The Jeet Sheet: Jeter vs. Rangers

July, 28, 2014
Jul 28

Ezra O. Shaw/Getty ImagesDerek Jeter gave the Rangers trouble with his bat, his glove and his hustle.
All season we'll be tracking Derek Jeter as he prepares to play in his final series against each team. Next up on the list is the Texas Rangers, against whom the Yankees start a series on Monday.

Career vs. Rangers
Regular Season
.326 BA
.398 OBP
.513 Slug Pct
194 hits
111 runs scored
24 home runs
90 RBIs
146 games

.302 BA
0 HR
7 Runs Scored
19 Hits
17 Games

By the Numbers
Jeter’s .513 slugging percentage and .912 OPS against the Rangers are his highest such numbers against any American League team. His 24 home runs are tied for second-most, though his rate of home runs per at-bat is also the best against any AL team (other than the Astros, against whom he’s only had 46 at-bats).

Jeter's .326 batting average versus the Rangers is the second-highest all-time against the franchise by any player with at least 575 at-bats.

Jeter had what could be called his best season against an opponent against the Rangers in 1998, hitting .510 (26 for 51) with 13 runs scored, four home runs and 19 RBIs in 11 games. Only one other Yankee has hit at least .500 with 19 RBIs in a season against an opponent -- Joe DiMaggio against the St. Louis Browns in 1936 (.525 batting average, 27 RBIs in 22 games with 52 hits!)

AP Photo/Kathy WillensDerek Jeter's home-run swing was a familiar site to the Rangers.
Jeter has hit .450 or better against the Rangers three times, with the other two instances being 2012 (.483) and 2007 (.458). They’re the only American League team that he’s done that against three times.

Jeter’s .455 batting average against the Rangers in the 1999 ALDS is his highest batting average in a postseason series that the Yankees won. His .111 batting average against them in the 1998 ALDS is the lowest of his postseason career.

Jeter’s first RBI against the Rangers came via a triple on April 12, 1996. The person who scored the run? Current Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

Jeter has never gone more than two regular-season games in a row without a hit against the Rangers. The last time he went two in a row -- 2005.

Jeter’s .500 slugging percentage in Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is his second-best in an American League park, trailing only the now-no-longer Tiger Stadium (.547). He has exactly 100 hits in 70 regular-season games in Rangers Ballpark, a pace that translates to 231 hits over 162 games.

Jeter had a 33-game on-base streak versus the Rangers from 1998-2001. The only shortstop to have a longer streak of reaching base safely against the Rangers was Julio Franco, who posted a 34-game streak from 1983-86.

Jeter's 19 career postseason hits against the Rangers are the most versus the franchise by any player.

The Yankees are 21-1 in regular-season games against the Rangers in which Jeter homers. The only loss was on August 23, 2002.

The Yankees are 91-55 in Jeter’s 146 regular-season games against the Rangers and 11-5 against them in postseason. So over 162 games, he’s 102-60 against them.

They Said It
"Class act. A true professional, has been his whole career. I saw him in the minor leagues, in low A-ball. The guy had the same arm. He wins championships, makes everyone around him better. A heady player, the ultimate example in the ultimate organization.

Last night he hit that double and they put up there that he just passed Lou Gehrig as the all-time doubles leader for the New York Yankees. How old is he? Lou Gehrig and Derek Jeter ...

I don't know if anyone in the Yankees organization when they drafted him that this is where he would be at the end. It just goes to show you, they made one helluva choice. Not only was he a pretty good ball player, but an example for the type of organization they built."
-- Rangers manager Ron Washington

Jeter’s Best Moments
Jeter had arguably his best offensive game in his career against the Rangers on May 6, 1998, going 4 for 6 with a home run, a triple, and a career-high tying five RBI in a 15-13 Yankees win.

On August 11, 2010, Jeter had a game-tying hit in the ninth inning in a 7-6 Yankees win, a game in which the Yankees rallied from a 6-1 deficit.

