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Postgame notes: “I’m not catching Babe Ruth or anything”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on May 08, 2014 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

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During batting practice on Tuesday, Derek Jeter and Brian Roberts joked about which of them would be the first to hit a home run this season, and when Roberts won that bit of bragging rights with a ninth-inning game-winner, Jeter missed it because he was in the bathroom. On Wednesday, when Jeter evened the score with his first home run of the season, guess where Roberts was. Yep, second-inning bathroom break.

“I was coming up the stairs, and he got to the top step (of the dugout),” Roberts said. “He was just standing there looking for me. I was looking up at him. I said, ‘I was in the bathroom, sorry.’ I didn’t want him to go too much longer. One day after me is perfect.”

Derek JeterThis Anaheim series started with questions about whether it was time for Jeter to drop to the bottom half of the order, but in these three games he went 5-for-11 with a home run, a double and a walk. Granted, two of the games were started by left-handers, but it’s still a nice bit of getting back on track for Jeter. The video above is Joe Girardi talking about Jeter being motivated by those who doubt him. At the very least, these three games gave a momentary response to the skeptics.

“It’s good to get one (home run),” Jeter said. “You’d at least like to get one, but I’m not catching Babe Ruth or anything. It’s good to get one because after Brian hit one yesterday, he was joking with me a little bit. I’m happy to at least put one on the board.”

I believe Jeter received a standing ovation for each of his at-bats this series, and not only from the large group of Yankees fans in the crowd. This was a series of absolute appreciation for the Yankees captain, and he responded with a strong three-game set that just might have gotten the Yankees back on track after a bad week or so (we’ll find out if there’s any carryover when things get started again in Milwaukee this season). Jeter was good this series. Whether that means anything in the bigger picture remains to be seen, but he was good here in Anaheim at a time when the Yankees needed an offensive boost.

“I’ve felt comfortable for a while,” Jeter said. “You go through a stretch of four or five (bad) games; I’ll go through another stretch of four or five games at some point. There’s probably a few of us that have gone through stretches of four or five games. That’s how baseball is. Emotionally, you can’t be too high and too low when things are going good or bad. You just move on and play the next day. I’m happy there were some results in this series, but you want it to continue. You don’t ever get into a panic mode because of four or five games.”

Vidal Nuno• Vidal Nuno is from Southern California and said he had about 50 friends and family in the stands, including his parents, who amazingly had not seen him pitch in person since he was in high school. Think about that. This guy was pitching in front of his mother, who hadn’t seen him pitch since he was a teenager, and he delivered 6.1 innings of a one-run ball against a dangerous Angels lineup. This was Jeter’s night, but my gosh, it was Nuno’s night as well. “This is just like another day,” Nuno said. “Yeah, knowing them, and they’re out there, but it’s just another day where you’re getting the job done and helping the team win.”

• Having a starter pitching in front of family like that is usually the kind of thing that makes Girardi nervous before a game. Girardi wasn’t nervous before this one because he had no idea. “I figured he had his mom and dad here,” Girardi said. “But I didn’t know he had that many people here until I actually took him out and someone said something on the mound and all the people were standing up behind our dugout and giving him a big ovation. So yeah, but I would (have worried) if I would have known.”

• Pitching coach Larry Rothschild went to the mound after Nuno fell behind in the count against John McDonald in the second inning. Nuno said Rothschild had spotted a mechanical flaw — “Just tells me throw the ball, trust your stuff, and get it done,” Nuno said — and although Nuno went on to walk McDonald, he retired the next batter to start a string of 13 straight outs.

• Nuno said it was the control of his two-seamer that helped him get quick outs and work deep in the game. The Yankees didn’t really have a long man all series, but their starters each pitched well out here.

• Before the game, the Angels presented Jeter with a paddleboard as a retirement gift. Albert Pujols, Howie Kendrick, Mike Trout and Jered Weaver came on the field for the presentation. “You savor the moments,” Jeter said. “The fans have been great, the opposing players have said good things, so you remember those things. At the same time, we’re trying to win games. You appreciate it, but you’re still competing and trying to win.”

