If there's one thing that will put a small positive period on the end of this season, it would be a Derek Jeter final career homestand surge. And I say that as someone who has completely and publicly turned on Jeter since I started blogging. Fun fact, I'm going to Saturday's game. Going with my family and my girlfriend and my uncle, and I can already tell you there's a 100% chance that I cry at some point during that game. No matter what I may think of him now, nothing can change all the love I've had for him as a player and enjoyment I've had watching him as a fan. If I get to see a vintage Jeter game like the one he had last night, I'll have at least 1 fond memory of the 2014 Yankee season.
It was a pitchers' duel early last night, as it tends to be with the abhorrent Yankee offense, and Shane Greene looked much better than he had in his last few outings. He walked Jose Bautista in the 1st, gave up a leadoff single to Josh Thole in the 3rd, and that was all through 5 scoreless. His sinker was sinking again and he had a really good slider going. Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey matched him zero for zero over 4 innings. He retired the first 8 batters of the game in order and only had a Jeter infield single against him.
The Yankees finally struck first in the 5th, the mini-rally started by a 2-out walk to Chase Headley. Stephen Drew stepped in and laced a flat first-pitch knuckler into the right field corner for an RBI double. Greene went out and tossed another scoreless inning in the 6th, working around a 2-out single by Jose Reyes, and then it was time for the theatrics. Jeter strode to the plate with 1 out in the bottom half, and after getting ahead 3-0, he took a show-me fastball from Dickey for strike 1. Anticipating that he was getting another one, Jeter went all in on his 3-1 swing and launched the pitch deep into the left field seats for a solo home run. I honestly don't think he's hit a ball that hard all year.
That should have been the insurance run the Yankees needed. Greene got 2 outs in the 7th, exited with runners on first and second, and watched as Dellin Betances got him out of trouble by getting Dioner Navarro to fly out. But Joe elected to call that a night for Betances and went to Shawn Kelley for the 8th. Kelley got the first 2 outs quickly and then gave up a base hit to Reyes, which gave Bautista a chance to hit win a man on. He got an 0-2 fastball down the pipe and he deposited it into the left-center field seats to tie the game at 2.
Cue the theatrics again. Chris Young leads off the bottom of the 9th with a base hit, pinch runner Antoan Richardson steals second base, moves to third on Brett Gardner's sac bunt, and scores the walk-off run on a Headley... reach on a fielding error by first baseman Adam Lind. He Bucknered a grounder hit right to him and that was it. Whatever, I'll take it.
- Jeter was 2-4 with the home run and got caught stealing once. Got his average back up to .250.
- 2-hit night for Drew as well. First time he's had one since August 3rd, in his third game as a Yankee.
- Really great start for Greene. 6.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K. If there's another 5th starter competition next spring, he's going to be the heavy favorite.
- How about Antoan Richardson? He's got 4 hits in 9 at-bats as a Major Leaguer and picked up his 5th stolen base last night. He has no real future with the team and he shouldn't, but he's been a nice roster expansion contributor.
- Brian McCann went 0-4 with 2 K hitting in the 3-spot as the DH. Been too many of those games after a good few games this year.
- Cue the Joe haters coming out this morning with the "why did he take out Betances for Kelley?? He should be fired!!" comments. Just know that I agree with you guys this time. About the first part.