Sep
09

Swisher’s walk-off blast ends homestand on high note

By

On the heels of three rather ugly, often unwatchably bad losses, the Yankees showed up to the park on Wednesday afternoon with a chance to turn things around and avoid a sweep at the hands of the lowly Orioles. Things certainly didn’t look good for the first, oh eight-and-a-half innings or so, but one swing by Nick Swisher was enough to erase all the frustration of the game and really the series.

Happy Swish is happy. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Biggest Hit: Swish Makes Up For It All

The 2009 season spoiled us all. Not a homestand went by last year that the Yanks’ didn’t win at least one game thanks to a walk-off homer/hit/dropped pop-up, but so far this season they’ve only enjoyed four such wins. Marcus Thames was responsible for the first two, Swisher the third and now the fourth.

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Down 2-1 against Orioles’ closer Koji Uehara, Alex Rodriguez led off the bottom of the ninth with a solid single to rightfield, the fourth time he hit the ball hard in as many trips to the plate. He was immediately pinch run for by Eduardo Nunez, but Robbie Cano flew out to deep center for the first out of the inning to end his day. Swish, already 1-for-3 and still noticeably favoring his sore left knee, worked himself into a hitter-friendly 2-0 count by taking two straight fastballs off the outside corner. He took the third pitch, just not for a ball. He took the pitch and turned it around towards left-centerfield. Nunez was running on contact, so even if the ball landed in the gap, Swish’s hit likely would’ve tied things up. He did one better though, as the ball carried up and over the wall and into the visitor’s bullpen for a walk-off two-run homer.

The Yanks haven’t had many huge WPA swings this season, but Swish’s homer ranks among the largest. It accounted for 77.3% of the win, a win the team sorely needed.

Biggest Out(s): Nova Gets Wigginton & Izturis

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Things started off very well for Ivan Nova, but the O’s started to get to him the second and third time through the order. Matt Wieters hit a two-run opposite field homer on a 3-0 count two batters into the fifth inning, but Baltimore’s threat didn’t end there. Brian Roberts – 6-for-14 in the series – doubled to right with two outs before Nick Markakis was intentionally walked. Nova escaped the jam by striking out Ty Wigginton on four pitches, three of which were swings and misses on curveballs. Wiggy just couldn’t lay off it.

Things again got a little hairy in the very next inning, when Adam Jones reached base on an 0-2 single with two outs and no one on. Weary of Wieters following the homer, Nova seemed to pitch around the catcher and put him on with a walk. Cesar Izturis, he of the .249 wOBA, worked a 3-0 count before Nova managed to run it back full. The seventh pitch of the encounter yielded a line drive, thankfully right at a slightly leaping Derek Jeter. The O’s had failed in their second chance in as many innings to tack on some insurance runs, and sure enough it came back to bite them.

Rallies For Nothing

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Like the Orioles, the Yanks had themselves plenty of opportunities to get back in this game before Swish did the honors in the ninth. Lance Berkman led off the fifth with a walk, and two batters later Frankie Cervelli pushed him into scoring position when he took a pitch to the left butt cheek. O’s starter Brad Bergesen fed Brett Gardner a diet of upper-80′s fastballs with the two men on, but the Yanks’ speed demon ripped a hard grounder right to Roberts at second for an inning ending 4-6-3 double play. It was actually the biggest negative WPA swing of the game at -13.2%.

Two innings later the Yanks again threatened, except this time it was Cervelli who came up with men on the corners and two outs. His at-bat lasted all of one pitch, a routine grounder to third that ended the inning and what seemed to be their last chance at the time. This inning was such a mess, it gets its own section.

The WTF Inning

Like I said, that seventh inning was a disaster for the Yanks. Cano did well to reach base with a leadoff single to the opposite field, but Swish struck out looking on a pitch that was probably too close to take. That’s when things got a little crazy.

Buck Showalter lifted Bergesen with his pitch count at 101 following the Swisher strikeout, handing the ball to former New Jersey Net Mark Hendrickson with Lance Berkman and Curtis Granderson coming up. Berkman, as we all know, is part of a designated hitter platoon with Marcus Thames because of his .252 wOBA against lefthanded hitters, and yet he was left in to face the southpaw Hendrickson. Predictably, the former Astro was caught flailing at a changeup for strike three and the second out of the inning. Not pinch hitting for Berkman is the first WTF.

