Results tagged ‘ Dave Winfield ’
Carlos Beltran was out of the lineup Saturday night and may not play Sunday, either, for the Yankees at Tropicana Field. The right fielder has a severe cold.
Beltran started the winning rally Friday night with a leadoff single in the eighth inning. Brett Gardner pinch ran for Beltran and stole second base with two out. He scored on a single to center by Alex Rodriguez, who also homered twice and drove in four runs.
The knock by Beltran was his 1,000th career hit in the American League to go with 1,329 hits in his time in the National League. He is the only active player with 1,000 or more hits in both leagues and the eighth player overall to accomplish the feat. The list from the Elias Sport Bureau includes two former Yankees — Dave Winfield (1,976 AL; 1,134 NL) and Alfonso Soriano (1,018 AL; 1,077 NL). The others are Orlando Cabrera (1,020 AL; 1,035 NL), Vlad Guerrero (1,375 AL; 1,215 NL), Carlos Lee (1,033 AL; 1,240 NL), Fred McGriff (1,143 AL; 1,347 NL) and Frank Robinson (1,184 AL; 1,759 NL).
Rodriguez’s 61st career multi-home run game was his first since May 23, 2012 against the Royals at Yankee Stadium and the sixth of his career against the Rays, the first since May 17, 2011 at St. Petersburg, Fla. According to Baseball-Reference.com, Rodriguez (at age 39 years, 264 days), became the third-oldest Yankees hitter since 1914 with a multi-homer game. The only Yankees to do it at an older age were Raul Ibanez (twice: Sept. 22, 2012 against the Athletics at age 40 years, 112 days and May 8, 2012 against the Rays at age 39 years, 341days) and Enos Slaughter (July 19, 1959 against the White Sox at age 43 years, 83 days).
Earlier Saturday in a couple of transactions involving pitchers, lefthander Matt Tracy was claimed off waivers by the Marlins and righthander Joel De La Cruz was outrighted off the 40-man roster and onto the roster of Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Microphone still in hand, Jeter began walking off the field and said into it, “We got a game to play.”
Perfect. Sure, it was nice to have his parents, his grandmother, his sister, his nephew and a slew of old teammates and pals on the field to celebrate his impending retirement. But the actual fact will not occur until the last game of the 2014 season. The Yanks had a game Sunday afternoon against a Royals team they are competing against for a post-season berth, and Jeter was in the lineup.
That is what Jeter has always been about. As his former manager, Joe Torre, said before the game, “Derek was always ready to play every day. A manager knew he could count on him.”
Torre was among those closest to Jeter back at the Stadium for the ceremonies, along with former teammates Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez, Mariano Rivera, David Cone, Bernie Williams, Gerald Williams, Jorge Posada, Hideki Matsui and Tim Raines; Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson; former trainer Gene Monahan; MLB Network broadcaster and former infielder Harold Reynolds and commissioner-elect Rob Manfred.
The Yankees had a few surprises for DJ by trotting out Hall of Famers Cal Ripken Jr. and Dave Winfield and hoops legend Michael Jordan. The Steinbrenner family presented several gifts, including a Waterford Crystal tower with Jeter’s No. 2 atop it and a check for $222,222.22 donated to his Turn2 Foundation.
“It’s hard to believe 20 seasons have gone by so quickly,” Jeter said to the sellout crowd. “I want to take a brief moment to thank the Steinbrenner family and Mr. George Steinbrenner for giving me the opportunity to play my entire career with the only organization I wanted to play for.
“I thank my family and friends for all their support through the good times and more importantly through the tough times. All my managers, coaches, trainers and teammates current and former, I have been blessed to play with the best. I would not want to compete without you guys.
“Thank you fans for helping me feel like a kid the past 20 years. I got to be the shortstop of the New York Yankees, and there is only one of those. I have loved what I have done and loved to do it in front of you. From the bottom of my heart thank you very much.”
