Joe Girardi's Decision to Sit Derek Jeter Costs Yankees in Loss to Tigers

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Joe Girardi's Decision to Sit Derek Jeter Costs Yankees in Loss to Tigers
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Derek Jeter's hip was fine and he wanted to play. But Yankees manager Joe Girardi insisted on sitting the captain in Thursday's series finale against the Tigers at Comerica Park.

Jeter was 0-for-9 in his career against Detroit starter Rick Porcello, but the future Hall of Famer was also finally starting to hit the ball well, picking up four hits in his last 13 at-bats.

The decision cost New York as Jeter's replacement, Eduardo Nunez, committed two errors at shortstop—including one that led to two unearned runs in the seventh inning of a 6-3 loss.

With runners at second and third, and two out in the frame, A.J. Burnett got Don Kelly to ground to short. But Nunez's throw to first was over Mark Teixeira's head, allowing both runners to score and turning a slim 3-2 deficit into a large 5-2 hole.

The Yankees have now lost three straight for the first time all season as they fly to Texas for a difficult three-game series against the defending American League champion Rangers.

Here are the grades from Thursday's loss. 

 

Joe Girardi, Manager: (D) I can understand resting your regulars once in a while, but sitting two of your superstars on the same day, when your team has scored just two runs total in its previous two games, doesn't make a lot of sense.

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The decision worked for the first three innings on Thursday as Nunez picked up a bunt single and an RBI hit in his first two at-bats. Eric Chavez, who was playing in place of Alex Rodriguez at third base, clocked an RBI triple in the fourth. But Chavez had to exit after suffering a small fracture in his left foot on the play, and Nunez went on to have that dreadful day in the field.

In the end, the Yankees once again scored just two runs, despite picking up 10 hits as they grounded into a pair of double plays and stranded eight men on base. As I wrote two weeks ago, the homer-happy Bombers have to find other ways to score when they play in bigger stadiums like Comerica Park.

Brett Gardner, LF: (B+) Gardner went 2-for-5, picking up an RBI single in the ninth, and is now 10 for his last 21 (.476).

Nick Swisher, RF: (D+) Swisher went 0-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts. He is now hitless in his last seven at-bats, and his average sits at a lowly .214. He did, however, make an outstanding diving catch in the fifth to keep Burnett's no-hitter intact for the time being.

Robinson Cano, 2B: (A) Cano was 2-for-4 and continues to be the best hitter on the team, batting .304. 

Mark Teixeira, 1B: (F) Teixeira went hitless in four at-bats to drop his average to .253.

Curtis Granderson, CF: (A) Granderson was 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. 

Jorge Posada, DH: (F) Out of 191 qualified batters in the Major Leagues, Posada's .154 average ranks 190th—one point ahead of Adam Dunn's .153. It's too bad Chavez got hurt because he really should be the everyday DH.

Eric Chavez, 3B: (A) It was Chavez's first triple since 2007, and will most likely be his last for at least 15 days.

Russell Martin, C: (C) Martin went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout at the plate, but did a good job handling Burnett and blocking all of those breaking balls in the dirt.

Eduardo Nunez, SS: (D) Loved the bunt and liked the RBI single, but five errors in 23 innings is completely inexcusable for a guy hoping to get some playing time off the bench.

Alex Rodriguez, PR-3B: (A) A-Rod went 2-for-2 with two runs scored. Too bad he wasn't allowed to play the whole nine innings.

A.J. Burnett, SP: (A-) Burnett took a no-hitter into the sixth, despite giving up a run in the first inning. He allowed just two earned runs on three hits, a walk and two hit batters over seven, but was done in by the defense, himself included. Still, a 3.71 ERA over seven outings is very encouraging for the No. 2 starter.

Boone Logan, RP: (F) The lefty specialist gave up a home run to a lefty. That's not so special.

Yankees Overall Grade: (C-) Great starting pitching, but terrible defense and poor situational hitting cost the Yankees. Don't worry, I'm sure they'll hit a bunch of homers down in Arlington.

 

Follow me on Twitter at @JordanHarrison.

Jordan is one of Bleacher Report's New York Yankees and College Basketball Featured Columnists. 

He can be reached at jordanschwartz2003@yahoo.com

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