Now with two outs and Cano still at first and Hendrickson still in the game, Joe Girardi finally sent Thames to the plate for Granderson. We know Grandy struggles against lefties, but he’s got something like an 1.100 OPS against them with his new swing. But fine, you have to give Thames a chance against the lefty, that’s what he’s here for. Except Showalter would have none of that, lifting Hendrickson for the righty Jim Johnson after Thames was announced. The platoon advantage was lost for two straight batters late in a one run game. That’s the second WTF.

Girardi lucked out because Thames singled and sent Cano to third, but then the inning ended one pitch later on Cervelli’s ground out. Letting Cervelli hit for himself was the mother of all WTF’s, but it turns out that Jorge Posada was unavailable due to concussion-like symptoms. There’s still an argument to be made that someone like Colin Curtis was a better option at that spot. Either way, fine, Girardi gets a pass for letting Frankie bat since Posada’s hurt. The Thames thing though, sheesh. Not getting him in there for Berkman and essentially sacrificing the platoon advantage for two batters late in a close game is rather stupid. You have to utilize your personnel better than that, have to.

Leftovers

Derek Jeter took a big fat 0-for-4 and is down to .262/.328/.369 on the season and .233/.311/.327 since June 2nd (395 plate appearances). He also muffed a throw on a routine grounder that pulled Berkman off the bag. I want to see him sit at the negotiating table this winter and say he deserves three or four years at $18-20M per with a straight face.

A-Rod continues to crush the ball, picking up two hits and two loud, hard hit outs. He’s pretty clearly the team’s most dangerous hitter right now. Mark Teixeira, meanwhile, was at the mercy of Bergesen all afternoon, striking out three times in four trips to the plate.

I liked Gardner’s aggressiveness in the third inning, when he doubled in a run but got thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple. Felix Pie completely misread the ball in left and let it roll to the wall, and it took a set of perfect relay throws to nail Gardy. The O’s executed, so give them credit.

Nova was pretty good, especially in the first three innings before having to really battle his way through the next three. David Robertson, Boone Logan, and Joba Chamberlain combined for three innings of perfect relief with a pair of strikeouts each. As for Baltimore’s bullpen, well, the Yanks had zero hits off of that crew in the series until Thames’ single with two outs in the seventh inning of this game.

The Yanks are still the only team in baseball to not have a losing streak longer than three games this season, and they also avoided getting swept in a three game series at home for the first time at the New Stadium. I mean ever. The division lead is back up to two-and-a-half games because the Red Sox beat the Rays, and the magic number for a playoff spot is down to 14 thanks to the White Sox loss.

WPA Graph & Box Score

Hooray for late comebacks! MLB.com has the box score and video, FanGraphs the other, nerdier stuff.

Up Next

The Yanks went 7-3 on the longest homestand of the season, and will get to enjoy a day off on Thursday before moving on to Texas to take on the scuffling Rangers. Javy Vazquez and his nothingball will face C.J. Wilson.

Categories : Game Stories
  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime-Jesus & Maquinito FTW

    I was at the game, and all game, my friend with me kept talking about how she’d never gotten to see a Walk off win…

    The baseball gods work in mysterious ways.

  • NESTO

    Swisher’s walk off home run was a pretty close modern equivalent of Kirk Gibson’s. Running around with a lump while fist pumping. Whoah.

  • Mark

    That Kim Jones picture will never not be funny.

    • art vandelay

      there are just too many jokes to be made about her with that on her face.

    • Carlosologist

      Let’s have a caption contest with it.

      • boogie down

        “See, Kim? That’s what happens when my WPA just shoots up like that all of a sudden!”

      • boogie down

        “See Kim? That’s what happens when my WPA shoots up like that all of a sudden!”

        • boogie down

          err… delete this, please, if possible.. the first iteration of this didn’t immediately show up when I hit submit so I re-typed it and then re-submitted it. Oops. Thanks in advance.

    • goterpsgo

      Kim Jones is cute. :)

  • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

    With the way A-rod is swinging, I think he’s going to have a pretty huge series in Texas. I’m sure he’ll get a day off in there, but maybe if he mashes the ball enough it’ll convince Joe to leave him in.

