Derek Jeter’s 2014 season has been one giant farewell tour. Jeter, a 20-year veteran and a slam-dunk Hall of Famer, has been greeted with gifts and standing ovations as a visiting player at nearly every ballpark in which he’s played this season. That includes Tropicana Field, home of the division rival Rays.
The Rays lost 3-2 to the Yankees on Saturday night, thanks to Derek Jeter’s ninth-inning, tie-breaking RBI single. Rays manager Joe Maddon wasn’t thrilled at the amount of applause that Jeter received on his team’s home turf. Via MLB.com’s Bill Chastain and David Adler:
“It’s great, it’s great that it’s sold out, I understand that people like Derek Jeter — but you’ve got to come out and root for the Rays, too, you understand?” the Rays manager said after the game. “I mean, I totally appreciate what’s going on, but I’m not gonna sit here and defend all of that noise in the Yankees’ favor in our ballpark. I’m not gonna defend that. So if you’re gonna come out, root for the Rays. We’d appreciate that.”
Jeter added that the contest felt “almost like a home game”. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, “I’m not so sure I’ve heard his name chanted that loud at an opposing stadium this year.”
The Yankees secured a series win with a 4-2 victory over the Rays on Sunday afternoon. The 63-59 Yankees sit seven games behind the first-place Orioles, while the 61-63 Rays are 10 games out of first place.
I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.
Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.
This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.
Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.