Saturday, April 30, 2011

Harper: Jeter is is getting painful to watch

From John Harper:
The fans were doing their best Friday night to summon up one of those classic Derek Jeter moments they've witnessed over the years. They were on their feet, chanting the captain's name as he came to bat with the bases loaded in the eighth inning.

But it's hard to imagine Yankee fans anywhere had anything approaching the feeling they once had when Jeter was up in a clutch situation. How could they?

The truth is, it's getting painful to watch him at the plate these days, as he continues to get beat by the same fastballs he once slashed every which way. Jeter has managed to keep his batting average respectable, thanks in part to a bunch of infield singles and then a bunt single Friday night, but if you are watching with an objective eye, you know how old he has looked with the bat.

Friday night it was just a little more glaring because he had a chance to do something special, something to make everyone believe he still has the old Jeter magic, and he couldn't even make contact.
Harper went on to describe Jeter's pathetic 8th inning at-bat with the bases loaded and eventually concluded the article with this:
The batting average, which is now .258 after Friday night's 1-for-5, doesn't begin to explain the concern. It's the way Jeter can't seem to get the bat head out against less-than-overpowering fastballs, as if he's swinging a bat that's too heavy for him.

Even in the clutch, where he has always been at his best, he looked old on this night.
I know half of you are already angry at the article, but you know it's true. At least in the few second before all your Jeter is a god defense mechanisms start firing at full blast you know it's true.

Yes, he can turn things around, I'd be silly to suggest that he can't, but as of this moment Jeter looks like an aging veteran who is closer to retirement than anything resembling his past glory. Probably because that's exactly what he is. And while he figures out his approach at the plate he shouldn't be doing it from the leadoff spot, especially not on a team that is trying to contend for another world series.

I've been saying this for about a year and a half now, but it's time to finally move Jeter to the bottom of the order. If he starts hitting, then move him back, but at this point we all know he's a liability at the top of the order.

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