The 2012 New York Yankees' season started out with many question marks at the beginning of the year. Regardless of roster changes, rotation questions, injuries and age the goal never changes in the Bronx, win a World Championship.
Before we could look ahead we must look back and put a bow on the season with the good, the bad and the ugly.
The good for this team was that they finished with the best record in the American League at 95-67 (the fourth straight year of 95 wins) and got better than average starting pitching (three starters with 15 wins or more for the first time since 2006), set a franchise record with 245 home runs (nine players with at least 15 home runs franchise record) and had one of the best bullpens in the majors.
Derek Jeter at the ripe old age of 38 had his second best season in his storied career leading the league with 216 hits, batting .316 and played in 159 games (the most games since 2006).
Cody Eppley (3.33 ERA) and Clay Rapada (2.82 ERA) were strong additions each pitching over 40 innings and keeping the Yankees in many ball games. Rookie David Phelps (2.76 ERA) showed he is a player serving both as a starter and reliever in over 42 innings of work this year. Kudos to Rafael Soriano the unsung hero who recorded 42 out of 46 save opportunities taking over for the greatest closer in MLB history.
Raul Ibanez (19 HRs), Andruw Jones (14 HRs), Eric Chavez and Jayson Nix had key roles playing more then expected with the injury to Brett Gardner and resting starters.
The late addition of Ichiro Suzuki was a nice jumpstart for this team who hit .322 in only 277 ABs as a Yankee.
Yankees' pitching (2.25 ERA) in the post season was outstanding keeping the Bombers in every game till the clinching game Thursday afternoon.
New York weathered the storm most of the season starting with the loss of Michael Pineda before he threw even one pitch in the Bronx, Mariano Rivera lost for the season, 17 DL stints by key players including starting pitchers and position players.
There was the bad batting barely around .200 with RISP and leaving so many on base, unable to get runners over or manufacture a hit in many key situations. They were 1-58 when trailing after eight innings with only five walk off wins.
Russell Martin had his worst season in Pinstripes hitting below the Mendoza line for most of the season and ended up hitting .211 with 95 strikeouts in 133 games played.
Ivan Nova (12-8) seemed to have taken a step back from last season giving up a career high 28 homers and allowing 95 earned runs.
Jones tanked late in the season batting .167 over the last 30 games of the season and being left off of the post season roster.
The ugly for these Yankees came in the post season having the second worst post season batting average (.188) in history and not leading once in the ALCS. Many teams can overcome a couple of guys slumping at once, but in this case the Yankees had seven position players batting under .200 for the entire post season. Only Derek Jeter, Ichiro Suzuki, Raul Ibanez and Mark Teixeira were hitting over .275.
Nick Swisher complaining about the Bleacher Creatures booing him and heckling him about causing Jeter's injury when he misplayed a ball in Game 1 of ALCS. Bald Vinnie the leader of the Creatures emailed the Bergen Record and told them it wasn't the bleacher section yelling at Swisher. He said they would never do that to anyone in Pinstripes. The culprits were the box seats in right field yelling their displeasure to Swisher regarding his play.
Derek Jeter diving for a ball in Game 1 of the ALCS and breaking his ankle. The Captain played hurt for almost the entire month of September and into the playoffs after fouling a ball off his ankle. Jeter still led this team batting .333 in the post season and showing the leadership and courage despite his injury.
Even though all the attention surrounded Alex Rodriguez (3-25, .125, 12 strikeouts) this post season he had some partners in crime when it came to the deafening silent bats. Robinson Cano (3-40, .075), Swisher (5-30, .167) and Curtis Granderson (3-30, .100, 16 strikeouts) were the biggest culprits in this post season collapse. New York barely got out of the first round against the Baltimore Orioles only to get swept by the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS.
Over the Hot Stove season and next couple of months they will be many rumors and speculation regarding this Yankee team for 2013. Changes will be made, there always are, and the Steinbrenner family and general manager Brian Cashman have a lot decisions regarding free agents on who to bring back, what options to pick up and if there is any alternatives in the farm system getting close to break on the Major League level.
This all will make for another interesting off season in the Bronx. Makes you wonder what would the Boss be thinking right now?
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