Trade week in Texas

July, 28, 2014
Jul 28
This is a big week for the Yankees for two reasons:

1. They have a chance to do some damage against two last place teams. First, they face the Rangers again in Texas, and then it is on to Boston.

2. The July 31 trade deadline is this Thursday at 4 p.m. Will they pick up a new right-fielder or another starter by then?

Joe Girardi likes to talk about just winning series, but the Yankees could really use a sweep over the Rangers. The first game on Monday night in Arlington figures to be the toughest. Yu Darvish (9-6, 2.92) is on the mound against David Phelps (5-4, 3.77). After that, the Yankees have the advantage, as Brandon McCarthy (2-0, 1.45) faces Nick Martinez (1-6, 4.73) on Tuesday, and Hiroki Kuroda (7-6, 3.99) takes on Colby Lewis (6-8, 6.23) on Wednesday.

The Yankees don't have much room for error, because they don't appear to be a team that can rip off a big winning streak to move significantly above .500. So they have to find a way to take advantage of the weak clubs on their schedule.

In Texas, they will get an up-close look at Alex Rios. Rios could be a possible trade target for the Yankees. The Rangers had high-level scouts looking at the Yankees' Double-A prospects this week, according to sources. Rios is owed $13.5 million for next year, so Texas probably would need to throw in some cash if they are going to get much of a return in a deal.

Rios, 33, is not a great player. As of Sunday, he had a .756 OPS. While it is not special, it is vastly superior to Ichiro Suzuki's .644 OPS. The Yankees need to add more power in right, because Carlos Beltran does not sound optimistic that he will be able to play the outfield soon. (Joe Girardi, on the other hand, said it is possible that Beltran's right elbow could allow him to be in right by the start of the next homestand on Aug. 4th.)

Meanwhile, the Yankees could use another starter because of the continued uncertainty surrounding the returns of Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda. While the starting staff has been very good since Tanaka has gone out, how much longer can they expect McCarthy, Phelps, Shane Greene and Chris Capuano to excel?

So, by the end of this week, we might know a lot more about how this year might end.

Yanks fan returns lost Red Sox ring

July, 28, 2014
Jul 28

NEW YORK -- A lost Red Sox World Series ring is back on the finger of its owner, thanks to a nifty pickup by an ardent Yankees fan.

Manhattan restaurant owner Luigi Militello could hardly believe it when he found the shiny 2013 championship ring on a restroom sink at his Luke's Bar and Grill on Thursday night.

It was the real thing, with diamonds and sapphires and rubies, set in 14-carat white gold, with the Red Sox emblem, a Boston Strong logo and an image of the team's bearded ballplayers.

"I was like, geez, it's big. Who would leave this here?" Militello told The Associated Press. "I'm a big Yankee fan. What are the chances of this happening?"

Drew Weber had dined at the restaurant earlier; it's one of his favorite spots. He's a New York businessman and also owns the Lowell Spinners, a thriving Red Sox Class A minor league team in Massachusetts.

Big league teams often reward executives throughout their organization with World Series rings. The Red Sox haven't put a value on these pieces of jewelry -- the rings they presented for winning the 2004 crown were worth about $30,000.

Weber said this was the first time he'd worn the ring outside.

"I went looking around my apartment and started having palpitations. Sweat was pouring off my forehead," he told the AP. "I'm looking at my finger and it's not there."

Hoping against hope, Weber called Luke's after midnight. Militello answered the phone and said, yep, he had the ring.

"But this being Yankees-Red Sox, I started razzing him. I told him he wasn't getting it so easily. I was playing with him, a lot," Militello said.

Said Weber: "I was like, 'Who am I dealing with?'"

(Read full post)

Joe Torre: I was made by 'The Boss'

July, 27, 2014
Jul 27

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Before he answered a question at the news conference following the Baseball Hall of Fame's induction ceremony on Sunday, Joe Torre addressed someone he regrettably forgot to thank the way he planned in his speech -- George Steinbrenner.

