If, at the end of the regular season, someone should have predicted that the stars of the Yankees’ playoff run would be Raul Ibanez and the bullpen and that number 2, shortstop and Captain, Derek Jeter would end his series in hospital there would have been gasps of disbelief and ridicule. Let’s see who except Raul Ibanez among the batters managed to stand up and be counted (Jeter pun intended)
|New York Yankees – Batting – Month – October|
Derek Jeter. The Captain was the leader of the team in every sense until he broke his left ankle in the first game of the Yankees’ Championship series against Detroit. When he collapsed the hopes of his team disappeared with him. That nobody came to fill that void is shown by the fact that they did not win a game without him and that he still led the team in batting average at the end of the ALCS.
Mark Teixeira. This columnist accused the Yankees of rushing some injured players back into the lineup when they were physically fit but not yet up to pace for game fitness. Teixeira was one of those that could have used more days on a farm team and it showed particularly in the playoffs as he progressively improved as time and games went by.
Ichiro Suzuki. Ichiro did better in virtually every category at New York than he did in Seattle in 2012. This trend for improved performance continued in the Division series and makes the swift, single-hitting Oriental a good bet to re-sign with the Yankees whose stadium is more normally seen as a boon for home-run hitters.
Eduardo Nunez. If you had to look down the list of players who batted for the Yankees in the post-regular-season series and guess who had spent most of the year at Triple A, you would be unlikely to guess Nunez. He looked good following his September call-up and did well in his cameo roles in the playoffs.
Eric Chavez. When the Yankees took the brave decision that Alex Rodriguez was struggling even more than in the rest of 2012 to hit right-handed hitters, the mantle fell to Chavez. What Girardi didn’t gamble upon is that Chavez looked worn out after a long season with more starting lineup time than expected and drew a complete blank swinging at the very pitchers that A-Rod couldn’t hit.
Alex Rodriguez. Most post-regular-season appearances have been a wash out for A-Rod and as we have already hinted this was even moreso. All his offensive statistics have fallen this year but he was holding his own until the Division series began. Rumours of dugout shenanigans added to the upset of his benching but in reality he had little to complain about.
Nick Swisher. As the year drew to a close we had Swisher being booed by the very Bleacher Creatures who have taken this erratic star to heart in previous years. One of his off-form streaks coincided with the playoffs and he was numbered among the majority of players who will be remembered for their bats falling silent.
Russell Martin. The only surprise about the catcher’s role for the New York Yankees in the playoff series was that Martin bore the whole weight with Stewart not getting a single at-bat and Cervelli not making the roster. To be fair September had probably been Russell’s best month as he finally managed to bat over .200 but it was predictable that he would do little in the ALCS and ALDS as all around him fell silent too.
Brett Gardner. Gardner achieved more as a late innings running sub (with 2 stolen bases) than he did with the bat where he filled all the columns with goose eggs. This has the knock-on effect that he is more likely to be back in New York as a bench player than an every day starter because the Yankees are unlikely to carry two hit-for-average outfielders next season and Ichiro now moves to the head of the queue if Swisher should be encouraged to test the marketplace for his talents.
Robinson Cano. Cano not only surprised by failing to hit in the playoffs but at times he looked like he would rather be somewhere else as he displayed the nonchalance and lack of hustle that we thought was a thing of the past.
Raul Ibanez. While 90% of Yankees’ bats whiffed wildly, Ibanez was the surprising cameo star. He led the team in slugging, OPS and OBP whilst others faltered massively. Consequently, he is a good possibility to be back in pinstripes in 2013.
Curtis Granderson. How much did the Yankees need Granderson in the playoffs? How little did he deliver? Once again, he led the Yankees in strikeouts and post-playoff rumours about him being sent for eye tests look likely to be true.