Derek Jeter, Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Howie Kendrick• Jeter moved into sole possession of 11th place on baseball’s all-time runs scored list with 1,884. Lou Gehrig is up next on the list at 1,888.

• That second-inning home run snapped a 161-at-bat homerless streak for Jeter. It was his first home run at Angel Stadium since August 27, 2006. He finishes his career 114-for-336 (.339) in 81 games at Angel Stadium. That’s his highest average at any ballpark in which he’s had at least 300 at-bats. He is also 222-for-667 (.333) in his career against the Angels, his highest average against any team against which he’s had at least 600 at-bats.

• A home run in his final game at the park where he’s hit so well? “It doesn’t surprise me,” Roberts said. “That’s what I’ve seen when I saw Cal (Ripken) do it. It seemed like every last game in a park, Cal did something. You were like, ‘shocker.’ I have a feeling it might be similar.”

• Jacoby Ellsbury snapped an 0-for-13 slump with a two-hit game. His fourth-inning double was his first hit of this series.

• Two hits and two RBI for John Ryan Murphy, who continues to play well in this backup role. “He’s done a really good job,” Girardi said. “He’s prepared and it’s not always easy for young kid who’s used to playing every day to be productive offensively. I think defensively it’s probably not as noticeable because you can catch guys in the bullpen and get the full speed over there. But it’s hard to get the full speed, game speed, when you’re not playing, and he’s done a really good job with his at bats.”

• The Yankees are off on Thursday and did not fly to Milwaukee tonight. They’ll fly out of Los Angeles at some point on Thursday. No need to fly overnight and get into Milwaukee at some ridiculous time in the morning.

• Final word to Roberts: “It was huge to get out early. Any time you’re on the road and you can score in the first and give your guy on the mound a little bit of breathing room. They can swing the bat, we all know that. Nuno was phenomenal, and I think it always helps when you have a lead, for sure. The momentum kind of got on our side pretty quick tonight. It was good.”

Associated Press photos

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65 Responses to “Postgame notes: “I’m not catching Babe Ruth or anything””

  1. vitus May 8th, 2014 at 2:59 am

    Thanks for the post game Chad

  2. Pat M. May 8th, 2014 at 3:10 am

    Tonight was a very special experience watching Derek Jeter getting a standing ovation every time he stepped into the box. For his last at bat the everyone, Yankee fans as well as the Angels fans stood during his entire time at the plate. When he hit his dinger the roar just vibrated throughout the park, it was louder than anything I witnessed last week in The Stadium in the Bronx. Betances has one live arm for certain, but he has to be able to throw strikes on demand and he’s not there yet folks. Hopefully with some additional seasoning at the Big League level , he’ll become the 8th inning guy and beyond but he’s not there right now.

  3. Jarak May 8th, 2014 at 3:43 am

    almost everyone is hitting above 250. Now let’s see if the pitching can keep going.

  4. pete22 May 8th, 2014 at 4:26 am

    No reason to hurry to Milwaukee when you can spend and extra day enjoying the weather in So Cal

  5. pete22 May 8th, 2014 at 4:37 am

    Betances had walked 1 batter in 7 2/3 IP. He walked 2 guys tonight, one of whom was Trout, and he only got hurt there because of a bloop. Command wasn’t the greatest, but it wasn’t ridiculous like we saw some of the guys ahead of him in the pecking order showed. I guess we can say Kelley is not there yet based on his last 2 games.

    Like Jeter said, you can’t over react to any given game
    .

  6. pete22 May 8th, 2014 at 4:43 am

    Jarak May 8th, 2014 at 3:43 am

    almost everyone is hitting above 250. Now let’s see if the pitching can keep going.
    ==================

    Problem has been how they hit with RISP and the consistency of the offense. They have some good nights against pitchers who have nothing, and then struggle for several games.

    Pitching was good this series. Not sure they did not catch the Angels at a good time though.

