This, from Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York, is not something you’d think that someone who has spent many years covering spring training would say, but he says it anyway:
Now that we’ve been through the starting rotation once, it is time to turn our attention to more pressing matters. As in Derek Jeter.
On Wednesday, Jeter went hitless in two at-bats to drop his spring training average to .125. He has one hit in eight at-bats so far and has hit the ball on the ground in seven of those eight ABs (the other was a strikeout). He couldn’t make his patented jump throw on a play that might have saved Hiroki Kuroda a run, and later he booted a routine grounder.
The Yankees have played five game. Jeter has not played in all of them and even when he has played, he’s played only briefly. As Matthews says, it’s been eight (8)(VIII) at bats. Which is two real games’ worth. Sometimes not even two games’ worth.
Yes, someday Derek Jeter is not going to be able to play at a major league level any longer. But (a) we won’t know about it in an eight at-bat sample size; and (b) no one will get extra credit for noting it early like this.
Spring training people. Stats, especially for veterans who aren’t fighting for jobs, matter not.
Angels DH Albert Pujols passed Mark McGwire for sole possession of 10th place on baseball’s all-time home run leaderboard, slugging his 584th career home run in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Blue Jays.
Mike Trout had already slugged a solo home run off of Jays starter Marco Estrada to bring Pujols to the dish. Pujols jumped on an 0-1 cut fastball, sending it out to left-center field, clearing the fence by a few feet.
Pujols, who finished 4-for-4 with the homer and an RBI double, is batting .257/.321/.441 with 24 home runs and 99 RBI on the year. His next target on the home run leaderboard is Frank Robinson at 586.
Orioles closer Zach Britton had appeared in a major league record 43 consecutive games without allowing an earned run, spanning May 5 to August 22. That streak came to an end on Wednesday evening against the Nationals.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the ninth inning holding a 10-3 lead, but reliever Parker Bridwell immediately found himself in hot water. He yielded back-to-back singles to Danny Espinosa and Clint Robinson. He was able to strike out Trea Turner, but walked Jayson Werth to load the bases. Daniel Murphy then crushed his first career grand slam to make it a 10-7 game. That prompted manager Buck Showalter to bring in Britton.
Britton, too, was knocked around. He served up a single to Bryce Harper, followed by a double to Anthony Rendon that scored Harper, pushing the score to 10-8 and ending Britton’s streak. Wilson Ramos reached on a fielder’s choice back to Britton, but the lefty finally finished the game by getting Ryan Zimmerman to ground into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Britton now holds a nice 0.69 ERA with 38 saves and a 61/16 K/BB ratio in 52 innings of work this season.