Derek Jeter Wins the Weekend

Two homers on Sunday cap the best weekend of Jeter's season

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Will he start using Pearl Jam's "Alive" to accompany him to the plate?

    It was a weekend of surprising results around the world of sports.

    The Lakers were swept out of the playoffs, the Grizzlies won a second game, Animal Kingdom took the Derby as a 20-1 shot, Justin Verlander threw his second career no-hitter and Francisco Cervelli hit a grand slam.

    Yet nothing felt quite as unexpected as seeing Derek Jeter jolt two homers in Sunday's 12-5 win over the Rangers.

    That's what comes after watching the Yankee captain spend the first month-plus of the season struggling to hit anything other than soft groundballs. It's also what comes after enduring a month filled with people rushing to write the obituary on Jeter's career as a productive baseball player.

    Jeter definitely chafed at all of the questions pointed in his direction, but, unlike the Lakers, handled his tough times with dignity and a belief that he had life left in him yet. Debate raged around the city as everyone picked sides and started battling about the face of the franchise.

    Get ready for a barrage of people crowing about how wrong everyone was to doubt Jeter's ability to still play the game. His two homers on Sunday were part of a four-hit game and part of a weekend that saw him go 7-for-15 with most of those hits being struck better than anything he'd been able to muster in the season to date.

    His average jumped 20 points as a result of Sunday's efforts and he actually has a slugging percentage now, so his staunch defenders certainly have a bit of reason to crow. And everyone can share a giant exhale at the first signs of life from a player no one wanted to see struggling the way  he's been struggling to this point in the season.

    Heck, the whole thing was enough to make you wonder if Eddie Vedder will be singing about still being alive when Jeter makes his way to the plate on Tuesday night at the Stadium.

    That said, if you felt it was too soon to try to stick a fork into Jeter after a month then you can't really consider everything fixed because of one strong weekend. The need for more evidence works both ways and we've seen a lot more of bad Jeter to this point in the season than we've seen vintage performances like the one he turned in on Sunday.

    All of that means the best part of Jeter's performance this weekend, besides two needed wins over the Rangers, is that we'll get a break from all the conjecture over his spot in the order, the lineup and the Yankee firmament.

    He's bought a nice chunk of time to show he was merely off to a slow start instead of falling off a cliff that marked the end of his career.

    Whatever happens in the long run, it was nice to have the old Derek Jeter back for a few days.

    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.