"I missed mentioning and thanking the most obvious guy in the world when you talk about the Yankees," the former manager said of the late owner. "It was so obvious that I was going to do it, I went right past it."

Torre, who won four world championships at the helm of the Yankees from 1996 to 2007, said he felt "terrible" that he left Steinbrenner out of his speech.

After being fired as manager from the Mets, Braves and Cardinals, Torre's path to the Hall of Fame began with the Yankees.

Steinbrenner tabbed the then 55-year-old in November 1995, and Torre's appreciation for the entire Steinbrenner family is ongoing despite his rocky departure from the team after the 2007 season.

Torre, who compiled a 1,173-767 record as Yankee manager, said neither side knew how to say goodbye.

Returning to Yankee Stadium for a memorial honoring Steinbrenner in September 2010 helped mend the relationship between Torre and the team. On Sunday, Torre wanted to make sure his appreciation for the Steinbrenner family was clear.

"They made my whole professional life," Torre said. "I had a good playing career and all that, but managing the Yankees -- what you set out in baseball to do is get to the World Series. To have the opportunity to do that with George so many times was an incredible feeling."

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Tulo looks more A-Rod than Jeter

July, 27, 2014
Jul 27

NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter was zipping up his travel bag at his locker and preparing to take one of the final road trips of his career when he was asked whether he thought Troy Tulowitzki would make the kind of ideal successor to the New York Yankees shortstop that Tulowitzki fancies himself to be.

Jeter acted like he'd just been served a subpoena.

"I don't know about all that," he said, recoiling from the question. "That's tampering or something. Don't get me involved in any tampering."

Tulowitzki happens to wear No. 2 in Jeter's honor. Tulowitzki also happens to play shortstop for the last-place Colorado Rockies, who happened to be hosting the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday while their injured star was sitting nine rows behind home plate inside Yankee Stadium -- one day after those Colorado Rockies misspelled Tulowitzki's name (they forgot the "T" between the "I" and the "Z") on 15,000 jerseys in a giveaway promotion at Coors Field, of course.

Tulowitzki has made it fairly clear he wants to play Jeter's position, in Jeter's house, in 2015, and by taking in Blue Jays 5, Yankees 4 among 45,062 fellow fans, he all but rented a plane and put it in writing across the Bronx sky.

"Wow," one baseball official said when notified Tulo was in the crowd for Paul O'Neill's bobblehead day. "It's not many times when someone in the stands is better than what is on the field for both teams."

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D-Rob, Dellin have an off day

July, 27, 2014
Jul 27

NEW YORK -- Dellin Betances got a spike caught on the rubber, and it cost the Yankees a lead.

David Robertson just fell asleep for a few seconds, and it helped cost the Yankees a game.

For the first time all season, the two most reliable players on the 2014 Yankees gave up runs in the same game.

As good as Robertson and Betances have been, you can't get on them. Still, for Joe Girardi, after losing two of three to the Blue Jays, this one hurt. The Yankees came back three times to tie the game but never could take the lead.

[+] EnlargeDavid Robertson
Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY SportsDavid Robertson allowed the decisive run in the Yankees 5-4 defeat.
"It's a frustrating loss," Girardi said after the second consecutive win for Toronto in the Bronx after losing 17 straight here.

With two outs in the ninth, Jose Bautista stole second on Robertson.

"You can't let a guy get a walking lead," Girardi said.

Robertson did not disagree.

"I wish I had done a better job of holding Bautista on first," Robertson said. "I just let him slip from my memory there for a second. That is all it took and he was on second.

"To be honest with you, I didn't really think he'd be going. I guess I just gave him an easy time to run. I heard he just took a walking lead. I didn't see him."

Dioner Navarro blooped a single next, and Robertson, in a rare occurrence, did not do his job.

Betances did not fully do his either. In the seventh he did well, cleaning up David Huff's two men on, no-out mess.

In the eighth, with the game tied, Betances walked Colby Rasmus on four pitches to lead off and then moved him all the way to third with an errant throw to first on a pickoff.

