First Pitch: Derek Jeter and his chase of Rose


When you think about the implausibility of 4,000 hits and how long Derek Jeter could play, it is probably important to consider how he continues to hit against lefties. Jeter is batting .308 overall this season, but .371 against lefties. Against righties, he is at .281.

In Jeter's career, the splits are not as drastic as they are this season. Against righties, Jeter is at .304 in 7,699 at-bats, while vs. lefties he is a .337 batter in 2,585 at-bats.

The idea of 4,000 hits or catching Pete Rose's 4,256 is impossible to predict because there are so many unknowns. A little more than a year ago, Jeter looked like he might be done. In spring training of 2011, his actions showed his own concern after a .270 season, as Jeter unsuccessfully tried to change his stance.

Since last July, as you know, Jeter has been back. He is not better than ever, but against lefties he can compare to his best seasons in the majors. In 2000 and 2009, he hit .395 against lefties. He has hit .370 or better against letfties four times in the past 11 years.

Jeter, 38, really has no interest in retiring and could stick around awhile because he has a lot of room for regression against lefties, while still being a prolific singles hitter.

All this makes you wonder if maybe 4,000 could happen and perhaps reaching Rose's mark is not totally out of the question. Jeter is at 3,216 hits. On July 29, 1979, when Rose was 38, he had 3,283 hits. Rose's average that day was .315. Jeter's average today is .308.

On Sunday night, the Red Sox start lefty Felix Doubrant.

UP NOW: Wallace Matthews on Mark Teixeira vs. Vincente Padilla.

ON DECK Tonight's Sunday night matchup on ESPN is Hiroki Kuroda (10-7, 3.34) vs. Felix Doubrant (10-5, 4.54 ERA).

IN THE HOLE: Ian O'Connor, Matt Ehalt and I will be at the Stadium tonight.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Will Jeter catch Rose?