On Tuesday, Joe Girardi stated that there will be no lead-off controversy upon Jeter's return. Why? From the horse's mouth - “Derek’s been our leadoff guy." No other explanation was offered, and no credence was given to Gardner's fantastic numbers over the last fifty games (.357/.440/.503) ... this on the heels of Girardi saying "life goes on" in response to a question concerning sitting Gardner against lefties.
Here are three triple-slash lines, just for fun:
A - .260/.324/.324
B - .264/.328/.387
C - .293/.371/.444
A represents Jeter's production to-date. B is the average line of all MLB lead-off hitters. And C is Gardner's 2011 season. I understand that Jeter's an icon, and I understand that we shouldn't be up in arms over small sample sizes ... but Gardner was better in 2010 and he's been better in 2011. With the AL East shaping up to be a dogfight, the few extra runs the Yankees could pick up by dropping Jeter and allowing Gardner to lead-off could be the difference between home field and the Wild Card - a difference that bears more consideration than Girardi seems to be willing to give.
I've supported Girardi in the past, and I am not quite willing to give up on him yet. That being said, this demonstration of ignorance and nepotism has greatly diminished my respect for the skipper - and I'm not sure he'll be able to regain that.