"The throwing error is what killed him," Girardi said.

Girardi said that Betances' spike got caught on the rubber.

"I tried to be quick instead of taking my time," Betances said.

Betances then let up a sac fly to Munenori Kawasaki, which gave the Jays a lead. Afterward, Betances, a deserving All-Star as a rookie, seemed down.

"I saw him in there and I said, 'It happens,'" Robertson said. "'Look at me, I didn't have my great stuff today. You can't get down on yourself.' He is going to get plenty of opportunities, and he has electric stuff, one bad outing isn't going to bring him down."

No, it shouldn't, but this was a bad loss for the Yankees, whose playoff chances can probably break either way depending on games like this. It was a little odd to see, the strength of this club not coming through for a day.

"It tells you how good they've been and how important they have been to our success," Girardi said.

Robertson added, "Today just wasn't our day. We have been doing a pretty good job of pitching out of the bullpen. I just didn't have my sharp stuff today and I wasn't able to get it done."

NEW YORK -- Dioner Navarro hit a go-ahead single with two outs in the ninth inning, and the Toronto Blue Jays rallied after wasting three leads to beat the New York Yankees 5-4 Sunday for their first series win in the Bronx in nearly two years.

After snapping a 17-game skid at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, Toronto did not relent in the humidity. Jose Bautista reached on a fielder's choice against David Robertson (1-3) in the ninth, stole second without a throw and scored on Navarro's liner to center field.

Toronto hadn't taken a series against the Yankees in New York since Aug. 27-29, 2012, the last time the Blue Jays had won on the road against the AL East rival. With the win, the Blue Jays left town with a one-game lead over the Yankees for the second AL wild card.

Aaron Sanchez (1-0) gave up Carlos Beltran's tying RBI hit in the eighth. Munenori Kawasaki had put Toronto ahead with a sacrifice fly that followed Dellin Betances' two-base error on a pickoff attempt.

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Rapid Reaction: Blue Jays 5, Yanks 4

July, 27, 2014
Jul 27
NEW YORK -- The Yankees lost two of three in this important series against the Jays. Toronto took sole possession of the second wild card. The Yankees finished the successful homestand 7-3.

Clutch: After falling behind by a run in the top of the eighth, the Yankees got it right back. Brett Gardner led off with a single and moved to second on a Derek Jeter bunt. After Jacoby Ellsbury lined out to left, Carlos Beltran came through and knocked the game-tying single to left off Aaron Sanchez.

More clutch: In the top of the ninth -- right after the Yankees tied it -- Dioner Navarro blooped an RBI single off David Robertson, which proved to be the decisive run.

Bet on, Dellin: With the game tied, Dellin Betances had to clean up David Huff's mess in the seventh. After Huff allowed back-to-back singles, Betances entered and showed why he was an All-Star by escaping the inning without allowing a run or a hit.

McCann can play first: In the seventh, Betances intentionally walked Jose Bautista to load the bases. Next, Melky Cabrera hit a grounder right at McCann. McCann cleanly made the play and then threw home in the dirt. There, Francisco Cervelli made a nice scoop for the forceout.

Or maybe not: In the eighth, Betances and McCann had a little mix-up. After walking leadoff man Colby Rasmus, Betances tried to pick Rasmus off and threw wide. The play looked strange because McCann didn't come close to catching it. It was ruled an error on Betances, as Rasmus moved to third. Rasmus scored on a sac fly from Munenori Kawasaki to give the Jays the eighth inning lead.

Back-to-back: Down two runs in the fifth, Chase Headley and Francisco Cervelli hit back-to-back homers to tie the game. It was Headley's first homer as a Yankee, and according to my Twitter followers, John Sterling's call was, "You can bank on Chase. Headley is deadly." Headley continues to impress in his first week as a Yankee. Cervelli's homer was his first of the year. It just scraped off the glove of the Jays' leaping right-fielder, Cabrera.

