered activating Volquez to pitch for them this weekend, but decided against it after he pitched just five innings and threw 87 pitches for Louisville on Sunday night.
"He wasn't as sharp as he had been," Baker said.
Volquez, a 17-game winner in 2008, had Tommy John elbow surgery last Aug. 3. He was suspended for 50 games under baseball's drug policy, but served that suspension while on the disabled list.
Posted on: April 20, 2010 3:04 pm
Edited on: April 20, 2010 3:31 pm
Reds pitcher Edinson Volquez has been suspended for 50 games for violating baseball's drug policy.
Volquez is on the disabled list, after Tommy John surgery last Aug. 3, and wasn't expected to be able to pitch until the middle of this season, at the earliest. Since his suspension begins tomorrow, he will serve most or all of it while he remains on the DL. While it will cost him money (about $130,000), as drug suspensions are without pay, it won't actually cost the Reds a player.
The 26-year-old Volquez was a 17-game winner in 2008, after coming to the Reds from the Rangers in a trade for Josh Hamilton. He's talented enough that one scout said this spring that the Reds would have been the favorites to win the National League Central, had Volquez been healthy.
Volquez is the first major league player suspended under the drug policy this season.
Posted on: July 14, 2008 5:29 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2008 7:26 pm
The National League is always up against it in the All-Star Game, anyway. The simple problem, as became clear in the interleague matchups, is that the American League has better players.
The NL needs every edge it can get. Instead, NL manager Clint Hurdle heads into Tuesday night's game at Yankee Stadium with a staff full of tired pitchers.
Arizona's Brandon Webb, who leads the league with 13 wins, threw 108 pitches on Sunday. He said today that he has "a zero percent chance" of pitching in the All-Star game.
"I don't think I'm even available," Webb said.
Cincinnati's Edinson Volquez and San Francisco's Tim Lincecum are first and second in the NL in ERA. Volquez threw 112 pitches Saturday, and Lincecum threw 116 on Sunday. Both said they're available for an inning, but neither could have been considered to start the game.
"It's my regular bullpen day, and I pitched in similar situations in college," Lincecum said. "I always go after my bullpens with the same tenacity I do a game, so it shouldn't be a problem."
"We'll just get (Milwaukee's Ben) Sheets to throw seven innings," Dempster said.
One other NL pitching issue: When Kerry Wood had to pull out of the game with an injury, Hurdle picked Cubs teammate Carlos Marmol to replace him. But it turns out that the Cubs would rather that Marmol, who pitched in 49 games in the first half, doesn't pitch on Tuesday night.
A couple of other things to think about on All-Star Monday:
-- Twins catcher Joe Mauer was talking about Johan Santana today, and he reminded everyone how good Santana has usually been after the All-Star break. It wasn't true last year, when he was 5-7 with a 4.04 ERA, but from 2003-06, Santana went a combined 40-4 with a 2.07 ERA in the second half.
"He really gets going in the second half," Mauer said.
-- In talking about the weak trade market for starting pitchers, one scout pointed to the number of pitchers with great stuff who are being made into relievers. He mentioned All-Stars Jonathan Papelbon and Joakim Soria, both of whom could start and have started at some point in their careers.
Incidentally, Papelbon has no interest at all in becoming a starter.
"I think that was settled a long time ago," he said.
A long time ago? Only if spring training 2007 qualifies as long ago.
Posted on: July 3, 2008 12:49 pm
Edited on: July 3, 2008 1:00 pm
Two scouts who watched the Red Sox get swept at Tropicana Field don't agree.
"If you look at the two clubs out there last night, there's no comparison," the first scout said. "And I'm serious. Tampa Bay has a better ballclub."
"It's not even close," the other scout agreed. "In every facet but the closer."
There are still questions about the Rays, particularly about whether their bullpen can hold up (especially if Troy Percival can't stay healthy). And there are those who wonder whether a young team that hasn't been through a pennant race before can survive through August and September.
"The second half is tougher," the scout admitted. "And they have a younger club. But they've got some talented guys, and talent overrides that."
The Rays are in the market for another bat in the outfield, with Xavier Nady the name most mentioned. They're also in on the C.C. Sabathia sweepstakes, even though their rotation is already the best in the division.
Another weakness is at first base, where one scout said that Carlos Pena "looks just like he did when he was playing for Detroit."
As for the Red Sox, they have to be looking for bullpen help.
"If the guys they have don't get any more consistent, I can't see them winning," the scout said. "Other than (Jonathan) Papelbon, there's no one there to rely on, that I can see."
Could the Braves actually be sellers in this month's trade market?
It's almost hard to imagine, because the Braves of recent years have always been a team that goes for it. And despite being five games under .500, the Braves are only six games behind the first-place Phillies.
But one club that has spoken with the Braves said that Atlanta officials intend to meet in the near future and decide whether or not they have a realistic chance of winning. If not, they'll sell, with Mark Teixeira the biggest and most interesting name available.
The Braves don't believe they have any chance of signing Teixeira long-term, and he's a free agent at the end of this season. Teixeira told reporters in Atlanta that he hopes the Braves don't trade him, but with no chance of keeping him past this year.
"It could happen tomorrow, or it might not happen until the 31st," said one person who speaks regularly with GM Mark Shapiro.
The Royals have told teams that they would at least listen on Zack Greinke, because he's one of the few players they have who could bring a big return. "It's going to take three good pieces to get him, but (GM Dayton Moore) will listen," one official said. . . . The Reds have told teams that only five players are off-limits in trade talks. The five? Edinson Volquez, Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, Johnny Cueto and Edwin Encarnacion.