The New York Yankees suffered a very disappointing four-game sweep to the Detroit Tigers in the 2012 American League Division Series. As disappointed in the Yankees' play as I was, I do not find the Yankees' loss heartbreaking. They never seemed to have a chance throughout the entire series, especially after losing Derek Jeter to injury. On the other hand, these five postseason losses were heartbreaking considering how close the Yankees came to winning them.
The Wild Card Yankees led 2-1 in the ALDS against the Cleveland Indians. In Game 4, the Yankees led 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth. Mariano Rivera elevated a two-out fastball to Sandy Alomar, Jr. Alomar sent the pitch into the right-field stands to tie the game. Cleveland won Game 4 and then finished the comeback with a 4-3 win in Game 5 the next night.
The Yankees got ninth-inning game-tying two-run blasts in Games 4 and 5 to take the World Series lead 3-2 over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Arizona won Game 6 very easily. In Game 7, the Yankees led 2-1 in the ninth with Mariano Rivera on the mound. Two bunt plays set up the inning. Rivera's crucial throwing error on the first bunt put the tying run in scoring position. A missed double-play opportunity on the second bunt allowed the winning run to reach. Arizona soon tied the score and got the bases loaded with one out. Luis Gonzalez delivered the final blow, a soft single to end the Yankees' bid for a fourth straight World Series title.
Detroit also knocked the top-seeded Yankees out of the 2011 postseason. The Yankees tied the series at 2-2 on A.J. Burnett's pitching gem. In Game 5, Ivan Nova could not keep Detroit from scoring early, and the Yankees never caught up. The heart of the order could not even get on base in the ninth, and when Alex Rodriguez struck out, the Yankees' season ended in defeat.
The Yankees won the first American League Wild Card in 1995. They won the first two games of the ALDS with the Seattle Mariners. Seattle took Games 3 and 4, both slug fests. The Yankees led Game 5 4-2 in the eighth when Seattle scored two to tie it. New York took a 5-4 lead in the 11th. Edgar Martinez lined a double to left in the bottom of the 11th, scoring two. Ken Griffey, Jr. slid in ahead of the throw to keep the Yankees from advancing to their first ALCS since 1981.
The most heartbreaking Yankees' loss of all time has to be the 2004 crumble to their biggest rival, the Boston Red Sox. After winning the first three games, the Yankees were three outs from completing the sweep. Boston began its comeback. Dave Roberts stole second and scored on a single. David Ortiz later popped a 12th-inning walk-off home run to win Game 4. The Red Sox won Games 5, 6, and 7 to complete the most incredible comeback - and collapse -- in MLB history. Johnny Damon's grand slam put Game 7 out of reach.
The 2012 ALDS was very disappointing, but these five were heartbreaking, The Yankees have lost other postseason series in the wild card era, but they have also won five World Series. I fully expect them to reach the World Series again in the near future.
Baseball Reference, Series Games (Linked in subheading), baseball-reference.com.
Major League Baseball, Video Highlights (Linked within paragraphs), mlb.mlb.com.
Raymond was born in Connecticut into a family spilt between the Red Sox and Yankees. Although he grew up in Florida, Raymond became a Yankee fan. He played baseball through high school and soon after became a varsity coach. Raymond previously produced radio sports talk shows and hosted a weekly MLB radio call-in show. Follow Raymond on Twitter @RayBureau.
More from this contributor:
- Sports & Recreation
- Mariano Rivera