Thoughts and observations on the two beasts of the AL East
Thoughts and observations on the Yankees and Red Sox after watching New York salt away the division last weekend by winning the series at Fenway Park ...
• One of the more impressive aspects of New York's season is that none of its many older key players have shown any decline in production or health, a remarkable, if not freakish, occurrence in today's game.
Perhaps least surprisingly, Jeter, whose body and game have changed almost not at all over the years, is having a prime Jeter season, including a .332 batting average.
"He's always been good at getting those [bloop] hits here and there," hitting coach
"He's been much better at deciding which pitches to swing at. He's more disciplined than I've ever seen him at waiting for pitches to be in the zone. And when you wait for good pitches to hit, you're going to hit better."
Jeter is striking out at a career-low rate. He said his improved plate discipline is due more to consistent good health than to a change in his approach.
"If you feel good, everything else takes care of itself," Jeter said, "and you're not swinging at bad pitches. That's all it's about. I've been feeling good and when that happens you swing at better pitches."
Asked if the World Baseball Classic caused him to ramp up his offseason workouts, Jeter said, "No. The only thing I did differently was maybe start throwing a little earlier."
Jeter is having a historic season, almost a once-in-a-century kind of season given his age and his position. Only one shortstop Jeter's age or older ever has hit better than .330: that would happen to be
Said Long of Jeter, "I don't look at him as an older player. By the way he is swinging the bat, fielding, running ... You don't look at him as an older player."
When told of being in the company of Wagner, Jeter shrugged and said simply, "Season's not over yet."
"He's the best player I've ever played with," Pettitte said. "Game on the line, if I can pick anyone I ever played with, he's the guy I would want up in that situation. And I've played with some great clutch players. No slight to guys like
• The Angels are an impressive team, but the Yankees are the clear favorite to represent the AL in the World Series. But as one league executive noted, that could change quickly "if they get behind in the fourth inning of [ALDS] Game 1." Pressure is part of what comes with New York's tradition and payroll, which is why
Say the Yankees happen to lose an ALDS Game 1. Do you want the playoff round riding on the next game on a guy making his first postseason start, a guy who could become the first Yankees pitcher since
• The Yankees were amazed that
• Until New York's win Sunday, the Yankees and Red Sox had played 140 times since 2003, postseason included. Each team had won 70 times. They don't play at Fenway Park again this year -- unless they meet again in the ALCS.