    As for how well Javy is going to do… just cross your fingers I guess. Looks like Hamiliton is doubtful for the series though, so at least there’s that.

    • It’sATarp

      he’ll prolly miss the first game since it’s reproted he still has rib problem. huge break for us..now if we can just miss that cliff lee guy.

      • jsbrendog (returns)

        didn’t the yanks beat lee last time they faced him?

        http://www.baseball-reference......8110.shtml

        • CBean

          I think we can take Cliff Lee. We pushed him out of the game last time. The last real Yankee Killer left is King Felix.

          • vin

            Brett Cecil would like a word with you.

  • http://dontbringinthelefty.blogspot.com Lucas AA, aka don’t_bring_in_the_lefty

    The bullpen really did the job today, as usual. 6 strikeouts, 0 walks, 0 hits in 3 innings. Hm, Joba hasn’t allowed a walk since August 9th.

  • Johan Iz My Brohan

    That’s the closest I’ll ever get to seeing a Kim Jones facial, beat that Erin Andrews!

    • goterpsgo

      I’d take either! Better yet, I’ll take both! Where’s Bernstein when you need her… :D

  • cano is the bro

    haha i like that picture of the hot blonde reporter with the cream on her face…

    • Canseco’s Mullet

      I’m deeply offended by your comment. Referring to Kim Jones, a respected journalist with the YES Network as a “hot blonde” is derogatory to women who have worked hard to actually be hot blondes.

      • cano is the bro

        haha im pretty sure your being sarcastic, i dont get YES network so…

        eh she isn’t as hot as i thought but the picture is still funny

  • Mark

    I just want to know what Mo said to her when he passed and she pushed him away haha.

    • FachoinaNYY

      I wondered the same thing, I wouldnt expect anything like that from Mo so it must have been good…

    • seimiya

      This.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      I have no idea, but that moment was adorable. Oh Mo. :3

      • CBean

        I have never been as jealous of Kim Jones as I was in that moment. I was like, “she gets to be teased by Mo! how awesome is that!”

  • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

    Teixeira was thrown a changeup in all 3 of his ABs with Bergesen. Twice he made an out when swinging at the pitch. Just an observation.

    • Jerome S

      If you’ll notice, Tex is a pull hitter. He’s out in front to begin with. Slow the ball down, and he’s finished.

      We found a weakness.

  • viasistina

    I love everything he stands for and has done for the Yankees, but can anyone remember the last time Jeter got a meaningful hit to sustain or start a rally, nevermind a game winning one?

    • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

      game winning hit at home? probably 2008 or 2007

    • Neil

      I believe game 4 of the world series is 11/1. Maybe the Captain is saving something special for then.

      • jsbrendog (returns)

        at midnight the night before

  • Canseco’s Mullet

    The most frustrating part of this game for me was, living in southern central PA, I had to watch on the Orioles Network, and Gary Thorn never realized that Tex wasn’t playing first base. The first time I gave him a pass, but he consistently talked about Tex’s defense, and how certain plays were typical of him at first and others were uncharacteristic. I expect better from the man who broke the story that Schillings bloody sock was actually red paint (Not really at all).

    • Klemy

      You can’t expect him to throw out all his pregame homework, just because the player he researched isn’t playing the field! lol That is awesome. I ALMOST wish I had heard that broadcast.

  • Magnus Stultus

    Anyone thinks this team can win without Captain Jete? I mean they have pretty much done it this year without the benefit of a ‘normal’ Jeter.

    • seimiya

      Given that they have the best record in baseball, and you must win to have that, I think it is safe to say we can win without the jeets.

  • http://www.lessthismorethat.com/author/ddarrell Jamal G.

    Curtis Granderson has a career .274 wOBA versus LHP, and Marcus Thames has a .331 wOBA (104 wRC+) versus RHP. I think Girardi chose the lesser of two evils and chose correctly. He figured that Showalter was likely going to counter the Thames pinch-hit by bringing in a RHP (as he did), but justifiably liked that match-up instead of Granderson against a LHP.