Not much syrup, all on the mark and to the point. This is the Jeter all of us have watched and heard for two decades. What began Sunday was not just the passing of 20 years but that of an era. The Yankees’ most recent dynastic run of championships started in 1996, Jeter’s rookie season. What is harder to believe is that one of these days he will be in one of those seats for guests at Yankee Stadium events.
Throughout all those World Series triumphs from 1996 through 2009 and up to today Jeter has been the constant thread. Sunday was chosen by the Yankees to celebrate that career, but as Jeter plainly put it that career is not over yet.
As team captain, Jeter is the first to break from the dugout onto the field at the start of home games. He went into his similar trot Sunday, but when he reached his customary position at shortstop and turned around he noticed that he was the only player on the field.
His fellow starters had stayed back so that their captain could take center stage in front of the fans who have adored him all these years. Jeet then made a come-on gesture with his glove for the guys to get out there with him. Another Jeter trait: he has never believe he could do it alone. Once again, he was saying, ‘We got a game today.’ ”
Judging from crowd reaction, there is probably no opposing player Yankees fans enjoy watching make out than David Ortiz. Loud cheers accompany every strikeout or batted ball that settles in a Yankees’ fielder’s glove.
And this has happened with the Red Sox noted designated hitter more times than you might think. Although he entered Thursday night’s game with a .310 average and 42 home runs in his career against the Yankees, Ortiz was a .241 hitter with eight home runs at Yankee Stadium.
Ortiz improved those numbers in his first two at-bats against Chris Capuano with a couple of home runs in staking Boston to a 3-0 lead in the third inning. With two out in the first, Ortiz ripped a lazar of a line drive off a 0-1 fastball that just cleared the wall in right field.
Two innings later with one out and a runner on first, Ortiz jumped on a first-pitch slider that hung and got stung into the right field bleachers. Ortiz’s 46th multi-homer game raised his season total to 32. There were no wild cheers in the stands either time, just a collection of ooohs and aahhs that such demonstrative displays with the bat from an opponent can generate.
And that explains why the cheers are so loud at the Stadium when he makes an out.
When it came to loud cheering, Derek Jeter earned that in the bottom of the third with a booming drive to the warning track in center field for a two-run double off Red Sox righthander Brandon Workman that cut the margin to 3-2.
It was the 540th two-base hit of Jeter’s career, which tied him with Hall of Famers Dave Winfield and Joe Medwick for 32nd place on the all-time list. More cheers were to come when Jeter raced home to tie the score on a two-out, ground single to right-center by Carlos Beltran.
Yankees fans finally got to shout at Ortiz in the fifth. One out after he gave up a tie-breaking homer to another left-handed hitter, Brock Holt, Capuano was spared another encounter with Ortiz and was replaced by lefthander Rich Hill, who used a tantalizing, 75-mph curve to strike him out to the absolute delight of Yankees fans.
In Saturday’s 4-3 Yankees victory over the Angels, Dellin Betances got his first major-league victory and catcher John Ryan Murphy his first major-league home run. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the seventh time in franchise history that the Yankees had a pitcher earn his first career victory and a player hit his first career homer in the same game.
It also happened in 1912 (Al Schulz victory and Jack Lelivelt home run), 1923 (George Pipgras and Lou Gehrig), 1943 (Butch Wensloff and Billy Johnson), 1947 (Dick Starr and Bobby Brown), 1965 (Rich Beck and Bobby Murcer) and 1980 (Mike Griffin and Joe Lefebvre). Elias also noted that Murphy was the first Yankees rookie catcher with one home run and three RBI in a game since Jorge Posada did it three times in 1997.
Alfonso Soriano has 992 career hits in the American League and 1,077 career hits in the National League. He needs eight hits to become the seventh player in history with at least 1,000 hits in each league. The others are Frank Robinson (1,184AL/1,759NL); Dave Winfield 1,976/1,134), Vlad Guerrero (1,375/1,215), Fred McGriff (1,143/1,347), Orlando Cabrera (1,020/1,035) and Carlos Lee (1,033/1,240). If Soriano reaches 1,000 hits in the AL, he would become the first player in MLB history to record 1,000 hits, 500 runs, 500 RBI, 100 home runs and 100 stolen bases in each league.
