By PAUL DIGIACOMO
STATS Senior Editor
(AP) — With all the numbers and accolades Derek Jeter has collected throughout his career, there’s one fact that could be surprising to many: He has never played at home with the New York Yankees eliminated from playoff contention.
It took until his 1,391st – and final – game in the Bronx for that to happen.
In what’s expected to be an emotional farewell to the home fans Thursday night, Jeter and the Yankees face the AL East champion Baltimore Orioles with rain in the forecast.
By now, most everyone is aware of Jeter’s accomplishments since making his major league debut May 29, 1995, at Seattle. He’s the franchise leader in games (2,744), hits (3,461 – sixth all-time), doubles (543) and stolen bases (358) while ranking second behind Babe Ruth in runs (1,922), sixth in RBIs (1,307) and ninth in home runs (260).
He’s also baseball’s all-time postseason leader in games (158), runs (111), hits (200) and doubles (32) while tying for first in triples (5) and ranking third in homers (20) and fourth in RBIs (61).
Jeter, though, won’t be able to add to those numbers after the Yankees (81-77) were eliminated from the playoff race with Wednesday’s 9-5 loss to the Orioles (95-63).
New York has missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1992 and ’93, and it’s the third time Jeter won’t be playing in the postseason (2008).
“It’s tough. It’s what you play for,” said Jeter, a five-time World Series champion. “It’s a rough feeling and it should be a rough feeling for everyone in here.”
Jeter brushed aside questions about how he expects his final home game to play out.
“I can’t tell you what tomorrow is going to feel like. Right now it feels bad,” said Jeter, whose only other appearance with New York already knocked out of playoff contention came Sept. 26, 2008, at Boston. He finished last season on the disabled list.
The Yankees will head to Fenway Park for a three-game series beginning Friday night, and manager Joe Girardi said he would talk to Jeter “to see how he wants it to go.”
Last season, Mariano Rivera made his final appearance at Yankee Stadium and was pulled from the game when Jeter and Andy Pettitte went to the mound to get him. Rivera then decided to sit out the final three games at Houston.
“Mo just kind of wanted it to end that way,” Girardi said.
As for Jeter’s last game, “I can’t really script it,” the manager said.
“What happened with Mo just came to me at that moment,” Girardi said. “Whatever happens, happens.”
Girardi does expect another memorable game Thursday.
“I think that people have showed him appreciation wherever he’s gone this year,” Girardi said. “For him to do it one more time at Yankee Stadium should be special. … I think tomorrow will be a culmination of all the love he’s been shown.”
On the field, Baltimore continues its quest for the best record in the AL as it sends rookie Kevin Gausman (7-7, 3.57 ERA) to the mound opposite Hiroki Kuroda (11-9, 3.77).
The Orioles are 2 1/2 games behind AL West champion Los Angeles for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs after the AL won the All-Star game.
“Not everywhere you play in the postseason is going to be a friendly environment,” manager Buck Showalter said, “so it is good to have that kind of emotion going on (Thursday night) before you get there.”
The Angels finish with three in Seattle, while Baltimore heads to Toronto for three.
“We’ve got an outside shot of catching Anaheim,” Showalter said. “But you don’t ever take some satisfaction out of eliminating a team.”
Gausman is 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA in seven career games against the Yankees, going 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA in two starts this season. Kuroda is 3-3 with a 2.80 ERA in 11 starts against Baltimore, including one in the 2012 division series.
The Orioles are looking to beat the Yankees 14 times in a season for the first time since going 15-3 in 1966.
Updated September 25, 2014
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