Derek Jeter woke up Tuesday with 3,436 career hits and ended it, after a 7-4 ninth-inning loss to Houston, with one less.
That’s not easy to do, though some of it was Jeter’s fault because he went 0-for-4.
The rest is because Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer asked MLB to review what had been Jeter’s 3,430 hit, which tied Honus Wagner for sixth place on the all-time list on Aug. 8. MLB, in the person of Jeter’s former manager Joe Torre, agreed with Bauer on the scoring, but had no comment on his pitch selection.
Torre changed the hit to an error, and Jeter’s lead over Honus Wagner, who has been dead for 59 years, was trimmed to five hits. At this pace, Wagner will catch Jeter by Sunday.
Jeter seemed more perturbed by the ALS ice bath he took Tuesday than the change in scoring. “You guys thought I was going to bash Mr. T. because he makes the decision,” Jeter said, according to Newsday.
Well, no. I thought he might have bashed Bauer, and wouldn’t have blamed him if he did. According to newsday.com: “Asked why the Indians requested the scoring review, team director of media relations Bart Swain wrote in an email: ‘It was requested by the player, Trevor Bauer. He requested it because he thought the play should have been ruled an error.'”
Bauer is right: the play should have been ruled an error. And wrong to request it, not because it cost Jeter a hit but what it might cost Bauer in his own clubhouse.
The play in question (link above) was a ground ball up the middle that was fielded neatly by shortstop Jose Ramirez. It was still a hit when Ramirez fielded it. Then Ramirez spun and threw perfectly to first baseman Carlos Santana, who dropped the ball. Perhaps that’s why Santana is no longer a catcher — apparently he was a catcher who couldn’t catch.
That’s where it became an error. Does Bauer think Santana appreciates the attention his review brought on his muff?
Bauer lowered his ERA with the scoring change from 4.35 to 4.18. Of course, if he really wants to lower his ERA, there’s an easier way: pitch better.
Tuesday Bauer went out and gave up five runs in the first inning to the Twins, raising his ERA back up to 4.41. The last three scored on a home run by Oswaldo Arcia. Do you think maybe Santana had to resist the urge to high-five Arcia on the way by? If it’s good enough for the Little League World Series, why not for a Little League move? Maybe if Bauer is lucky, he can get the scoring changed from home run to extra long fly ball.
The change does make you wonder: How big a Yankee fan must you be to be the official scorer at Yankee Stadium if you rule it a hit when the first baseman drops the ball? What does it say when the player’s former manager is tougher on the scoring than you are?
It’s a good thing most of Jeter’s games have been on TV, or we might be wondering about the other 3,435 hits. Maybe while the folks at the MLB office in New York aren’t reviewing umpires’ calls, they can take on official scorers’. If Trevor Bauer is going to ask them to anyway.
The lost hit also dropped Jeter 79 hits behind Tris Speaker, which got Yankees TV announcer Michael Kay, doing the math on the air, to concede fifth place on the all-time hits list. “… so that does not seem like it’s going to happen, ” said Kay, talking about the possibility of Jeter catching Speaker.
Yes, because losing that hit is the one that broke Jeter’s bat. Seventy-eight hits in the last 39 games was eminently doable, by implication. Of course, if Jeter could have hit at that pace, he’d have a 300-hit season, which would be pretty remarkable at age 40, no matter how many times Bauer appeals.