    Brewers have been struggling to score as well with Braun out. 38 runs in the last and batting 212. Sometimes its not who you play but when you play them.

  7. pete22 May 8th, 2014 at 4:45 am

    38 runs in the last 11 games

  8. Madrugador May 8th, 2014 at 5:53 am

    In general- how much of Nuno’s performance was his ability vs the Angels realizing it wasn’t a winnable game and just mailing it in?

  9. MTU May 8th, 2014 at 6:33 am

    Good morning.

    Stopping by for a quick visit.

    Did not see the game but the result was great.

    Just can’t predict baseball.

    We looked like a limp noodle coming into LA.

    But we managed to take two.

    If this keeps up we’ll sweep the Brew Crew.

    :)

  10. MTU May 8th, 2014 at 6:43 am

    Tanaka time tonight.

    3 in a row ?

    :)

  11. tomingeorgia May 8th, 2014 at 6:51 am

    Not until tomorrow, Mister MTU.

  12. MTU May 8th, 2014 at 6:53 am

    Mister Tom-

    Sorry. Forgot.

    Day off today.

  13. MTU May 8th, 2014 at 7:04 am

    Duty calls once again.

    You all have a good day.

  14. tomingeorgia May 8th, 2014 at 7:19 am

    Hang in there, MTU.

  15. austinmac May 8th, 2014 at 8:01 am

    MTU,

    Good luck to you today. I hope things are on the uptick.

  16. bardos May 8th, 2014 at 8:08 am

    Yankees on youtube.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKY5fmDGVLs

  17. Yankee Trader May 8th, 2014 at 8:13 am

    Good morning.

    Late to the Breakfast Club.

    Roberts made two plays that I saw last night, that even Rivera’s #1 second baseman, Dustin Pedroia, would have had trouble making!

    Looks like patience with him is now starting to pay off.

  18. blake May 8th, 2014 at 8:15 am

    I think we are having a pollen vortex

  19. blake May 8th, 2014 at 8:21 am

    The patience with Roberts may be in fact paying off…..still too early to really say and he still has to stay healthy….but he’s looking much better lately

  20. Yankee Trader May 8th, 2014 at 8:33 am

    From NJ.com

    YAN SOLO RETURNS: Yanvergis Solarte is breaking out of his first big-league funk, manager Joe Girardi said.

    The utility infielder was hitting an out-of-his-mind .370 as of April 18. Then a 3-for-31 stretch dropped him to a season low .284 — still higher than most Yankees regulars.

    But the 26-year-old rookie is 5 of his last 10, and he doubled in Wednesday’s 9-2 smashing of the Angels. Girardi said Solarte, a switch-hitter, was struggling on the right side from the lack of lefties he saw in spring training.

    “Now we’re starting to see a lot (of lefties) and he’s more comfortable right-handed and it’s evened out,” Girardi said. You look at his splits in his career, he’s always been pretty even.”

    That Solarte, a late-bloomer, continues to adjust to the majors is impressive, Girardi said.

    “Sometimes when you start to struggle as a young kid, it can be very difficult,” Girardi said. “You start thinking too much. You start thinking about your opportunity. But he brings a lot of energy every day and he’s got a good personality and he fits right in our club and he made some adjustments.”

  21. Yankee Trader May 8th, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Have to run.

    Have a great day.

  22. pat May 8th, 2014 at 8:42 am

    Not used to seeing a Derek that now appears to care what people say about him. He sounds thin skinned making the “I must be getting younger” jokes when he gets a hit.

  23. bigdan22 May 8th, 2014 at 8:49 am

    As I’ve been saying for almost forever, Roberts and Jeter and the infield have never been the problem. At least not the problem that really matters. No once again, it’s the middle of the order, which honestly didn’t look all that great last night.

    You know what the best thing going for the Yanks’ offense was last night? McCann on the bench. I really don’t want to see him play against left-handers. When was the last time Beltran got a hit? He hit a couple of balls harder that last night so maybe that will come around. And Sori looks about as bad as I’ve ever seen him. I’m wonder if playing DH is killing his ABs. He just looks totally lost from the first pitch he sees flails at.

