Derek Jeter’s top five postseason games by WPA

Yesterday, I ran through Derek Jeter‘s top five regular season games by WPA. I’m doing something similar today, only this time, I’m focusing on the playoffs, where the games meant the most. Enjoy.

#5: September 30th, 1997: .230 WPA

It was game one of the 1997 ALDS against the Cleveland Indians, and Cleveland had jumped to an early lead after tagging David Cone for five runs in the first inning. The Yankees kept grinding, though, and managed to cut the lead down to 6-3 by the sixth. The Yankees proceeded to tie the game that inning on a three-run homer by Tim Raines off of Eric Plunk. Jeter came to bat next and promptly untied the game by also going yard, and Paul O’Neill hit yet another homer to put the Bombers up 8-6, which ended up being the final score.

#4: October 7th, 2009: .243 WPA

Twelve years later, Jeter came up big yet again in the first game of the post season, and actually got on base in all four of his plate appearances. Jeter was left stranded after a lead-off single in the first, but would come around to score in all three of his subsequent trips to the plate. Jeter hit a two-run homer off of Brian Duensing in the third, tying the game at two. The game would remain tied until the fifth when Jeter lead off the inning with a walk, and came around to score on a single by Alex Rodriguez. Jeter also lead off the 7th with a walk, and was once again driven home by A-Rod, enabling the Yankees to coast to a 7-2 victory.

#3: October 14th, 2000: .287 WPA

Jeter only had one hit in this game, but it came at a very opportune time. The game remained scoreless until the 5th, when Scott Brosius and Chuck Knoblauch strung together a single and a walk with two outs against Paul Abbott. Jeter came to the plate next, and preceded to hit a three-run shot. Jeter came up again in the 8th when he lead off the inning with a leadoff walk against Jose Mesa, and was eventually driven home on a David Justice homer. The Yankees went on to win 5-0 to take a 3-1 lead over the Seattle Mariners in the series.

#2: October 31st, 2001: .331 WPA

The Yankees trailed the Arizona Diamondbacks two games to one heading into game four of the World Series. Worse yet, Curt Schilling took the mound for the D-Backs. Schilling was predictably dominant, yielding just one run through seven innings, as the Diamondbacks carried a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the 9th. The Yankees were down to their final out when Tino Martinez connected on a game-tying, two-run homer off of Byung-Hyun Kim. Fast forward to the bottom of the 10th where Kim, who was still in the game for some reason, managed to retire the first two batters of the inning. Jeter, who was just one for his last 15, came up next as the clock struck midnight, which meant that — for the first time ever — Major League Baseball was being played in November. After working the count to 3-2, Jeter sent the 9th pitch of the at bat over the right field fence, earning him the nickname “Mr. November.”

#1: October 9th, 1996: .395 WPA

Twenty-two-year-old rookie Derek Jeter went two-for-three in the first seven innings of game one of the ALCS, but the Orioles still managed to hold a 4-3 lead. Jeter had visions of tying the game when he belted a long fly ball to right off of Armando Benitez. Right fielder Tony Tarasco drifted back to the warning track, and seemed to have a beat on the ball, until 12-year-old Jeffrey Maier reached over the fence and pulled the ball into the stands. The play was ultimately ruled a home run, and tied the game up at four. Jeter then preceded to lead off the bottom of the 10th with a single, but was erased on a double play. Not to worry, though, as Bernie Williams would walk it off with a homer in the 11th. Jeter’s final batting line: 4-5 with three singles and one very controversial home run.

About Chris

Chris works in economic development by day, but spends most of his nights thinking about baseball. He writes for Pinstripe Pundits, and is an occasional user of the twitter machine: @_chris_mitchell
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