Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone who celebrates it! And a Happy Thursday to everyone else!
Yesterday, I began the recap of last year’s postseason escapades. Now, I’ve never been a big fan of the “sweep” in longer series due to the occurrence of a longer break between the series, and actually, last year’s postseason proved that teams that swept usually got swept on their next series (like Detroit from the ALCS to the World Series), while teams that had to play most of their games in one series were able to continue their momentum to win (like San Francisco from the NLCS to the World Series).
After clinching their 18th AL East division title, the Yankees went 3-for-5 in the division serious over the Orioles, who had been threatening to unseat their #1 position since nearly the All-Star Break. (Though I am proud to say the Bombers never gave up their top spot!)
- In Game 1, Russell Martin started a run-rally in the 9th inning which ended with a 7-2 Yankees win.
- Game 2 went to the Orioles 3-2, in a bit of back-and-forth game.
- Back in the Bronx for Game 3, going into the bottom of the 9th inning and down 2-1, Raul Ibanez, pinch-hitting for struggling Alex Rodriguez, smacked a gorgeous right field homer to send the game into extra innings and then proceeded to walk-off another one in the bottom of the 12th inning. (And the “King of New York” was born!)
- Game 4 had them tied 1-1 until an Oriole double at the top of the 13th inning brought a Baltimore victory.
- Going into Game 5 with a tied series, Yankees triumphantly hold their early lead, with a little help from the “King”. The Yankees were headed into the Championship series on a high, but with some minor exceptions, their usual stars weren’t performing up to par.
At this point, I should also point out the 2012 season wasn’t looking good for the Yankees at all in the Post-Season, mainly due to the ridiculous amount of injuries the team had endured. Retired Andy Pettitte returned to the mound in May and by June was out due to a broken ankle only to be back strong in September and the Post-Season. Mark Teixeira spent a good portion of August and September out with a strained calf muscle. The ever-reliable Derek Jeter had his share of scrapes and close calls; after getting a wild pitch that broke his helmet in Cleveland in August and several fouled-off balls on his left foot, he remained slightly wounded with a severe bone bruise for most of September and October, ever determined to still play every game Girardi would let him. Alex Rodriguez seemed to have some recurring hip pain, which contributed to his limited range of motion and poor performance in the Fall. And while every team that season seemed plagued with numerous injuries, it seemed the Yankees were always putting someone on the Disabled List at least once a week during the regular season. It became a game of “Who’s Next?”.
I guess today’s post is reminding me of all the negative press the Yankees get at the beginning of every year, including this year. Every year, the sports analyst discount them, and every year, they just prove them wrong. It’s too bad it usually takes 7 months for the desk-bound guys to act surprised at the fact that we Yankee fans already know — they’re the Yankees, so they’ll be amazing no matter who’s injured or traded or struggling. It’s always a team, no matter who’s on the roster that day.