Former Yankees outfielder Dave Winfield is among four Hall of Fame players who will make up the inaugural class of the Negro Leagues Baseball Hall of Game. Lou Brock, Joe Morgan and the late Roberto Clemente will also be honored Saturday in induction ceremonies at the Negro League Baseball Museum and Gem Theater in Kansas City, Mo.
The day-long festivities include a press conference, VIP meet-and-greet, reception and dinner at the NLBM — followed by the Hall of Game inductions at the Gem Theater at 8 p.m.
The Hall of Game will annually honor former major league players who best exemplified the spirit and signature style of play that made Negro Leagues baseball a fan favorite. Inductees will also receive permanent recognition as part of the future Buck O’Neil Education and Research Center being developed by the NLBM at the site of the Paseo YMCA where Andrew “Rube” Foster established the Negro National League Feb. 13, 1920.
“This is truly a historic and proud day as we continue our efforts to celebrate the heritage of baseball,” NLBM president Bob Kendrick said. “The Hall of Game celebrates both the style and substance of the Negro Leagues which represented professional baseball at its absolute finest. Our inaugural class of Major League inductees were all, in their unique ways, connected to the Negro Leagues experience. Their play was reflective and reminiscent of that common thread and we’re delighted to welcome them into the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.”
In 2008, Winfield developed the Major League Baseball honorary draft of Negro League players by all 30 MLB teams. “It was a bridge between baseball’s past and baseball’s present,” said Winfield, who had 465 home runs among his 3,110 career hits over 22 seasons. “For all the surviving players and everyone involved, it was a wonderful day.”
David Robertson will represent the Yankees as one of the 30 club finalists for the Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet, which recognizes a major league player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.
The Clemente Award pays tribute to his achievements and character by recognizing current players who understand the value of helping others. The 15-time All-Star and Hall of Famer died in a plane crash New Year’s Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
David and his wife, Erin founded High Socks for Hope (a 501c3 nonprofit corporation) after tornadoes devastated his hometown of Tuscaloosa, Ala., in 2011. High Socks for Hope’s mission is to lend support to charities and organizations helping those affected by tragedies and provide humanitarian services for individuals in need.
In addition to helping residents of Tuscaloosa, High Socks for Hope has provided aid to those affected by the May 20, 2013, tornado in Moore, Okla., as well as individuals in New York who were affected by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. To help raise money for those in Tuscaloosa, Robertson donated $100 for every strikeout he recorded throughout the 2011-2012 seasons. The righthander racked up 181 strikeouts over the stretch. He has continued his pledge in the 2013 season for the residents of Moore.
In June of this year, the Robertsons teamed up with volunteers from NBTY Helping Hands to help welcome home families displaced by Hurricane Sandy. The Robertsons delivered and unloaded new furniture for four families in Far Rockaway, Queens, and made an additional donation to help furnish homes for six other families in the Far Rockaway area.
The Yankees will recognize D-Rob’s nomination for this year’s Clemente Award with an on-field ceremony Friday prior to their 7:05 p.m. game against the Giants.
Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 17, fans may participate in the process of selecting the national Roberto Clemente Award winner by visiting ChevyBaseball.com, which is powered by MLB Advanced Media, to vote for one of the 30 club nominees. Voting ends Sunday, Oct. 6, and participating fans will be automatically registered for a chance to win a trip to the 2013 World Series, where the national winner of the Roberto Clemente Award will be announced. The winner of the fan vote will receive one vote among those cast by the selection panel.