Greene's day: Heading into this start, Greene had not allowed a hit in the first inning. Batters were 0-for-19. That changed when Jose Reyes led off with a bunt single. Greene ended up going 5 1/3 innings and allowing three runs, all earned, on eight hits.

OverZelous: In the third, Zelous Wheeler got doubled off first on a popup that second baseman Munenori Kawasaki went into short right to catch.

Tulo in the house: Was the next Yankee shortstop at the stadium on Sunday? We'll see, but Troy Tulowitzki was in the house. He apparently was in town for a doctor's appointment. He was in the Legends Seats and off-limits to the media.

On deck: The Yankees begin their six-game, two-city road trip on Monday in Texas. After three with the Rangers, it is on to Boston next weekend for three with the last-place Red Sox. Here are your pitching matchups against the Rangers:

Monday: David Phelps (5-4, 3.77) vs. Yu Darvish (9-6, 2.92)

Tuesday: Brandon McCarthy (2-0, 1.45) vs. Nick Martinez (1-6, 4.73)

Wednesday: Hiroki Kuroda (7-6, 3.99) vs. Colby Lewis (6-8, 6.23)

Tulo at the Yankee game

July, 27, 2014
Jul 27
Start your speculation now!

Who was sitting in the Legends Seats for the Yankees-Blue Jays game on Sunday? None other than Troy Tulowitzki. Tulowitzki, on the DL, was apparently in town for a doctor's visit. He decided to take in the game and appeared on the YES Network's broadcast. Tulowitzki has already said it would be a dream to replace Derek Jeter as the next great Yankee shortstop.

“No doubt, I think everybody knows that. Everybody wants that perfect story, whoever it may be," Tulowitzki told the New York Post at the All-Star game. "Whether it’s me or somebody else who took over for Derek, no doubt, it makes for a great story.

“But right now it’s just talk until it gets closer to happening in the offseason. I think I’m not going to comment on that further. I think it’s one of those things [where] right now, I’m just about the second half of the season.”

Tulowitzki wears No. 2 because of Jeter. He has a 1.035 OPS, which is much superior to the .649 Jeter began the day with. Tulowitzki, 30 in October, is owed $118 million over the next six seasons.

He has been in the news in recent days because of his current's team's inability to spell his name correctly.

Guards would not let reporters into the Legends seats area to speak with Tulowitzki.

Notes: Teixeira could return in Texas

July, 27, 2014
Jul 27
NEW YORK -- If he continues to make progress with his injured back, Mark Teixeira looks as if he could return to the Yankees during the three-game series that begins in Texas on Monday.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi was non-committal, but with Teixeira starting to swing, he figures to be ready by Wednesday if there are no setbacks.

"I don't know," Girardi said. "I'm going to take day-by-day and see how he feels."

Teixeira has missed the past seven games, including Sunday. Girardi had said if Teixeira were going to be out 12 games or more they would like retroactively DL him. With Teixeira out, the Yankees have essentially played with a 24-man roster.

Beltran in right?: Carlos Beltran could play in the outfield again by the time the Yankees return home Aug. 4 against the Tigers, Girardi said. Beltran has been limited to DH-only duties since he came back from bone spurs in his right elbow. He is in the midst of a throwing program to see if he is rid of any pain.

If Beltran can play the outfield again, it will open up the DH spot for Girardi to give his other regulars some half days off.
NEW YORK -- Here is the Yankees' lineup against lefty J.A. Happ.

Brett Gardner, LF
Derek Jeter, SS
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Carlos Beltran, DH
Brian McCann, 1B
Chase Headley, 3B
Francisco Cervelli, C
Zelous Wheeler, RF
Brendan Ryan, 2B

Shane Greene, P

McCann at first comes back to bite Yanks

July, 26, 2014
Jul 26
NEW YORK -- The issue Saturday wasn't whether Brian McCann is comfortable in New York. He may be, he may not be, but that wasn't the question after the New York Yankees' 6-4 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Whatever McCann thinks of New York, he didn't come here to play first base. He was willing to go there when the Yankees asked, willing to help out on a team that constructed a roster with an injury-prone starter (Mark Teixeira) and no other true first baseman.

