It's Derek Jeter's Homestand - NBC New York

It's Derek Jeter's Homestand

He's got 10 games to get 14 hits.



    It's Derek Jeter's Homestand
    Getty Images
    Will Jeter have a big reason to smile?

    The Yankees have the best winning percentage in the American League and they'll spend the next 10 games doing battle with the three teams just behind them in the standings. 

    Such a stretch would normally have you talking about measuring sticks and potential October previews if you could even get past the fact that the first three of those games were against the Red Sox.

    Under normal circumstances there's nothing that can blot out the sun like a visit from Boston, but these games won't be played under normal circumstances.

    It will be played against the backdrop of the biggest Yankee star of the last 40 years closing in on the biggest milestone of his career. Derek Jeter needs just 14 hits to become the first Yankee to reach the 3,000 hit plateau and he almost certainly won't reach the magic number in the Bronx if he doesn't get them in the next 10 days.

    That means his every at-bat will create an even bigger buzz than usual and it means the Yankees will step up their heavy-handed nostalgia machine at every turn to drive home just how big a moment this is for the franchise. That it might lead to millions in merchandise sales is surely nothing more than a coincidence to these gatekeepers of history.

    So, just how likely is it that Jeter pulls off the trick in the Bronx? It's not something you should bet your kid's college education on but it isn't impossible to see it happening.

    Jeter has 60 hits in 55 games this season, a pace of 1.09 hits per game that would leave him three or four hits away when the Yankees head to Wrigley Field.

    In May, however, he boosted that number to 1.21 hits per game, an average that would still leave him agonizingly short but gives hope that there are a couple of three hit games left in that bat. 

    Of course, if Jeter does get to within three or four of 3,000 with a handful of games left there's also going to be some added pressure to get it done. He admitted as much last week and he had three hitless games before he was able to tie Lou Gehrig's franchise hit record back in 2009.

    That pressure might be welcome when it is compared to the pressures of trying to overcome the brutal start to the season. It is also better than the restored calls to drop Jeter in the lineup that will surely follow the milestone hit.

    It will be a difficult bridge to cross for all involved so, for now, it is best to leave it on the horizon. The next 10 games will be about celebrating Jeter's greatness instead of fretting about how many tomorrows he has left.

    Given how few chances we'll have to do that after the big 3,000, it's something we should all savor.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.