Yankees players who have received the Clemente Award were Ron Guidry in 1984, Don Baylor in 1985 and Derek Jeter in 2009. Others who played for the Yankees but won the award while with other clubs were Phil Niekro with the Braves in 1980, Dave Winfield with the Twins in 1994 and Al Leiter with the Mets in 2000. Leiter’s broadcast partner in the YES Network booth, Ken Singleton, won the award in 1982 with the Orioles.
Among the other winners are Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Brooks Robinson, Al Kaline, Willie Stargell, Lou Brock, Rod Carew, Gary Carter, Cal Ripken Jr., Barry Larkin, Ozzie Smith, Kirby Puckett and Tony Gwynn. Last year’s winner was Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw.
I saw something Thursday that I never saw before nor ever expected to see – Derek Jeter not running hard to first base. Jeter is on my list of players I have covered over the years who always – always – gave it their all running down the line, right up there with Pete Rose, Dave Winfield and Mookie Wilson.
So when I saw Jeet jogging the final third of the way to first base in the sixth inning I figured something was up. When Yankees manager Joe Girardi sent Brett Gardner up as a pinch hitter for Jeter in the eighth, my suspicions were confirmed. After the game, Suzyn Waldman of WCBS Radio and Meredith Marakovits of the YES Network were informed that Jeter would be unavailable for an on-field, postgame interview.
The warm and fuzzy feeling brought on by Jeter’s return to the Bronx Thursday turned gloomy when it was learned that in his first game back with the Yankees in 2013 Jeter felt tightness in his right quadriceps. Actually, the muscle tightened up slightly in his previous at-bat when he also tried to beat out a ground ball.
The Captain did that all game. He was not at shortstop but as the designated hitter as Girardi decided to ease Jeter back into the mix. DJ beat out an infield single in his first at-bat to the absolute delight of the Yankee Stadium crowd of 40,381 and grounded out his other three times up. On the last one, the quad wouldn’t allow him to go full throttle, which is as rare a sight as there can be in the major leagues.
Of course, Jeter considered the situation minor and fully expects to be back in the lineup Friday night against the Twins.
“It’s not frustrating yet,” he said. “We’ll see what the tests say. I hope it’s not a big deal.”
We have been down the road with Jeter before on these matters. He played much of the 2012 postseason on a weak left ankle that eventually gave way and shattered to knock him out of the American League Championship Series against the Tigers. While on the rehabilitation trail, the ankle broke in another spot pushing his recovery back toward the All-Star break, which is next week.
Jeter is back in pinstripes earlier than planned although later than he wanted. He could have done without the at-bats in the minors but acknowledged, “I understand you have to play games, but I felt that I was ready.”
The original plan was for Jeter to come back to the Yankees and play Friday night after another game as a DH for Triple A Scranton. Jeter was surprised when he returned a call from general manager Brian Cashman telling him to come to New York for Thursday’s game.
Leg injuries to Gardner and Travis Hafner Wednesday night had left the Yankees short. Jeter reached his Manhattan apartment at around 2:30 a.m., got to sleep at around 4, woke up at 6:30 and could not get back to sleep so he decided to get up and go to the Stadium early.
“No disrespect to rehab assignments, but this is Yankee Stadium,” Jeter said. “There’s a huge difference. For me, it was almost like Opening Day. The fans gave me a nice ovation.”
No one in the Stadium could hear the tape of the late Bob Sheppard announcing Jeter as he strode to the plate in the first inning because of the crowd’s reaction. The plate appearance allowed Jeter to tie teammate Mariano Rivera for the most seasons played (19) with the Yankees.
“I thought about that first at-bat ever since I got hurt,” Jeter said, “and I knew I was going to swing at the first pitch.”
Which he did; he hit a topper down the third base line and beat it out for his first hit of the year. He showed no leg problems running to third on a single by Robinson Cano and had a nice trot to the plate on Vernon Wells’ scoring fly ball. On that other trot in the sixth, Jeet was credited with a run batted in as Luis Cruz scored from third base. It was a nice beginning for Jeter, who got his first hit, first run and first RBI out of the way all in the same game.
