First Pitch: Will 38-year-old Jeter hit .300?

June, 26, 2012
Today is Derek Jeter's 38th birthday so it seems like as good a time as any to take some inventory on the Captain's season so far.

Considering where Jeter was on his 37th birthday, this has been a Renaissance year. Nearly halfway through the season, he is leading the American League in hits with 93. All-time, he is three hits shy of tying Cal Ripken Jr. for 13th with 3,184 hits.

However, quietly, he has been slumping for an extended period. Earlier in the season, there was a thought Jeter might hit .400. Now, the question is: Will he even end up at .300? In his first 26 games, Jeter had 46 hits. In his 44 games prior to last night, he had 46 hits.

With a 1-for-4 Monday night, he dropped to .304.

He hasn't been the same player since early May. In Jeter's first 26 games of the season, he hit .404 (46-for-114) with five homers and 15 RBIs. In his last 45 games Jeter has batted .245 (47-for-192) with two homers and 10 RBIs.

This month, he is failing to elevate the ball, hitting grounders 70 percent of the time (56 grounders, 11 flies). He typically hits a lot of balls on the ground, but is usually in the 60 percent range.

A year ago on this day, Jeter was stuck on the DL, awaiting 3,000 and reworking his swing. With a .260 average and 68 hits, he looked lost. On his magical DJ3K, 5-for-5 day, he began to hit again, finishing at .338 from July 9th on. It lasted through early May of this season. So will he hit .300?

Before the year, I predicted he would finish at .287. I'll stick with that.

UP NOW: In the blog, we have Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher laughing it up on Hiroki Kuorda's strong night.

ON DECK: Tonight's pitching matchup is Phil Hughes (7-6, 4.94) vs. Justin Masterson (4-6, 3.98). A little bit later, Mark Simon will have one of his patented What2Watch4's. It will feature more numbers about the birthday boy. We will be on the blog all day.

IN THE HOLE: The superstar tag team of Wally Matthews and Johnette Howard will have you covered at the Stadium.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Will Jeter hit .300 or not?
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »



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Masahiro Tanaka
13 2.77 141 136
BAJ. Ellsbury .271
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146