The Yankee captain has an excellent chance to break Lou Gehrig’s franchise mark Monday when New York plays the first day-night doubleheader at the new Yankee Stadium against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Jeter went 3 for 3 in Sunday’s 14-8 loss at Toronto to leave him four hits shy of replacing Gehrig as the all-time hits leader for baseball’s most successful franchise. Gehrig finished with 2,721 hits in his illustrious career.
It’s impressive company for Jeter, who has won four World Series titles and been named to 10 All-Star teams. Gehrig, known as the “Iron Horse” for playing in a franchise-record 2,130 consecutive games, won six World Series titles and was a seven-time All-Star with New York.
“I’m just trying to get a hit, like always,” Jeter said. “I’m not really thinking about it right now. Maybe when I get up to the last one. Right now, it’s not like I’m trying to get more hits.”
Jeter is hitting .431 in his last 25 games. He is a career .333 hitter against Matt Garza(notes) (7-9, 4.01 ERA), who will start the first game for the Rays, and owns a .318 mark versus Andy Sonnanstine(notes) (6-8, 6.62), who will start the nightcap.
Manager Joe Girardi has indicated that Jeter will likely start both games Monday.
The Yankees (87-50) lead Boston by 7 1/2 games in the AL East race after resting Alex Rodriguez(notes) and Jorge Posada(notes) in Sunday’s loss. Both are expected back Monday, with Posada expected to catch CC Sabathia(notes) (16-7, 3.48) in the opener.
New York will begin the day with its hottest pitcher on the mound. Sabathia improved to 6-0 with a 2.45 ERA over his last seven starts after he allowed one run over seven innings Wednesday in a 10-2 win at Baltimore.
Sabathia is 7-2 with a 2.95 ERA in 13 career starts against the Rays, but 0-1 with a 5.93 ERA in two outings this year. The left-hander has dominated Tampa Bay slugger Carlos Pena(notes), who is 4 for 28 with 13 strikeouts against him.
Garza, who will oppose Sabathia, is 0-2 with a 5.05 ERA in his last seven starts. He gave up four runs over 6 2-3 innings Wednesday in an 8-5 victory over Boston.
The right-hander is 1-3 with a 3.98 ERA in seven career starts against the Yankees, and 0-1 with a 2.84 ERA this year in three outings.
Tampa Bay (72-64) is seven games behind Boston for the wild card and enters on a four-game losing streak after being swept by Detroit over the weekend. The Rays are 5-6 against the Yankees in 2009.
Sonnanstine has alternated wins and losses in his last eight starts, posting a 5.96 ERA. He allowed five runs over four-plus innings Tuesday in an 8-4 loss to Boston.
The right-hander is 0-1 with a 4.19 ERA in three starts against the Yankees this year, and 2-2 with a 5.23 ERA in seven career outings.
A.J. Burnett(notes) (10-8, 4.29) will try to end his winless streak for New York in the nightcap. He’s 0-4 with a 6.54 ERA in his last seven games, and gave up six runs over 5 1-3 innings Tuesday in a 9-6 win at Baltimore.
The veteran right-hander is 2-0 with a 2.14 ERA in three starts against the Rays this year, improving to 9-4 with a 2.86 ERA in 19 career outings versus Tampa Bay. Pena has also been dominated by Burnett, going 3 for 27 with 12 strikeouts.