Yankees-Red Sox Preview
It was going to be virtually impossible for Derek Jeter to top his final game at Yankee Stadium, and it's unclear if the New York Yankees captain will get the chance because of an ailing hamstring.
Whether he plays or not, Jeter will at least wear the Yankees uniform for the final time as an active player Sunday against the Boston Red Sox.
Jeter chose to keep playing following his Hollywood-style ending in a 6-5 victory over Baltimore on Thursday. After closer David Robertson blew a save in the ninth, the shortstop provided a walk-off single in his final game in the Bronx.
Wanting to show respect for the rival Red Sox and their fans, Jeter opted to start as a designated hitter Saturday.
"If there is anywhere else to play besides New York, I guess it is only fitting that it is here in Boston," Jeter told MLB's official website. "All of the times I've played here and the rivalry. If I can't do it in New York, this is the next best place, I guess."
He went 1 for 2 before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the fifth inning of a 10-4 loss.
Manager Joe Girardi said the plan was to give him two at-bats but Jeter tweaking his hamstring may have forced him to stick to that. Jeter, who reportedly wasn't limping as he walked out of the clubhouse, didn't talk to the media.
"He probably felt it a little bit in his hamstring," Girardi said. "He didn't say he was injured, but we'll see. ... I'll text him in the morning and see what he wants to do."
While the decision to pull Jeter from the game elicited some boos at Fenway Park, he received a standing ovation and plenty of cheers in a normally unwelcoming atmosphere for Yankees players. That should follow again Sunday, should he be in the lineup again as a DH as expected.
''It's awesome to see him get a standing O and people cheering for him," Red Sox pitcher Joe Kelly said.
If he plays, Jeter will get one more chance to add to his franchise records of 2,746 games, 3,464 hits, 11,193 at-bats, 544 doubles and 358 stolen bases before awaiting his place in the Hall of Fame, which he's eligible for in 2020. The 14-time All-Star and owner of five championship rings will finish with a .309 career average and the sixth-most hits in major league history.
Jeter and Willie Mays are the only players with at least 3,000 hits, 250 homers and 300 stolen bases and 1,200 RBIs.
This will mark Jeter's 153rd game at Fenway, including playoffs, and he'll surpass Lou Gehrig and Mickey Mantle for the most in the park by any Yankees player. He has 175 hits in Boston, his second-most in an opposing ballpark behind his 192 in Baltimore, and his 361 versus the Red Sox are second to his 371 against the Orioles.
The first pitcher he's expected to face Sunday is Clay Buchholz (8-10, 5.31 ERA). Jeter is 8 for 29 (.276) lifetime against the right-hander and is 2 for 6 with a double this season.
Buchholz is finishing with double-digit losses for the first time in his career after going 12-1 with a 1.74 ERA in 16 starts in 2013. He's given up a combined 10 runs in 13 2-3 innings in his last two outings, the latest a 6-2 loss to Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
Buchholz matched a season high by allowing seven runs in five innings in his most recent matchup with the Yankees, an 8-7 loss at Fenway on Aug. 3, and is 0-1 with a 7.36 ERA in two meetings this season.
Michael Pineda (4-5, 1.93) will start for the Yankees and try to wrap up an injury-shortened campaign on a high note. The right-hander, who missed three months with a strained muscle in his throwing shoulder, yielded one hit and fanned a season-high eight over 7 1-3 innings Monday in a 5-0 win over Baltimore.
The Yankees (83-78) are set to miss the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1982-93 and have posted declining win totals in three consecutive years for the first time since 1986-90.
That led to Girardi telling his team that it needs "to be better" in 2015 before Thursday's win.
"I just let them know what we expect for next year," said. "None of us is happy we're not playing next week."
Boston (71-90) will come in last in the AL East for the second time in three seasons after finishing an AL-best 97-65 and winning the World Series in 2013.