The Rays and Yankees were rained out last night and a decision had to be made as to whether they would make up the game today as part of a doubleheader or make up the game at a later date. The Yankees wanted to play two, but the decision had to be approved by both teams and the Rays decided to make a two game series, a three game series in September. But why? Why not just get the game out of the way right now and give yourself another off day when it could be important in September?
The Yankees wanted the twin bill if for no other reason than to give Derek Jeter an additional game to get to 3,000. This actually makes a lot of sense, even if in the short-run it seems selfish. The 3,000 hit chase has been looming over the Yankees for quite a while now. Jeter was close, then went on the disabled list, and is now back to chasing the milestone. The Yankees want Jeter to do it at home, in front of a nearly packed house. Now with the game being pushed back, the Yankees will have one less sellout and one less game with an electric atmosphere which is certainly an edge for New York. They also start an eight game road trip starting after the All-Star break, so Jeter would most certainly pass the milestone on the road if he doesn’t get it in the next two games.
Evan Longoria, the Rays player representative, conceded that the Rays would like to see Derek Jeter get to 3,000 hits this weekend, but he noted that:
As far as both teams go, it’s not real smart for us to play a doubleheader. It stretches guys out. It doesn’t give opportunity for a couple of teams to rest who are banged up, and just play one game and then another one.
That’s about as vague a reason as I’ve ever seen and it really doesn’t make much sense. He’s no doubt talking about Johnny Damon‘s hand issue and Wade Davis‘ injury. Possibly he’s getting the directive from Joe Maddon that it would be better if Jeremy Hellickson got some rest. Otherwise, this is what the All-Star break is for. Davis’ spot in the rotation won’t come up any sooner whether they play a double-header or not. So, he’s telling us that the Rays would rather play another game in September to avoid Johnny Damon missing a game in July?
I’m not really sure I believe that. It seems more likely that the Rays are looking to take the air out of the Yankee Stadium balloon, as it were. They’d rather play the Yankees when the crowd isn’t standing and cheering their captain’s every move. That’s fine. It’s their decision. Hopefully, it doesn’t backfire on them when they could use some rest in late September.