Perhaps it was just an illusion, but all the Yankees seemed to have more spring in their step with the Captain back. They overcame deficits of 3-0 and 4-1 to take an 8-4 decision and earn a split of the four-game set with the Royals, which is meaningful after having lost the first two games. Three straight two-out singles by Lyle Overbay, Zoilo Almonte and Eduardo Nunez produced four runs in the fifth as the Yankees took control of the game.
The winning decision went to Andy Petttitte (6-5), who passed Bob Gibson on the all-time list of pitching victories with 252. It was not vintage Pettitte, who made an error on a bunt play and had his outfielders working overtime running down long drives. The way the offense has struggled so much of the season, three-run deficits can seem enormous to the Yankees, but Pettitte and the bullpen held KC scoreless after the second inning and waited for the hitters to take their cue from Jeter.
Now it is a matter of waiting for the test results to determine the severity of Jeter’s condition. At 39, the healing process can have more delays, which Jeter understands if reluctantly.
“Age doesn’t creep into my mind when I’m playing,” he said. “Maybe in the morning. . .”
So we wait for Friday morning and hope Thursday wasn’t too good to be true.
I remember the first time I walked out on the field at Citi Field the year it opened in 2009 and looked at the left field wall and thought what a mistake the Mets made. Instead of an eight-foot high fence such as the one at old Shea Stadium, the same area at Citi Field had a 16-foot wall that resembled the old San Diego Stadium, later known as Jack Murphy Stadium and Qualcomm Stadium.
Whatever name the San Diego yard had, it was a lousy idea to have such a wall around the outfield because it took away the possibility of an outfielder making a home run-robbing catch. I remember Dave Winfield making a fence-climbing grab in left field at Yankee Stadium during a playoff game in 1981 and telling me afterwards, “I couldn’t have done that in San Diego.”
In the same vein, one of the Mets’ greatest postseason moments at Shea could not have occurred at Citi Field in its first three seasons. Left fielder Endy Chavez’s leaping, glove-extending grab of a drive by Scott Rolen denied the Cardinals third baseman a two-run home run in the sixth inning of Game 7 of the 2006 National League Championship Series.
I covered that game for MLB.com and recall writing a story that rated Chavez’s play with those of other New York outfielders in postseason play, such as the World Series catches by the Dodgers’ Al Gionfriddo off the Yankees’ Joe DiMaggio in 1947, the Giants’ Willie Mays off the Indians’ Vic Wertz in 1954, the Dodgers’ Sandy Amoros off the Yankees’ Yogi Berra in 1955, the Yankees’ Mickey Mantle off the Dodgers’ Gil Hodges in 1956, the two beauties by the Mets’ Tommie Agee off the Orioles’ Elrod Hendricks and Paul Blair in 1969 and the Yankees’ Paul O’Neill’s hamstring-straining, game-ending rundown of a drive by the Braves’ Luis Polonia in 1996.
Although the Mets eventually lost the game and the series, Chavez’s catch has been defined as the greatest defensive play in Shea’s history, with only Ron Swoboda’s belly-flop snaring of a Brooks Robinson liner in Game 4 of the 1969 World Series qualifying as a rival, another play to which I referred in the 2006 NLCS story.
All of this came to mind Monday night when Yankees center fielder Brett Gardner took away a potential two-run home run by Daniel Murphy in the sixth inning that preserved at the time a 1-0 lead for the Bombers. Gardner was able to make such a smashing play because the Mets had the good sense to change the dimensions prior to the 2012 season.
Part of the reason for the change was that Mets right-handed hitters, particularly David Wright, the face of the franchise, were getting psyched out by the unfriendly distances. Wright and his pals would continually watch well-struck drives turn into 400-foot outs. But the best part may have been the erection of an eight-foot fence in front of the previous one. It created a party deck that has been a featured seating section and has allowed the outfielders to have a chance to act like Jesse James once in a while.
