Sweeny Murti: ‘Jeter Going To Be Pitched Differently’
After claiming – and later recanting – that he intentionally threw Derek Jeter a couple of pitches right down the middle in Tuesday’s All-Star Game, St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright is in a bit of hot water.
As well he should be.
“It smells like covering up because he got the backlash of it, which he should have,” WFAN Yankees beat writer Sweeny Murti said on The John Feinstein Show. “But it’s not the first time. Remember: Cal Ripken homered in his last All-Star game. This isn’t anything totally new.”
It’s not anything totally new to baseball, either.
“I remember when Ripken was tying and breaking (Lou) Gehrig’s records (in 1995), he homered in back-to-back games, and I thought, ‘Wow, how amazing,’” Murti recalled. “And I remember thinking, ‘When was the last time this guy saw a pitch on the inner-half of the plate?’ Nobody wants to be the guy that ends this streak. And I think you’re going to see a little bit of that with Jeter. Nobody wants to be the guy that (goes inside) and breaks a bone in his hand and ends his season that way. (It’s) not that people are grooving necessarily, but I do think he’s going to be pitched differently – just as Ripken was.”
Jeter, a 14-time All-Star and five-time World Series champion, is hitting .272 with two home runs, 25 RBIs and six steals this year. Whether Wainwright grooved pitches or not, Jeter still went 2-for-2 with a double and a run scored in the American League’s 5-3 win.
“Jeter played along and said, ‘Listen, you still got to hit it,’” Murti explained. “There is some sort of belief that if you groove it, a guy’s going to hit a double every time, which isn’t always the case. But if (Wainwright) was going to do it, he didn’t need to say (he did) it. And if he said it, he could have said it years after the fact. It wasn’t something he needs to say 10 minutes after it happened.”
The Yankees, meanwhile, enter the second half of the season at 47-47 and five games back of division-leading Baltimore (52-42). They traded for Brandon McCarthy, but four-fifths of the starting rotation, including Masahiro Tanaka, is injured.
Can the Yankees realistically hope to compete for a playoff spot?
“If this is the roster they’re going to play with for the next two months, then no, probably not,” Murti said. “I know Brian Cashman is always busy this time of year, and he’s always good at deals that we don’t see coming, too. The deal that got them Michael Pineda really came out of nowhere. Cash is good at moves like that. I really want to wait to see what this team looks like in two weeks.”
Regardless of whether the Yankees trade for, say, Cliff Lee or Cole Hamels, at least their second-half schedule appears manageable. New York plays its next 10 games at home against the Reds, Rangers and Blue Jays, while Baltimore plays its next 10 on the West Coast against the Athletics, Angels and Mariners.
“Their schedule is pretty favorable right after the break,” Murti said. “So this five-game lead could be pretty slim by the time we get (through) the weekend.”