[+] EnlargeBrian McCann
AP Photo/Bill KostrounBrian McCann homered on Saturday, but made big mistakes in the field.
And this week, with Teixeira nursing what the Yankees still call a mild lat strain (and with Kelly Johnson on the disabled list), the Yankees have fielded a lineup with Francisco Cervelli catching and with McCann playing more first base than he had ever played in his life.

For four days, it wasn't a problem. In fact, it may have been a help, as Cervelli hit, McCann did fine at first and the Yankees won four straight.

But if you keep playing players out of position, you're also going to get games like Saturday's, games where the key moments are going to find McCann and leave him and the Yankees badly exposed.

Sure enough, with the score tied in the seventh inning, the game found McCann. It wasn't pretty, and by the end of the day, the Yanks' four-game winning streak (and their 17-game home winning streak over the Blue Jays) was over.

Toronto had runners at second and third with nobody out, but when Dioner Navarro hit a ground ball to McCann, the Blue Jays were ready to hand the Yankees a gift. Melky Cabrera broke off third base and stopped, and when he tried to go back to the bag, he realized that Jose Bautista (the runner at second) was already on his way there.

McCann froze. He wasn't sure whether to throw to third or to run at Bautista or to simply tag the bag and ensure an out by retiring Navarro. So he did nothing. Everyone was safe, and before the inning ended, Cabrera would score the run that put the Blue Jays ahead for good.

"It's the first time I've seen it from that angle," said McCann, who before Saturday had started all of six professional games at first base (all this season). "I wish I could have slowed the game down. The game sped up on me, and I couldn't make the play."

He couldn't, and he didn't. And to make things worse, when Dan Johnson hit a one-out looper that fell in front of second baseman Brian Roberts, McCann made contact with Roberts as Roberts was trying to field the ball. It's hard to know for sure whether McCann prevented Roberts from making a play and throwing the ball home to cut off the run (Roberts said he wasn't sure), but it was easy to see that, once again, an inexperienced first baseman was in the wrong spot and cost the Yankees.

"He's extremely inexperienced over there," manager Joe Girardi admitted. "Sometimes you have to put players at different positions, and you live with the results. There could be a play they've never seen before."

This was a choice the Yankees made, first when they constructed this roster and then when they decided to wait what will end up being a full week with Teixeira on the active roster but unable to play. Teixeira, out since last Sunday, is scheduled to try to swing a bat Sunday morning, but his return to the lineup remains uncertain.

In the meantime, McCann is a first baseman. It keeps his bat in the lineup as well as Cervelli's (McCann hit a two-run homer Saturday, and Cervelli reached base three times), but it risks what happened in the seventh inning.

And whatever McCann was feeling, watching him play first base in that inning was certainly uncomfortable.

NEW YORK -- Dan Johnson drove in four runs with a go-ahead infield hit and a three-run homer, helping the Toronto Blue Jays end their 17-game losing streak at Yankee Stadium with a 6-4 victory over New York on Saturday.

Brian McCann's two-run homer put the Yankees ahead in the fourth, but Johnson drove in the tiebreaking run in the seventh with a 70-foot bloop that fell in front of second baseman Brian Roberts, who didn't charge the ball.

Johnson's ninth-inning drive off Jeff Francis, which extended the lead to 6-2, was his first homer since hitting three for the Chicago White Sox at Cleveland on Oct. 3, 2012. Johnson also famously saved Tampa Bay on the final night of the 2011 regular season with a tying two-run, two-strike, ninth-inning homer off the Yankees' Corey Wade.

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Masahiro Tanaka
12 2.51 135 129
BAJ. Ellsbury .282
HRM. Teixeira 17
RBIM. Teixeira 48
RB. Gardner 62
OPSB. Gardner .768
ERAM. Tanaka 2.51
SOM. Tanaka 135