“Thank goodness it’s a part of the park where it’s a fence, not a wall,” Gardner said after the game. “The poles out there have got some pretty good pads in front of them, so I’m fine. It wouldn’t be as difficult if I was a little taller [5-foot-10]. You’ve just got to hope that you’re able to get a good clean jump. You want to get back there close to the fence as possible, but you don’t want to run into the fence or hit the fence on the way up. I was able to time it just right.”
It was a gem of a play, one that pitcher Phil Hughes called the best catch he ever saw from the mound. It certainly was reminiscent of the play Chavez made. Unfortunately for the Yankees, it was also similar to Chavez’s play in that the opposition came back to win the game.
Former Yankees outfielder Dave Winfield is among five Hall of Famers who will help select the design of a coin destined to become a favorite of baseball fans and coin collectors for generations to come.
Winfield was joined by Joe Morgan, Brooks Robinson, Ozzie Smith and Don Sutton on the panel selected by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and the United States Mint to help choose the image for the obverse (heads side) of the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin.
The design competition, which began April 11 and runs through noon May 11, is open to United States citizens and permanent residents ages 14 and older. The winner of the design competition will be awarded $5,000 and the winner’s initials will appear on the minted coins.
“This is a Hall of Fame lineup that’s sure to produce a winner,” Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson said. “Our Hall of Fame members show year-round support for our efforts to fulfill our mission to Preserve History, Honor Excellence and Connect Generations, and this is yet another example of the legends of the game stepping to the plate for the Museum. We are so appreciative of the efforts of Joe, Brooks, Ozzie, Don and Dave – and we all look forward to the final design selection.”
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Representative Richard Hanna (R-NY) sponsored the National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in 2012. The Coin Act calls for a three-coin program of $5 gold, $1 silver, and half-dollar clad coins, and requires a competition to select a common obverse design emblematic of the game of baseball.
“The Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin creates a lasting legacy for baseball and our national pastime,” Winfield said. “It is an honor for me to be a judge in this competition, to review submissions and help select the winning design that will appear on these coins. This program will ensure that the Hall of Fame can reach new audiences through its award-winning educational programs from Cooperstown for audiences around the world.”
In addition, the $5 gold and $1 silver coins will be the first “curved” coins minted and issued by the United States Mint, with the reverses (tail sides) being convex to more closely resemble a baseball and the obverses being concave to provide a more dramatic design. The winning obverse design will be unveiled later this year.
Guidelines for submitting designs include:
• The obverse design must be “emblematic of the game of baseball” and must include the inscriptions “Liberty,” “In God We Trust,” and “2014.”
• Two-dimensional designs must be monochrome, not color, and three-dimensional models must be made using neutral plaster or a durable plastic material and should be approximately 8” in diameter.
• Designs must not include the name or depiction of a real player or any other person, living or not.
• Designs must not include depictions, names, emblems, logos, trademarks or any other indicia associated with any specific commercial, private, educational, civic, religious, sports, or other organizations whose membership or ownership is not universal, including any current or former baseball team, either professional or amateur.
• Designs must not include any depiction of a real baseball stadium, field, arena, either in whole or in part, whether or not currently existing or in use.
• Employees of the Department of the Treasury, including the United States Mint and other Treasury offices and bureaus, are ineligible.
A Kids’ Baseball Coin Design Challenge for children ages 13 and younger is also being held separately through May 23. Winners of the Kids’ Baseball Coin Design Challenge for children ages 13 and under will receive a $1 silver National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin and a certificate. The winning children’s designs will also be showcased on the Department of the Treasury, United States Mint and National Baseball Hall of Fame websites. The Kids’ Baseball Coin Design Challenge is hosted on Challenge.gov. For more information, please visit http://www.usmint.gov/kids/kidsbatterup.
For both the design competition and the kids’ challenge, the United States Mint will be working with the U.S. Government website, http://www.challenge.gov. For guidelines, rules and entry instructions, please visit http://www.baseballhall.org/coin-design and http://www.usmint.gov.
