With his 3,000th hit behind him – and three more added on for
good measure – Derek Jeter has one more game before an All-Star
break he’ll happily take despite being voted in as a starter.
CC Sabathia won’t be choosing to skip the Midsummer Classic.
An All-Star snub despite leading the league in victories,
Sabathia tries to become the first AL pitcher in six years with 13
wins before the break Sunday as the New York Yankees look to follow
Jeter’s big day with another win over the visiting Tampa Bay
The spotlight had been on Jeter for the past week as the captain
tried to become the first Yankees player to collect his 3,000th
hit, and after Friday’s rainout kept him at 2,998, he wasted little
time Saturday. Jeter reached the milestone with a third-inning
homer, then drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth with his fifth
hit of the afternoon to lift New York (52-35) to a 5-4 win.
“It would have been really, really awkward to be out there doing
interviews and waving to the crowd after the game if we had lost.
So that was going through my head in my last at-bat today,” Jeter
said. “If we didn’t win, it definitely would have put a damper on
Jeter and banged-up teammates Mariano Rivera and Alex Rodriguez,
who has a slight meniscus tear in his right knee, won’t participate
in Tuesday’s All-Star game.
Sabathia (12-4, 2.90 ERA) wouldn’t have been able to pitch for
the AL anyway due to this Sunday start, but the 2007 AL Cy Young
Award winner wasn’t named to the team despite going 9-1 in his last
10 starts. He’s surrendered one run over 22 2-3 innings over his
last three outings – striking out 33 – after holding the Indians to
five hits in seven scoreless innings Tuesday in a 9-2 victory.
“I wasn’t thinking about the All-Star game, not at all,” said
Sabathia, who had already booked a family trip to the Bahamas over
the break. “I just wanted to help my team win. That’s my job.”
Sabathia is already the first Yankees pitcher since Tommy John
in 1979-80 with 12 or more wins before the All-Star break in
consecutive years. With a victory Sunday, he’d become the first AL
starter since Chicago’s Jon Garland in 2005 with 13 wins at the
Facing Tampa Bay (49-40) could make that tough to pull off,
however. He hasn’t faced the Rays this season, but was 0-2 with a
4.33 ERA in his last four meetings in 2010, including a 10-3 loss
in the Bronx on Sept. 23 when he gave up seven runs over 5 1-3
During the day, though, Sabathia and the Yankees have been tough
to beat. Sabathia is 12-3 with a 2.42 ERA in 18 afternoon starts
since the beginning of last year, while New York is an MLB-best
25-5 in daytime this season.
Coincidentally, Sabathia’s mound opponent is perhaps the reason
he was left off the All-Star team. Bouncing back from a season in
which he had the majors’ 89th-best ERA, James Shields (8-6, 2.47)
was fourth in the majors (2.29) prior to his last two outings.
Shields has dropped both of those starts, including Tuesday’s
3-2 loss in Minnesota as he gave up three runs in six innings.
“I was fighting myself the whole entire game,” Shields said.
The right-hander is 2-2 with a 3.43 ERA in seven starts versus
New York the past two seasons, including a 6-2 home loss May 17 as
Rodriguez took him deep twice.
Shields won’t have to worry about facing him Sunday. Rodriguez
is seeking a second opinion on his knee before deciding whether to
have surgery, which could sideline the three-time MVP for a
Nick Swisher could also sit again because of a sore left