by Cole Hoyt, Contributing Writer and Loyal Yankees Fan
The Yankees faithful held their breath Wednesday night after the Captain, Derek Jeter left game 3 of the American League Division Series in the 9th inning after reports claim that he re-aggravated his injury to his left leg. Hobbling around the bases did not stop Derek Jeter from getting a triple in the third inning. The shortstop was seen limping in-between innings.
Joe Girardi sure does know what he is doing. He pulled future Hall of Famer, third baseman Alex Rodriguez from the line-up. This was the first time A-Rod had been pulled from the line up and pinched hit for in a postseason game.
Even while only going just 1 for 12 with no runs batted in, some would still think that to leave the player with 647 career homeruns in the game, but not Girardi. To many peoples’ surprise, Girardi’s move paid off. Raul Ibanez pinched hit for A-Rod and hit his fourth pinch-hit homer to tie the game in the bottom of ninth inning.
Not surprisingly, A-Rod was the first to congratulate his teammate after the homerun. And then he did it again. In the bottom of the 12th inning Ibanez hit his second homerun of the game to take home the victory. At 40 years of age, Ibanez became the oldest Major League player with a postseason walk-off homerun. Just to add to the records, Ibanez was the first player in the history of major league baseball to hit a pinch-hit game tying homerun in the bottom of the 9thcoupled with a walk-off homer in extra innings. Girardi pulled A-Rod, who is baseball’s highest-paid player, making $30 million this season and inserted Ibanez, who is only making $1.1 million dollars. That is the crazy thing about baseball, especially in the post-season. It just depends who is hot and at the moment, Ibanez seems to be on fire.
Even though almost anyone would argue that Ibanez solely won the game for the Yankees, he told reporters that this was a team win, “I’m blessed to come up and have the opportunity like that. We do it together. It’s about a team and about winning.” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/10/yankees-beat-orioles-raul-ibanez-12th-inning_n_1956599.html).
Not only did the Yankees pull this win out of nowhere, but they did it against the Baltimore Orioles who have been beyond clutch in the late innings this season. The O’s are 29-9 in one run games this season. This was the best since the 1890 Brooklyn Bridegrooms. On top of that, the Orioles are 16-2 in extra innings this season, which is the most wins since the 1999 Atlanta Braves. What makes the Yankees true World Series favorites, besides all of the known variables, the New York Yankees seem to have the “x-factor” that is needed to win in the postseason.
The Yanks now have a 2-1 lead in the AL division series. Phil Hughes will start for the Bombers Thursday night as the Baltimore Orioles will send either Chris Tillman or Joe Saunders to the hill. The Yankees plan to win at all costs Thursday to eliminate the O’s from the playoffs and move onto the next round.
Stay tuned for more post-season coverage.