Thursday, July 11, 2013

Yank Bats Break Out to Back Up Nova, Jeter Returns Today

In their last 4 games -- the first of which they won -- the Yankees had scored 8 runs.

Last night, against the Kansas City Royals, they matched that all in one night.

1st inning: Brett Gardner led off with a walk.  Ichiro Suzuki singled.  Robinson Cano grounded out to move them over.  With Travis Hafner up, Royal starter Wade Davis threw a wild pitch, so wild that both runners tried to score.  Gardner made it, Ichiro didn't, and was thrown out.  One-nil to the Pinstripe Boys.

3rd inning: Luis Cruz led off with a single.  Chris Stewart popped up for the 1st out.  Gardner was hit by a pitch.  Ichiro flew out to deep center, allowing Cruz to get to 3rd.  Cano hit one out, his 21st of the season.  4-0 Yankees.

6th inning: Cano leads off with a single and steals 2nd.  That steal is wasted, as Vernon Wells hits an infield single that can't score him.  Zoilo Almonte draws a walk to load the bases with nobody out.

Lyle Overbay comes to the plate.  Uh-oh, major RISPfail coming up here, right?

Wrong: Overbay hit it down the left field line, just fair.  Cliche alert: Call the deli, it's a grand salami! The home run was Overbay's 11th.

The Yankees stranded 2 more runners in the inning, a single by Eduardo Nunez and a another HBP by Gardner.  As our old friend Phil Rizzuto would say, "But the damage is done, I tell ya, Bill White, it's unbelievable." 8-0 Yankees.

Ivan Nova put up his second straight strong start since being restored to the rotation.  He went 8 innings, allowing 1 run (and that in the 8th, when it was too late and he was already tiring), 5 hits, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts.  Joba Chamberlain was trusted with a 7-run lead in the 9th, and except for a meaningless single, he was fine.

Yankees 8, Royals 1.  WP: Nova (4-2).  No save.  LP: Davis (4-8).

The series concludes this afternoon, with Andy Pettitte going against Ervin Santana, once the ace of the Whatever They Were Calling Themselves That Season Angels of Anaheim.

Weather permitting, of course.  At the moment, a rain delay or rainout is very possible.

*

If the game is played, Derek Jeter will return from the Disabled List.  Brian Cashman figured, If his last rehab game in Scranton, 128 miles northwest of Yankee Stadium, and thus likely to have the same weather, could be rained out, then Jeter could just as easily be rained out at home.

So, in the Yankees' next game, whenever that is, Jeter will come to bat -- probably as the designated hitter before he takes the field as a shortstop again -- and begin his 19th season with the Yankees.

I haven't seen this mentioned, but that would tie a club record.  On Opening Day, Mariano Rivera became the first man to play in a 19th season for the Yankees.  This broke the longstanding club record of 18 seasons, held by Mickey Mantle.

Mantle, whose career was loaded with achievements, was fond of saying, "In spite of my injuries, I played in more games as a Yankee than anybody.  Nobody knows that." He was right: He played in 2,401 games, and hardly anybody ever realized it, because he missed so much time due to injuries, especially from 1962 onward.  Lou Gehrig played in 2,164, the last 2,130 in a row, from 1925 to 1939.  But Mantle was the Yankee record-holder for most games played from 1966 to 2011.

When Jeter became the all-time Yankee leader in hits, surpassing Gehrig's 2,721, it was a big deal.  When he got his 3,000th hit, it was a huge deal.  When he played in his 2,402nd game as a Yankee, I saw no notice of it.  I didn't even notice it.  It had occurred to me that he would surpass Mantle one day, but when it actually did happen, I didn't notice it.

It was on August 28, 2011, against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards -- not a home game, notably -- and despite a fine pitching effort from Boone Logan, the Yankees lost, 2-0, zipped by Zach Britton.  The Yankees only got 5 hits, none of them by Jeter: 3 by Mark Teixeira, and 1 each by Andruw Jones and Francisco Cervelli.  (According to Baseball Reference, there was a 22-MPH wind blowing in from center field, rendering the Baltimore bandbox a pitcher's park.) Attendance was 28,751, about average for the Orioles at the time, probably a lot of them Yankee Fans, but probably only a tiny fraction of them knowing that it was DJ2402 Night.

Jeter's next game will be his 2,586th, all in a Yankee uniform.  (That's regular season games only.) There are currently 39 players who have played more Major League Baseball games than Jeter, led by Pete Rose with 3,562.  But more games for one team?

1. Carl Yastrzemski, Boston Red Sox, 3,308
2. Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers, 3,034
3. Stan Musial, St. Louis Cardinals, 3,026
4. Cal Ripken, Baltimore Orioles, 3,001
5. Brooks Robinson, Baltimore Orioles, 2,896
6. Robin Yount, Milwaukee Brewers, 2,856
7. Craig Biggio, Houston Astros, 2,850
8. Al Kaline, Detroit Tigers, 2,834
9. Mel Ott, New York Giants, 2,730
10. Pete Rose, Cincinnati Reds, 2,722
11. George Brett, Kansas City Royals, 2,707
12. Derek Jeter, New York Yankees, 2,585

If you count moved franchises, Hank Aaron ranks 2nd, having played 3,076 games for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves.  And Willie Mays would be 8th, having played 2,857 for the New York/San Francisco Giants.  So Derek would be 14th.  Honus Wagner doesn't quite count: He played 2,433 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates, plus 361 before that for the Louisville Colonels, who were folded into the Pirates for the 1900 season.

And if you count what English soccer calls "one-club men," then Jeter moves up to 11th, as Cobb played the last 2 seasons of his career with the Philadelphia Athletics, and Rose played 5 years with the Philadelphia Phillies and a year and a half with the Montreal Expos.

Jeter is also the active leader in games played.  Next-best? Surprise: The oft-missing (and oft-seems-to-be-missing-even-when-he's-in-the-lineup) Alex Rodriguez, with 2,524.  Next up, Manny Ramirez with 2,302.  Other active players with at least 2,000 appearances are Paul Konerko, Adrian Beltre, Jason Giambi, Todd Helton, Miguel Tejada, Torii Hunter and Raul Ibanez.

Helton is the next-best one-club man, at 2,186.  Yes, Tejada has played this season, for the Royals, after missing all of last season.  So did Manny, who just signed with the Texas Rangers and has already played 4 games for their Triple-A team outside Austin.

Carlos Beltran's next game will be his 2,000th, and Ichiro is just 4 games short of the milestone.  Keeping in mind that he also played 1,347 in Japan, which means he'd be threatening Rose's record if we counted Japan's leagues as "major." (If we did, his 1,434 hits in Japan plus his 2,690 in America would give him 4,124, putting him a season away from breaking Rose's record of 4,256.)

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