    Tex has generally done the job though and last night after the double he hit the ball hard a couple of times. But if you get a chance, watch Tex’s left-handed ABs and McCann’s ABs for the entire series over again. There are just so many gloves over on the right side of the field it just feels like they’ll never get a hit again,

  24. blake May 8th, 2014 at 8:54 am

    “Not used to seeing a Derek that now appears to care what people say about him. He sounds thin skinned making the “I must be getting younger” jokes when he gets a hit.”

    I think it’s more him mocking how fickle the media is than him being thin skinned…. it’s actually hilarious how Jeter has basically been the opposite of what reporters want in his career…..he gives them nothing…..and when he does it’s usually a subtle little jab at how lame they are for caring so much about what he thinks or says…….and they just love him for it. He’s a master.

  25. bigdan22 May 8th, 2014 at 8:55 am

    “Not used to seeing a Derek that now appears to care what people say about him. He sounds thin skinned making the “I must be getting younger” jokes when he gets a hit.”

    —–

    Because he knows the truth. Throw him a FB and he looks like Horace Clarke up there. But if he can slap the ball around a bit, get on base, not hurt us much in the field, and get more days and 9th innings off, then we all can enjoy the Farewell Tour just a little more.

  26. blake May 8th, 2014 at 8:57 am

    “As I’ve been saying for almost forever, Roberts and Jeter and the infield have never been the problem. At least not the problem that really matters. No once again, it’s the middle of the order, which honestly didn’t look all that great last night.”

    it certainly matters……it just doesn’t matter as much as the pitching or offense and nobody ever said it did.

    The Yanks biggest issue currently is the rotation…..I know Nuno pitched well last night and Kuroda showed good signs the as well……but the rotation is their biggest issue at the moment. They need another good starter IMO….

    they are probably gonna need infield help as well……but for the time being Solarte and Roberts are keeping the gum in the dam……

    they really need Beltran and McCann to start hitting…..

  27. Shame Spencer May 8th, 2014 at 9:01 am

    bigdan22 May 8th, 2014 at 8:49 am
    As I’ve been saying for almost forever, Roberts and Jeter and the infield have never been the problem.

    ——————-

    Wait…. what? You’ve always said this?

    bigdan22 May 5th, 2014 at 1:14 pm
    And as I’ve pointed out since the season began, criticism of the Yankee infield really begins and ends with Derek Jeter and there’s nothing the FO could have done in the off season to remedy that.

    bigdan22 May 2nd, 2014 at 12:58 am
    But as poor as the infield defense appears to be, the truth remains the same–the Yanks infield defensive problems begin and end with Derek Jeter.

    Someone is mis-remembering their posts…. :twisted:

  28. bigdan22 May 8th, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Like all good problem solvers, you need to focus on problems that matter, not the ones that don’t–hence the ridiculous obsession with the Yanks’ infield.

    If you’ve been reading my posts, you’ll know that going into last night the Yanks were averaging 4.1 runs a game and the middle of the order bats were on a 60-65 RBI pace for the year. Even with a superior pitching staff, that won’t get you to 90 wins.

  29. blake May 8th, 2014 at 9:07 am

    If the Yanks want to both keep Jeter healthy and send him off having a good farewell season then they will rest him a lot more vs RHP. He still murders lefties (.319 .418 .383 .801) so you play him every single game vs LHP and then maybe try and then rest him a game or two a week vs RHP.

    Obviously you’re not gonna do a straight platoon but they could be smart about the matchups and both give him and the team the best chance for success……this would be much easier if they had Drew on the roster.

  30. Hankflorida May 8th, 2014 at 9:14 am

    For someone like me who was weaned on the home run and became an addict to the Bronx Bombers, my reconditioning is as Giradi says, following the ball as it finds green in the outfield with RISP and that is my new kick. Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

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