The Domino Effect Takes Care of Yankees

Jeter's return is a non-factor in 6-3 Yankee loss.

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    If a Jeter returns in a loss, does it make a sound?

    Derek Jeter's return dominated the run up to Monday evening's game with the Indians.

    How soon would he get 3,000 hits was pitted against his spot at the top of an order that is filled with guys outperforming him in just about every other spot.

    There were surely some worrying about his calf not being ready for action while just about everyone was excited to see a shortstop capable of picking up easy grounders and throwing them to first without everyone in the stands needing a flak jacket.

    The Jeter that returned from the disabled list was pretty much the same one that went on it last month. He reached on an error and hit one ball out of the inield on a hitless night that looked just like most of the other ones he had during the first half of this season.

    Jeter's impact on the overall game also followed the same script as the first three months of the season. Jeter hasn't had a ton to do with most Yankee wins and losses this season, something that was true on Monday.

    The Yankees fell victim to the domino effect twice in the seventh inning of the 6-3 loss to the Indians and that was the true culprit for the defeat. The first domino to fall was an innocuous looking foul pop off the bat of Lonnie Chisenhall with two outs.

    For some reason, Brett Gardner never called off Alex Rodriguez despite having an easier play and A-Rod couldn't make the couch near the tarp. Chisenhall wound up walking and Shelley Duncan singled to put two runners on against A.J. Burnett, who had pitched very well until that point.

    The Yankees were protecting a 2-1 lead and Burnett was over 100 pitches, a combination that led to a lot of staring into the dugout waiting for Joe Girardi to come and get him. Girardi never appeared and that had something to do with the second domino.

    Mariano Rivera wasn't available thanks to soreness in his right triceps and that caused Girardi to stick with Burnett a bit longer than usual. The decision blew up when Austin Kearns took Burnett deep to right for a three-run home run.

    In another game of dominos, Kearns never gets a chance to swing the bat and/or Burnett is in the clubhouse long before any damage gets done. That's not the way they fell on Monday night and the biggest name of the night had nothing to do with it.

    Unless, of course, you consider him going 0-for-4 in the leadoff spot on a night when Josh Tomlin no-hits the Yankees into the seventh inning to be a domino. Good people will disagree on that point, although no one can say it hurts the argument that he shouldn't be hitting leadoff anymore.

    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.