New York Yankees: The 2010s in review (2010-2014)
By Ryan Touhey
Record: 95-67, 1st in the AL East
Key Acquisitions: Andy Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda, Ichiro Suzuki, Raul Ibanez, Eric Chavez
Key Departures: Jorge Posada, A.J. Burnett
The 2012 Yankees season would end up being quite emotional. Posada retired but Andy Pettitte came out of retirement, and the team would take a massive blow in May when closer Mariano Rivera suffered a torn ACL while shagging fly balls in Kansas City. At the beginning of the season, the Yankees were playing mediocre and uninspiring baseball, sitting at .500, 21-21, through May 21.
Things turned around in June when they went on a 10-game win streak and started to pull away from the rest of the competition in the East. They got a lot of contributions from veterans, especially Jeter, who at 38, turned in a stupendous season, hitting .316, and leading the league with 216 hits. They also received perennial All-Star Ichiro Suzuki from Seattle in July who was another important contributor for the team, as he hit .322 in pinstripes.
The team would hit a skid towards the end of the season and the Baltimore Orioles caught fire and momentarily took possession of first place. However, the Yankees fought back and ended up winning the division by two games. They would end up facing Baltimore in the first round of the postseason.
Both teams struggled mightily offensively throughout the series. Rodriguez was the center of attention, as he was striking out at a rapid pace, especially in big spots. But he wasn’t the only Yankee. Curtis Granderson, Cano, Swisher and Mark Teixeira were all having miserable Octobers.
Only Raul Ibanez’s heroics and C.C. Sabathia’s complete-game victory in the deciding Game 5 saved the Yankees’ season. They’d move on to the Championship Series where for the second straight year, they’d meet the Tigers. The Yankees made a ninth-inning comeback in the first game but still lost 6-4.
To make matters worse, Jeter broke his ankle trying to field a ground ball, effectively ending his season. It would also be the final postseason appearance of his HOF career. The rest of the Yankees had no answers whatsoever for Detroit at the plate. Everybody looked lethargic and lazy after Jeter went down. By the fourth game, down 3 games to 0, they had all but given up. The Tigers spanked them 8-1 in Game 4 to advance to the World Series.
Analysis: Of all the Yankee seasons this decade, 2012 might be the most frustrating, at least for me personally. The Yankees were a better team than the Tigers that year and there are no ifs, ands or buts about it. There just didn’t seem to be much urgency from anybody in the postseason, especially from guys like Cano, Granderson, and A-Rod, who were the key RBI guys and all ended up looking lost at the plate.
To make matters worse, the Tigers showed who they truly were in the World Series when they were easily kicked to the curb by the Giants in four straight. Suffice it to say, the 2012 Yankees just seemed to have lost their motivation competitive fire when it mattered most.