"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

I’m Derek Jeter, and You’re Not

Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Let’s do this backwards.  The Yankees beat the Astros 9-3 on Saturday afternoon.  Saturday was a busy day, what with my daughter’s volleyball game in the morning and a museum trip in the afternoon, so I had to TiVo the game for later, as I often do.  I always try to avoid the score, which isn’t usually difficult considering that I’m in California, not New York City, but it didn’t work today.

Someone put the TV on when we got back from volleyball, and even though I was in the kitchen, I still heard Michael Kay talking about a 6-2 Yankee lead.  And when we stopped for lunch after the museum, our table was facing a giant television tuned to ESPNews, which cycled through the highlights of the win twice during our meal.  No biggie.

As it turns out, it’s incredibly relaxing to sit down and watch a game when you know good things are going to happen.  So while you were all worrying about Javier Vazquez, I sat down at about 10:oo PM California time with supreme confidence in him, and he didn’t disappoint.  Sure, he gave up 852 feet of home runs (to Hunter Pence in the 2nd and Carlos Lee in the 6th), but aside from that Vazquez was good enough — and has been good enough — that A.J. Burnett is starting to look an awful lot like a long reliever come October.

Let’s look at some numbers.  Since being skipped in the rotation back in early May, Vazquez has started six times and produced this stat line: 39.2 IP, 25 H, 13 R, 37 K, 12 BB, 2.95 ERA, 0.93 WHIP.  (This doesn’t include his relief appearance against Boston.)  I know what you’re thinking — he’s been doing this against patsies, and his one bad outing came against the best team he faced last month, the Minnesota Twins.  You’re free to think that.  All I know is that I trust him an awful lot more than Burnett at this point.

But back to the game.  Derek Jeter led off the game with a big home run to left (his 24th lead-off home run, tying Rickey Henderson atop the Yankee list), and after the Astros took the lead back with single runs in the second and third, the Bombers answered back with five runs in the third, highlighted by Jorge Posada’s opposite field grand slam into the bleachers in right.  Much has been made of Posada’s dislike of his current DH role, and some have cited it as a possible reason for his recent struggles, but he looked comfortable enough on Saturday.

Posada’s home run was a milestone of sorts, the 250th of his career, which prompted the obligatory graphic listing the top totals in Yankee history.  Posada sits tied with Graig Nettles at #7, soon to be passed by Alex Rodríguez, who’s four behind in the ninth spot.  What’s surprizing about the list, though, is that Jeter is in tenth place.  He hit his second home run of the game in the sixth, a three-run shot to right, bringing his career total to a respectable 232.  Also of note, Jeter now has 3,001 career base hits — but only if you count the 175 he’s gotten in the postseason.  With 2,826 hits, the Captain is bearing down on hallowed ground.

Finally, a quick look at the team in general.  When I wrote my recap of the pork chop game back in late May, I pointed out that the Yankees were about to start a sixteen-game stretch against a group of mediocre teams.  In my head (but not in print), I was hoping for twelve wins out of those sixteen.  As it stands now, with only Sunday’s game remaining from those sixteen, the Yanks have won eleven of fifteen and sliced their deficit in the East from 4.5 games to only one.  Wouldn’t it be cool if they got that extra win on Sunday and pulled into a tie for the lead?  We can only hope…

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1 Mattpat11   ~  Jun 13, 2010 7:23 am

Is it wrong that I heard that Jeter tied Rickey for most least off homers in Yankee history and rather think of Jeter's accomplishment, I was thinking that Rickey might somehow be *underrated*? 24 leadoff homers in less than five years with the team (really, four years worth of games) Damn.

He's one of the few guys that I really, really, wish I could have seen when he was in his prime.

But yeah, that Derek is okay too.

2 Mattpat11   ~  Jun 13, 2010 7:25 am

*most lead off, obviously.

3 monkeypants   ~  Jun 13, 2010 10:03 am

[1] I did him in his prime. He was awesome. 1985 will always be my formative baseball season. Not the first that I remember, but the first of my 'baseball adolescence' so to speak. That year I got to see my favorite player growing up, Mattingly, enjoy his finest season alongside two greats, a HOFer and an all time great, also in their prime: Winfield and Rickey. I'm sure I didn't fully appreciate just how good Henderson was then, but I did know he was amazing.

4 cult of basebaal   ~  Jun 13, 2010 10:04 am

But ... but ... whattabout Thames?!?!?


Let the Huffman era begin!

Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher DH
Jorge Posada C
Brett Gardner LF
Chad Huffman RF
Ramiro Pena 3B

5 Diane Firstman   ~  Jun 13, 2010 10:06 am


sniff ... sniff .... no Brains :-(

I'll be in Section 310 today, with my "29" jersey on, hoping for a Frankie PH/defensive replacement opportunity.

6 monkeypants   ~  Jun 13, 2010 10:14 am

Can Lance Berkman play any OF?

7 Chyll Will   ~  Jun 13, 2010 10:14 am

Who Huffman?

