Derek Jeter couldn't reach 3,000 hits in his first series back from the DL against the Cleveland Indians, reaching 2,997 with a hit in his last game. That's actually good news for Jeter and New York Yankees fans, as he now has an excellent chance to achieve the feat at Yankee Stadium in front of his home fans, with the team starting a four-game home series against the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night.
Of course, this series isn't just about Jeter getting to 3,000 hits with the Rays sitting four games back of first place in the division, but the presence of meaningful baseball games won't keep the media from focusing on one man and his quest for a major milestone. Jeter will be facing some tough pitchers, but he gets off to as easy of a start as possible on Thursday night.
Jeter's best chance to put a dent in the three hits between him and baseball immortality will come on Thursday night when the Yankees face off against Jeff Nieman, who isn't having the best of years with a 5.05 ERA and a WHIP of 1.47. After that, things get considerably tougher with Jeremy Hellickson, David Price, and James Shields finishing out the series for the Rays. Hellickson is coming off of a complete game shutout, Price, though not terribly consistent, is a strikeout machine, and Shields has been the Rays' most consistent pitcher.