December 30 – Top Five Yankee Highlights of the 2012 Season
Since no current or former Yankees are born on today’s date, I thought it would be an appropriate time to review the Pinstripe Birthday Blog’s five favorite moments of the Yankees’ 2012 season.
Number 1 – Rafael Soriano replacing Mariano Rivera as the Yankee Closer - In my humble opinion, Soriano deserves to be acknowledged as the Most Valuable Yankee of the 2012 season. Originally skipped over as Rivera’s replacement in favor of David Robertson, all this guy did was save 42 games in 46 chances from May 10th onward and shockingly make this impossible to believe statement true; “If Mariano Rivera was injured in May and couldn’t pitch another game this season, the Yankees would not miss him at all.”
Number 2 – Derek Jeter leads all of baseball in regular season hits with 216 - The Captain may not be immortal but a hits title and batting .316 as a 38-year-old cements his super hero status in my book. He has been a phenomenal Yankee and we are so lucky to have had this opportunity to watch him play the game at his level for so long.
Number 3 – Raul Ibanez ties Game 3 of the ALDS -He pinch hits for a struggling A-Rod in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 3 of the ALDS versus Baltimore and homers against the Major League saves leader Jim Johnson to tie the game.
Number 4 – Ibanez wins Game 3 of the ALDS – with a twelfth-inning walk-off home run off of Baltimore’s Brian Matusz.
Number 5 - Ibanez’s walk-off HR versus the Red Sox on October 2 - With the Yankees’ AL East lead over Baltimore down to just a half game, Raul Ibanez hit a walk-off home run against the Boston Red Sox reliever, Andrew Miller. The Yankees would win the next day and clinch the AL East division flag.
Honorable Mentions - Andy Pettitte’s return to the rotation; Curtis Granderson becoming the first Yankee outfielder since Babe Ruth to put together back-to-back 40-home run-100 RBI seasons; Robbie Cano going 24-43 (.558) during the last nine games of the 2012 regular season, driving in 15 runs and scoring 11 during that span to help New York hold-off the Orioles in the Division race.