“That’ll probably be the only pressure thing, to try to do it at home. I know we go to Anaheim next. Then we go home. When you get closer, maybe, but we’re still a long ways away.”
– Derek Jeter
At this point, the question of when it’s nearly as interesting as the question of where. Derek Jeter has 2,984 career hits. The only player to get this far without reaching 3,000 was a guy named Sam Rice who played his last game in 1934. Lou Gehrig never got this far. Neither did Babe Ruth.
Three thousand hits is one of those colossal numbers, and it looks funny spelled out. Maybe it’s arbitrary, a benchmark only because it ends with a bunch of zeros, but in this game, that number carries weight. And in a perfect world, the first Yankee to reach that milestone, would do it in the Bronx.
Jeter has 58 hits in 52 games this season. That’s a pace of 1.115 hits per game. He needs 16 hits to reach 3,000, and if he keeps his current pace, he’ll reach that benchmark in 14 or 15 games.
The next Yankees home stand ends 13 games from today.
Of course, if Jeter keeps his pace from the past month — 1.25 hits per game since May 2 — he’ll reach 3,000 in 13 games, putting him right on track for the final day of the home stand.
It’s tantalizingly close, and the Yankees schedule might have bought Joe Girardi a little peace of mind. With off days the past two Thursdays, plus another off day on Monday, Girardi doesn’t necessarily have to give his shortstop a day off. Jeter can keep playing, try to get just slightly hot, and a take a shot at breaking the record before the Yankees travel to Chicago on June 17.
“I don’t really look at it as being close,” Jeter said. “We’re around the corner, the next block, but we’re not close.”
Associated Press photo