    As to why Girardi didn’t pinch-hit Thames for Berkman against Hendrickson, I wonder if he thought Showalter might not counter with the RHP because Granderson was on deck. Showalter knew that Kearns was unavailable, and the only other hitters on the bench was the lefty Colin Curtis and the shitty trio of Chad Moeller, Ramiro Pena and Eduardo Nunez. So, if Girardi had PH Thames for Berkman, Showalter would had been forced to choose between using a RHP against Thames and Granderson (best outcome for New York) or keep Hendrickson in against Thames and Granderson (worst outcome for New York).

    Berkman vs. a LHP (career 110 wRC+) and Thames vs. a RHP (104+) was the best match-up for the Yanks outside of Thames and Granderson versus a RHP. Since there was no way Girardi could reasonably predict what Showalter would do had Thames pinch-hit for Berkman, I think he made the right decisions re: Berkman and Granderson.

    • HKG Yankee

      Excellent analysis and observations. Bravo Sir.

    • kosmo

      Sure some good observations but Girardi did let Cervelli bat.I would have easily let Curtis 4-10 as PH with 7 RBI or Nunez bat for Cervelli.Cervelli had no business being at the plate with Moeller sitting on the bench as his subsequent replacement.Inexcusable.

      • Pete

        Colin Curtis and Eduardo Nunez really aren’t knowably better hitters than Cervelli at this point. I’d let the dude with 2 ABs on the day hit.

        • camilo gerardo

          that’s why no one will remember your name, Pete

    • Klemy

      Excellent observations. I was with Mike on the initial analysis, but this definitely sheds a little light on the decision.

    • Pete

      **golf clap**

    • chaz2010

      The only problem with your logic is that Hendrickson was brought in as Berkman was heading to the plate. Therefore, he has to stay in for one batter at least. So if Girardi used Thames to pinch hot for Berkman, he would have faced Hendrickson. Under baseball rules, Showalter could not bring in a right hander to face Thames pinch hitting for Berkman. He would have to face Thames, then Showalter could bring in a righty if Girardi pinch hit Kearns for Granderson.

  • Carlosologist

    I got home today from school, turned on the TV, and the first thing I see is Swisher connecting on the walk-off.

    Today was a very good day.

    • Betty Lizard

      When it’s not always raining
      there’ll be days like this
      When there’s noone complaining
      there’ll be days like this
      Everything falls into phase
      like the flick of a switch
      Well my momma told me
      there’ll be days like this

      /Van the man’d

  • seimiya

    Who’s that in the magic number box?

    • Bobtaco

      Sweet Lou?

  • Kyle Litke

    Good stuff.

    Nitpick: Nova didn’t pitch around Weiters. He threw one pitch, it bounced away, Jones went to second, and then they intentionally walked him. Personally, I hate intentional walks, especially at that point in the game, but whatever, it worked out fine so all is good.

  • larryf

    Nova is a keeper. Good stuff, good mechanics, good demeanor, cheap, 23 years old. I like it.

    Javy 88mph fastball, 78 mph change, 68 mph curve: poor stuff, poor mechanics, expensive, old. No like it.

    • jsbrendog (returns)

      cheese me no likey

    • whozat

      You really have to see a pitcher make it around the league more than once before you can believe in his ability to be good in the bigs. Let’s not hand Nova a rotation spot just yet.

      • Klemy

        Agreed, but at the moment I’m much more happy to see him on the mound than Javy.

      • jsbrendog (returns)

        see: IPK

    • kosmo

      Didn´t the Padres claim Nova a couple of years ago as a rule 5 pick and later of course having to return him? I seem to remember something along those lines .Wasn´t much of a keeper then.But he´s improved substantially luckily for NY they MIGHT just have a solid SP on their hands.
      30 million per for Vasquez and Burnett.What a joke.

  • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

    Best part was watching the trolls instantly disappear from the thread after Swisher’s swing.

  • gc

    Half of me is being facetious when I say this, and half of me is starting to actually wonder this for real: I’m curious why you guys don’t start “Jeter sucks” chants at Yankee games. Or at least get the rampant booing underway every time he steps up to the plate. He obviously stinks. People don’t want him on the team anymore right now because, clearly, they don’t need him to win. You’d be far happier, obviously, to have Ramiro Pena playing short because he’s so much less a liability. So why hide it anymore at the ballpark? Yankee fans have never been shy to boo their stars in the past. Jeter has been booed here before, Mantle got booed, people have made a living off booing A-Rod in this town. Hell, even Rivera got booed. So just get it out in the open. Start the internet campaigns. Write letters to the editors. Hold up those big signs at the stadium, saying JETER MUST GO!

    Or would that be taking it too far considering how much he’s done for the team over the years? I really don’t know and am asking. Booing? Yeah, OK. He’s fair game and he obviously stinks now, and apparently has little to no hope of ever being any good anymore. I can see that. It probably wouldn’t be out of line. But would signs and Jeter Sucks chants be taking it too far? If so, why? He’s already being painted as a scapegoat if you look deep enough into all these articles and predictions from so-called media experts, not to mention the enlightened fans on sites like this. Almost as if they’re waiting for the team to fail so they can point their slings and arrows directly at number two, shortstop, Derek Je-tah, number two. Many of them seem to be virtually salivating at the prospect. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if drafts of articles are already being written up, just waiting for the shoe to drop so they can fill in the blanks with details, dot the i’s and cross the t’s and submit them to their editors. Nothing in America these days stirs the soul to more rousing depths than to kick a man when he’s down. Especially a man who has heretofore had a pretty much unblemished record of excellence and good feelings surrounding him.

    I guess I’d like to know when does all this animosity about his bad numbers and decline-a-rama, which until now has been seething just under and around (and occasionally at the top of) the surface with the fans lead to downright hatred of his very presence on the team? To the point where the very sight of him stepping up to the plate makes your stomach turn? Even in the post-season? The boos raining down from the stadium night after night, at bat after at bat. Because I hate to break it to you, but they’re gonna re-sign him to a multi-year deal, and they’re gonna overpay him. He’ll be on this team for at least the next two or three years minimum. AND people (here, anyway) have made it abundantly clear they don’t think he’s got anything of value left in the tank in terms of production. So when do we reach the tipping point? When do the gloves come off as fans? When does he become public enemy number one, shortstop, Derek Je-tah, public enemy number one?

    • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

      Are you serious? You do realize that an educated fan can both be critical of the present while appreciating the past, right?

      He’s not having a good season, there’s no way around that. His groundball rate is up, his line drive rate is down, he’s well under his average triple slash and his defense is average. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have any value… he’s still a top 5 AL shortstop in terms of WAR. Jeter has just spoiled us with his consistency, to see him like this is unsettling.

      While we appreciate everything he’s done for the Yankees, it’s just not wise to hand him a blank check either.

      Anyway, I think you’re taking it to ridiculous levels. No one is going to start booing him every time he steps to the plate.

      • gc

        1. I know he’s having a horrible season. That much is clear.

        2. Nobody believes or obviously wants him to be handed a blank check, but if you’re so interested in reality, the reality of the situation is that he WILL be given a multi-year contract and he WILL be overpaid. Most likely by a lot.

        3. If he keeps going 0 for 4, grounding into all these double plays, not taking walks, and his range keeps getting worse in the field, WHY NOT boo him every time he gets up to the plate? At what point does all of this become intolerable as fans, especially if we all know he’s gonna be there for the next few seasons declining even MORE?

        • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

          Because he’s on the team we want to win, and booing him is stupid? I mean, I can’t be much clearer than that.

          • gc

            Yet people have booed him before, and others. Including the man at third base who we probably couldn’t have even gotten to the World Series last year without, let alone won it. I know a lot of fans would have trouble booing home team players, and I respect that. And many would have a LOT of trouble booing a guy like Jeter who has so much positive stuff in the emotional bank with fans. But I’m talking mostly about the fans who are already tired of what’s going on with Jeter. These are folks who don’t see much getting better with him in the foreseeable future. Is there a tipping point? Will it ever come to pass to see him become that guy in the line-up where the entire crowd groans when he comes to the plate expecting the worst (if he isn’t that already to some people)? If enough of those moments come around and he still isn’t producing, will we ever see it get ugly at Yankee Stadium for him?

            • Jerome S

              Dude… he’s Derek fuckin’ Jeter. He’s contributed more to the team than anything a bad season could take away.

              • gc

                True. And how quickly will those sentiments fade away if he keeps grounding into double plays, striking out in big spots, or diving past balls he simply can’t get to anymore…in the playoffs? And it starts costing them big games?

                I love DJ. And it pains me to see him struggle like this. But if this is what we are to expect from this point forward…or even worse…then when does fan sentiment turn into fan resentment for the fact that he’s a black hole in the line-up, a liability in the field, and a drag on the payroll possibly preventing the team from going out and signing someone they need who can actually produce?

      • gc

        Also, I respect that fans can be critical and still appreciate what a player has done in the past. And I’ve been critical of Jeter this year many times because he deserves it. But there’s being critical, and then there’s that line that seems pretty close to being crossed by a lot of people. The line that leads to nastiness. Does it ever truly get to that point with Jeter? If so, when? And if not, why not if his production and value to the team warrants it?

        • Tim

          No, of course it doesn’t get crossed. It never gets crossed with players of Jeter’s calibre and history with a franchise. Yes, Mickey Mantle was booed for his bad performance, but there was never outright nastiness. Just frustration from a fan base that wants nothing more than one more opportunity to laud a great player that has delivered so many times in the past.

          In reality, I think a healthy dose of booing Jeter’s bad performance might not be a bad thing for the Yankees organization. In these much speculated-upon negotiations that will happen this off-season, Jeter’s greatest (and perhaps only) leverage against the team in the potential fall-out with the fan base of him leaving and playing elsewhere. The Yankees would have to consider that extremely distasteful to overpay him as much as many think they will. But winning a WS with Jeter hitting a powerless .260 and playing his customary terrible (and worsening) defense, and with fans frustrations and negativity toward a guy who up until this point has essentially been teflon, I believe takes at least some of that leverage away. And what happens if, Mo forbid, Jeter hits .100 with several key failings in clutch spots, makes a handful or errors, and the Yankees lose in the playoffs? Even less leverage.

          This is one situation where I truly feel bad for Cashman and the team. There is really no way they can win this game if Jeter is all in, as John Harper and others suggest.

          • gc

            Good points. Then what happens if Jeter goes out and hits .375-.400 in the post-season, is on base half the time, scores a bunch of runs and even gets a few big hits to start rallies or knock in some big runs? Or even hits a big home run? Does anyone realistically think such a thing is out of the question? Because I certainly don’t. Does all this current hand-wringing about his contract disappear? Or do the fans take the road they took with guys like Matsui and Damon, say thanks for the memories, and hope desperately he signs only a two year deal for less than $10M a year or whatever they now think he’ll be worth going forward?

            • Tim

              Boy, I don’t know. I would guess that the fan base would really be chapped if the team didn’t write him a blank check under those circumstances. The Matsui and Damon issues are not entirely similar because neither had even close to the cache Jeter has with the fan base. Also, I might disagree a bit with your assertion that the fan base told them “thanks for the memories” – I know a significant portion of the fans that still feel letting those guys go was a huge mistake, and has felt that way all along.

              I think most sophisticated fans will be wringing their hands about this contract regardless of what happens in the post-season, because we know (or have an idea) what the next 3-4 years are going to look like. Three good weeks in October wouldn’t blind us to those facts.

    • Klemy

      In my opinion, shouting that anyone sucks on my chosen team at a home game is stupid. I don’t care how much they are struggling.

      • jsbrendog (returns)

        except kyle farnsworth. that was totally acceptable

        • don draper

          As was Ed Whitson…back in the day.

          • Tarheel Yankee

            As was Ruben Amaro, back, back in the day.

    • jsbrendog (returns)

      you should cansel yor season tickets

    • theyankeewarrior

      eek

    • Pasqua

      This is pretty melodramatic on your part. A bad season does not equate to hatred from the fans. Forgive me, but this reads like a political pundit attempting to spin a simple reality into a sign of the apocolypse.

      • gc

        Some of it was facetious, as I admitted right at the top. But a lot of it is based on real emotions I’m starting to get from people, and real things I’m already starting to read. These, I believe, are legitimate questions to be asked. I don’t *expect* it to ever get as bad as rampant booing and signs and Jeter sucks chants, but this is also a town notorious for “trying to motivate the player who is struggling” by booing him, letting them know that their expectations for that player are higher than he is delivering at the moment. So far, we haven’t seen or heard much negativity from the crowds at large at these home games, but they’ve booed him before when things were bad. And if they can boo a guy like Rivera when he blows a couple saves in a row against Boston like they did a few years back, what would happen if Jeter actually starts putting up WORSE numbers than he has this year, which it seems nearly everyone expects will be the probability due to his decline?

    • Pete

      I think you’ll find that a vast majority of commenters here highly disapprove of booing one’s own players in any situation (except maybe if he were to have murdered or raped somebody or something like that). Most people realize that a player’s performance is beyond his conscious control, and his failings are not a mark of poor character, and thus booing is unwarranted and unfair.

      You’ll also find that most people here recognize that the Yankees still have one of the best all-around shortstops in the league, and have no interest in releasing him or replacing him with Eduardo Nunez or Ramiro Pena. But does that mean we have to believe that he merits a 4 year (or, really, even a 3 year) deal this offseason? Does that mean we should agree with the decision to bat him leadoff, which is hurting the team by sheer volume of his ABs? I don’t think it does, at all.

      I don’t think any reasonable person would blame Derek Jeter for falling victim to the indefatigable forces of Father Time, so showing him outward nastiness by booing or chanting “Jeter Sucks” would be absurd. But the situation itself is not entirely blameless. Based on his past performance, it made sense to bat Jeter leadoff the first half of the season. But by that point this was more than a slump – it was, at the very least, a down season. His performance simply was not meriting his lineup position. Objectively, he should be batting 7th or 8th on this team.

      There are some issues to the realization of such a thing, obviously. The weight of his position in the lineup is relatively small, and there could be off-field backlash for the people who make the decision to drop him in the lineup. Nevertheless, it’d be the right choice for the team. I doubt it would make much of a difference the rest of the way this year, but his batting leadoff next year would be simply inexcusable. It’s a matter of a simple decision. Jeter’s performance is not a decision nor a personal fault it is simply an unfortunate fact that we have no choice but to live with, and most everyone is perfectly ok with living with it. But Jeter batting leadoff going forward and/or getting a 4+ year deal for money well beyond his production are not facts, and should not be treated as such.

      They are decisions. And they would be the wrong ones. That’s what people are pissed about.

      • Tim

        Well said on all points, Pete. I wonder if Girardi (or whoever is managing the team at that point) would have the stones to turn a $20+ million player into a part-time outfielder hitting in the 8 or 9 spot.

        • Pete

          why would you put him in the OF? he’s an okay SS, meaning you can play him there and not have to play Nunez or Pena, and enabling you to play Gardner, Granderson, Swisher, Posada, and Montero all at the same time next year. Moving him off SS doesn’t improve the situation

          • Tim

            You would move him off SS because he’s NOT an okay SS. He’s a terrible SS. But you would only move him, of course, if you had a better option for the position, which the Yankees currently don’t. Also, you would need a place to put him, because of what will be an enormous contract that cannot just sit on a bench. The most logical place where an opening might exist would be the OF, given the fact that there is at least a likelihood that neither Swisher, Granderson, nor Gardner are Yankees in 2012-4, and OF help isn’t exactly a strength of the farm system.

  • larryf

    Hard to boo a classy, homegrown, 5-time champion, non-doped athlete who wins gracefully and sucks gracefully….

  • leftylarry

    Don’t like this self-fulfilling prophesy stuff about Nova and the 2nd/3rd time through the order.
    He’s a rookie pitcher and major league batters make adjustments to ALL pitchers the 2nd-3rd time through the order.
    Nova will start miking adjustments also.
    If they hit Andy Pettitte the 3rd time through the order (like they did for years) he was tiring.
    Hughes gets hit the more they see him and so do most young pitchers.
    Let’s thank NOVA for 4 starts and 4 Yankees wins and not start self-fulfilling prophesies.

    • larryf

      This. It is so much harder for the Yanks to play a rookie and stay with him than it seems to be for other teams. Growing pains not tolerated but a natural part of the game.

  • don draper

    How is the flooding in Texas, will they even play?