I think it’s awesome what Derek Jeter accomplished on Friday night. This is one of my favorite players of all time. You just have to look at how Jeter handles himself. Every night he comes to the ballpark ready to play. He runs out every groundball and has a tremendous approach to the game. I’ve loved watching him progress from 1995 until now with the adjustments he’s made along the way. This is a huge thing to be the all-time hits leader for the New York Yankees. The surprising thing though is the number and that no player in Yankees history has 3,000 hits. That’s the next thing that’s going to separate him from a lot of people in the history of baseball. He will get to 3,000 hits within the next couple of years for sure if he stays healthy. It’s an amazing feat for Jeter. Congratulations to him as he is now the all-time hits leader in Yankees history, which is amazing.
Great game, exciting! Great catch from Beltran, big home runs from Delgado, Rios, Youkilis – it was back and forth, everything you can ask. Some solid pitching performances – we saw JJ Putz put away Delgado and Beltran with nasty splits – so the game had everything. But at the end of the day, for me, the most important sequence of the night was in the ninth inning with runners at first and second, no outs and Derek Jeter comes to the plate. You’re wondering, “What is Davey Johnson gonna do?” Jeter had struck out in his last at-bat, but obviously he has a history in big moments. So do you let him swing or do you ask him to bunt to move the runners over? He’s one of the best bunters in baseball. I thought it was interesting because what’s going through the managers mind is “I got a guy at the plate who is not going to hit into a double play” – you’re hoping he’s not unless he hits a bullet right at someone – so that’s why he lets him swing. He hit a rocket to right field which moved Victorino to third and Roberts stayed at first. I think if it wasn’t the combination of speed on base in Victorino and Roberts, you may have seen Jeter bunting. But with those base runners, if he strikes out those two guys can steal bases. If he bunts them over, you’ve got your hottest hitters coming up and they may pitch around the next guy to set up a double play. Those are the things that Davey factored through his mind. The way it worked out, Jeter ends up flying out and it left first and third and Roberts was able to steal second. That’s the kind of thing that makes the game so interesting.
What did I think? What’s my strategy? I thought that with Rollins, Youkilis, David Wright coming up that Jeter bunts. But, as it turned out, he didn’t and it worked out pretty good.