Not to be flippant about it, but the Yankees saved their worst for last. Their season ended with a thud Thursday as Detroit completed a four-game sweep of the American League Championship Series with a convincing 8-1 victory. It marked the second consecutive season that the Tigers eliminated the Yankees from the postseason, becoming the first team to do that since the New York Giants in the World Series of 1921 and 1922. A year later, the Yankees won the first of their 27 championships, so maybe this will be a good omen.
Nothing feels good to the Yankees now. Getting swept in a postseason series is something the franchise is not used to. It had not happened to the Yankees since the 1980 ALCS when they lost in three games to the Royals back when the series was still a best-of-5. The Yankees had played 36 postseason series without getting swept before Thursday.
It is not at all that difficult to analyze what went wrong for the Yankees. They simply did not hit. They scored in only three of the 39 innings of the series and only six runs total. They never had the lead for a single inning in the series, something that happened to them only once before, in the 1963 World Series when they were swept by the Dodgers.
Actually, the Yankees’ offense was pretty scarce throughout the postseason, but they were picked up by their pitching staff. The remarkable work of the rotation also ended Thursday as CC Sabathia, who got the Yanks into the ALCS with a complete-game triumph over the Orioles in Game 5 of the AL Division Series, came apart.
But what the Yankees needed more than a big game from CC Thursday was a big game from the lineup. Nick Swisher came up with his first run-scoring hit with a runner in scoring position in this postseason with a double in the sixth inning, but that was it as the team that set a franchise record with 245 home runs this year continued to falter in the postseason. A team that averaged 1.5 home runs per game during the regular season had only seven home runs in nine postseason games.
Raul Ibanez supplied most of the muscle with three dramatic home runs, but the Yankees got no homers from their usual sluggers – Swisher, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano. It was not just a power outage, either. The Yankees’ team batting average was .157 in the ALCS and .188 overall in the postseason.
Ibanez’s heroics pinch hitting for Rodriguez in Game 4 of the ALDS unfortunately created a media circus around A-Rod, who had been rendered helpless against right-handed pitching in postseason play (0-for-18 with 12 strikeouts) and was benched in the final game of the ALDS and the last two games of the ALCS. Rodriguez has taken the blunt of the blame for the Yanks’ ouster, which is unfair.
He was part of the problem but by no means all of it. Eric Chavez, who replaced Rodriguez at third base, was hitless in 16 at-bats and made two costly errors in the ALCS. Curtis Granderson, who hit 43 home runs during the regular season, homered in Game 5 of the ALDS but was 0-for-11 in the ALCS. He had only two hits other than the home runs in 30 postseason at-bats and struck out 16 times. Swisher hit .167 with 10 strikeouts.
Then there was the strange case of Cano, who endured one of the cruelest postseasons for a New York player that brought to mind the struggles of Yankees right fielder Dave Winfield (1-for-22 in the 1981 World Series) and Brooklyn Dodgers first baseman Gil Hodges (0-for-21 in the 1952 World Series).
Cano entered the postseason as the hottest hitter in baseball with a streak of nine multi-hit games in which he went 24-for-39, a .615 tear. The All-Star second baseman managed only three hits in 40 postseason at-bats (.075), including 1-for-18 (.056) against Detroit pitching. Cano went 29 at-bats without a hit over one stretch, the longest postseason drought in club history, which covers a lot of ground. This was the Yankees’ 51st postseason covering 73 series.
As it turned out, 2012 was a season in which the Yankees peaked too soon. They were running away with the AL East by mid-July with a double-digit lead and then had to fight and claw to finish in first place at season’s end. The same Baltimore team that hounded them in the regular season pushed them to the full five games of the ALDS. A talented Detroit staff headed by the game’s most talent pitcher, Justin Verlander, kept the Yankees’ bat silenced.
Now silence is all there is left of the Yankees’ season.