[3] Agreed. My oldest sister was enamored with Ricky and his swagger and his snatch-catch. I was aware that people either loved him to death or hated his guts. I was really sore when Ricky was traded and boycotted the rest of the season; I read later in Winfield's biography that Ricky was practically blindsided by the trade, even though many assumed that he was disgruntled, so he Cadillacked it and used his "hammy" as an excuse. Up there with some of the worst trades they made that decade, especially since he went on to be productive and make history with the team he started off with.

8 cult of basebaal   ~  Jun 13, 2010 10:17 am

[4] Oh and because I was overwhelmed with Huffmania and forgot to mention it ... WELCOME BACK JORGE, I MISSED YOU!!!*

*now PLEASE stay healthy!

9 monkeypants   ~  Jun 13, 2010 10:19 am

[6]by that I mean, can he play OF no worse than Thames?

10 Diane Firstman   ~  Jun 13, 2010 10:20 am

Huffman-Koos? No ... Huffman-Hughes! :-)

11 cult of basebaal   ~  Jun 13, 2010 10:25 am

[9] Doesn't look like he's played the OF since 2007 AND he's had serious knee problems this year, so I'm going to go with No.

12 monkeypants   ~  Jun 13, 2010 10:30 am

[7] is Huffman the journeyman OF who had the great spring for the Yanks and was the last guy cut?

13 monkeypants   ~  Jun 13, 2010 10:32 am

[11] I was only half serious. If the Yankees could land a decent dh option, then they more afford to carry a light hitting BUOF, unless one of the starters were to go down for an extended period.

14 cult of basebaal   ~  Jun 13, 2010 10:37 am

[12] No, that was ... well, I can't remember his name, (Weber maybe?) but he didn't hit at SWB and was cut a while ago ...

15 monkeypants   ~  Jun 13, 2010 10:46 am

[14] ah, I see. I guess I missed a few things when I was away for a month! Too bad about the journeyman...would have made a nice story.

16 cult of basebaal   ~  Jun 13, 2010 10:49 am

[15] Yes, but now we have a chance at HUFFMANIA!!!

Not sure about the story, but it's a better SLOGAN!

17 Alex Belth   ~  Jun 13, 2010 11:03 am

Huffman Koos. D, you are the SHIT.

18 seamus   ~  Jun 13, 2010 11:11 am

uh, why not use Russo in the OF?

19 Chyll Will   ~  Jun 13, 2010 11:19 am

[12] I thought the same thing for an instant, but that was (something) Hoffman...

20 cult of basebaal   ~  Jun 13, 2010 11:36 am

[19] It was Jon Weber. Hit .452 this spring.

21 Raf   ~  Jun 13, 2010 11:46 am

[7] Rickey has said himself that he was blindsided by the trade; they were supposedly very close to a contract extension when he was traded. Just as well, I'm pretty sure he would've been miserable here in 1990.

The 1989 ALCS was Rickey at his best, I remember how he drove the Jays nuts running wild on the bases, and his antics drove them crazy as well. He got a bad rap in 87 after the issue with the torn hammy, which was unfortunate.

22 monkeypants   ~  Jun 13, 2010 12:10 pm

[19] I think Hoffman was the rule 5 guy they picked up then released back to the Dodgers. He was a sort of Gardner clone, IIRC.

[18] Russo or not, with Thames on the DL they were right to call up another position player rather than go with a 13th pitcher.

Actually, with so many players banged up and the starters going deep (except when they are pulled after 95 pitches), I would think about going with 14 position players and 11 pitchers, at least for a few days. Then again, I would prefer to do that for the whole season, but that's just me.

23 Raf   ~  Jun 13, 2010 12:18 pm

Jamie Hoffmann was the Rule 5 pick, Chad Huffman was claimed off waivers from the Padres.

[18] I don't know why Russo isn't starting @ 3b over Pena. Given Girardi's machinations, he probably wanted to keep Russo on the bench for whatever reason. At any rate, they needed another position player for a little more flexibility on the bench.

24 seamus   ~  Jun 13, 2010 12:22 pm

[22] [23] yeah i was specifically wondering about Russo not starting. I understand the need for a replacement for Thames on the roster obviously.

25 The Hawk   ~  Jun 13, 2010 12:33 pm

AJ as a long reliever seems a bit of a stretch at this juncture.

26 monkeypants   ~  Jun 13, 2010 12:43 pm

[24] Russo's not really an OF, though. Maybe the thinking is that he's an OK option as the 5th OF/BUIF, but with Thames out for a long time it's better to go with (and start) a "real" OF.

[23] I do agree that it's better to start Russo over Peña at 3B. But Girardi seems to love Peña. Also, the bench is soooo weak-hitting right now (if A-Rod is not available), maybe he's thinking that he should "save" Russo if he needs to PH later. Then again, the only person he would PH for is Peña.

Also, if your most potent bat off the bench is Russo...

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver