Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Jeter Gives the Yankees a Desperate Spark

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There are some things in sports that you just cannot explain. I usually try to back up any opinion I have with facts, stats and reasons. I very much try to stay away from overblown narratives and clich├ęs. However, Derek Jeter is just a different case. There are intangibles that he brings to the table that just cannot be quantified in numbers and he proved it again on Sunday.

“He’s a movie, is what he is,” Joe Girardi told John Harper of the New York Daily News. “When you think about his 3,000th hit, how he did that, and what he did today:
“We hadn't hit a home run since the All-Star break, we hadn't hit a right-handed home run in months. For him to come out and do that in his first AB… he’s a movie.”

Girardi captured the moment perfectly in that quote. We have seen this many times from Jeter before, as his list of dramatic moments runs very deep. His 2000 World Series MVP vs. the Mets, his amazing backhanded flip to nail Jeremy Giambi at the plate in the 2001 ALDS, his dramatic game-winning home run of Byung-Hyun Kim in Game 4 of the 2001 World Series, his amazing dive into the stands in 2004 against Boston and his 3,000th hit being a home run against David Price top the list. Sunday’s first inning home run against Matt Moore can now be added to that impressive list.

The Yankees have been desperate for any kind of spark all season. This season has been as listless as any season in recent memory. There has been no buzz around Yankee Stadium or the Yankees all season.

Jeter changed all of that Sunday. In front of a packed house to honor another great Yankee Hideki Matsui, he hit the first pitch he saw over the right field fence with his patented Jeterian swing. It was more than just a first inning solo home run. It was the first time all season that I felt like I was watching the Yankees again. Even when the Yankees were doing well with a bunch of no-name players it still didn't feel right. Something was missing.

After Jeter broke his ankle in the playoffs vs. Detroit, re-aggravated that injury in spring training, and hurt his quad in just his first game back, obviously one had to wonder whether we would see these moments again from Jeter. Of course, this is not the first time Jeter has been counted out in his career, and he has always had an answer.

Jeter and Alfonso Soriano could have sparked a season altering win on Sunday. If the Yankees miraculously make the playoffs this year everybody will be looking back on Sunday as the turning point. Unfortunately, it was just one game, and the Yankees still have many issues.

Obviously, the horrid Yankees offense has been a problem all year. The Yankees will be counting on Jeter, Soriano, Curtis Granderson and maybe another trade deadline acquisition to change that. If those potential four new additions can stay in the lineup and be productive the Yankees might actually have a decent offense. However, the starting pitching that was always supposed to be a given is not that anymore.

CC Sabathia is stuck in the worst stretch in his career, as he had a 5.11 ERA in June and a 6.60 ERA in July. If that doesn't change the Yankees aren’t going anywhere. Phil Hughes cannot pitch at Yankees Stadium (6.02 home ERA). Also, Andy Pettitte has started to show his age this year. So, that leaves Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova as the only two reliable starters right now. That isn't enough with this offense.

There is no reason that the Yankees should make the playoffs this year. If Jeter can lead the charge and take this team to the postseason it would be one of the greatest accomplishments of his illustrious career. The odds are stacked against him, but that is just the way Jeter likes it. With Jeter back in the fold, a movie that started out as bleak as the 2013 Yankees season now has a glimmer of hope for a happy ending.

3 comments:

  1. I'd like to see the Yanks trade for Young and Pence before Wednesday afternoon. Young is another good RH bat who can play first or third while Pence would help us in the outfield, and the Yanks could move Soriano to DH. A line-up of Gardner, Jeter, Cano, Soriano, Pence, Young, Overbay, Stewart , and Ichiro would be a good line-up until Grandy gets back. I would also try Nunez at third sometimes and play Young at first agains't leftys.

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  2. Nunez is the SS or RH DH. He is a disaster at 3rd base.

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  3. If the Yankees really want to make a bold and impact move and give the Angels a call about Kendrick, not Callaspo. Move Kendrick over to 3B the rest of the year and then you have insurance for Cano next year or you could keep him at third.

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