Looking Back at the Clutch Hits of Raul Ibanez in 2012

Doug RushSenior Analyst IOctober 11, 2012

Looking Back at the Clutch Hits of Raul Ibanez in 2012

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    Every time Raul Ibanez grabs a bat in 2012, it seems like a big hit is coming.

    On Wednesday night, during Game 3 of the ALDS between the Yankees and Orioles, Ibanez hit two home runs to help the Bombers win Game 3 and give them a 2-1 lead in the series.

    Ibanez has been nothing short of a bargain, signing for $1.1 million back in the winter and was chosen to be the designated hitter over Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Vladimir Guerrero.

    Yankees GM Brian Cashman clearly got this signing right, as Ibanez is still playing baseball, while the other three didn't see the field for most of the 2012 season.

    How big has Ibanez come up for the Yankees with the home runs and hits?

    Lets go back and click through to see just how great of a hitter Ibanez has been in 2012 for the Yankees.

April 6, 2012

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    On opening day, Raul Ibanez started off his Yankees tenure with a home run, giving them the lead at the time.

    In the top of the third, Ibanez hit a three-run home run off David Price that gave the Yankees a 6-4 lead.

    The Yankees did lose to the Rays 7-6, but this was a sign of things to come for Ibanez during the season.

April 10, 2012

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    At Camden Yards, Raul Ibanez burned the Orioles early on in the season.

    In the top of the 12th inning against Pedro Strop, Ibanez hit a ground-rule double over the right-field wall and gave the Yankees the lead 5-4 with what turned out to be the game-winning hit.

    This was the first game-winning hit that Ibanez came up with for the Yankees, and it wouldn't be the last time Ibanez got to the Orioles.

April 15, 2012

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    On Jackie Robinson Day, Raul Ibanez hit his first late-inning home run to give the Yankees breathing room.

    In the bottom of the eighth inning, Ibanez hit a two-run home run off Jason Isringhausen that gave the Yankees an 11-5 lead over the Los Angeles Angels.

    It wasn't a game-tying or winning home run, but it showed that Ibanez can hit a home run in the later innings.

May 8, 2012

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    Two home run games seem to be a theme here.

    Against the Tampa Bay Rays back on May 8, Ibanez cranked out two home runs for the Yankees.

    In the fourth inning, Ibanez hit a two-run home run off James Shields that put the Yankees up 2-0.

    Then, in the bottom of the seventh inning, Ibanez hit his second of the game, a solo home run off Burke Badenhop that put the Yankees up 4-2.

    The Yankees went on to win 5-3.

May 11, 2012

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    The Yankees were trailing the Seattle Mariners 2-1 back on May 11 at Yankee Stadium.

    Then, in the bottom of the sixth inning, Raul Ibanez stepped up and hit a go-ahead, three-run home run to put the Yankees up 4-2.

    The Yankees went on to win the game 6-2.

May 18, 2012

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    On May 18, 2012, Raul Ibanez was able to preserve Andy Pettitte's first win of the season with a big home run.

    Down 2-0 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Ibanez crushed a pitch over the seats for a two-run home run against Bronson Arroyo, putting the Yankees ahead 4-0.

    The Yankees held on to win 4-0.

June 23, 2012

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    In the second game of the Subway Series at Citi Field, the Mets were winning 3-0.

    And then in the top of the seventh inning Raul Ibanez came up to bat against Chris Young and drilled a game-tying, three-run home run, turning the score from 3-0 to 3-3 with one swing of the bat.

    The Yankees went on to win the game 4-3 on the strength of an Eric Chavez home run two batters later.  

July 6, 2012

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    At Fenway Park, the Yankees and Red Sox were in the midst of a total slug-fest.

    Heading into the top of the seventh inning, the Red Sox were up 7-6, but that lead wouldn't last for long.

    After Mark Teixeira's two-run triple gave the Yankees an 8-7 lead, Raul Ibanez hit an RBI double off Scott Atchison to score Teixeira and give the Yankees a 9-7 lead.

    The Yankees went on to win 10-8.

July 16, 2012

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    Heading into the bottom of the eighth inning against the Blue Jays, the game was tied 2-2.

    Then, with the bases loaded and facing Jason Frasor, Raul Ibanez crushed a grand slam that put the Yankees ahead 6-2.

    The Yankees went on to win the game 6-3.

August 5, 2012

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    Against his former team, Raul Ibanez was able to provide two crucial hits.

    In the bottom of the fifth inning against the Mariners, Raul Ibanez hit a solo home run that made the game 4-2.

    Then, in the bottom of the sixth inning, Ibanez padded the lead with a two-run single to make it 6-2.

    The Yankees held on to win 6-2.

September 22, 2012

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    This was one of the craziest finishes I had seen all year long.

    Last month against Oakland, the A's scored four runs to make it 9-5 in the top of the 13th inning.

    The Yankees weren't out of the game though.

    Ichiro Suzuki scored on a wild pitch to make it 9-6. Then Eduardo Nunez hits a sac fly to make it 9-7.

    And then Raul Ibanez came up and hit a game-tying, two-run home run off Pat Neshek to make it 9-9.

    The Yankees went on to win 10-9 in the bottom of the 14th inning on a throwing error.

October 2, 2012

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    Nine days before his big hitting night against the Orioles, Raul Ibanez terrorized the Red Sox into submission.

    Boston was up 3-1 in the bottom of the ninth of a game the Yankees couldn't afford to lose, as they were trying to fight off the Orioles in the A.L. East.

    After Curtis Granderson got on base, Ibanez pinch-hit for Eduardo Nunez and hit a game-tying, two-run home run off Andrew Bailey that made it 3-3.

    Then, in the bottom of the 12th inning against lefty Andrew Miller, Ibanez hit a single through the infield to score Francisco Cervelli and give the Yankees a 4-3 victory.

October 10, 2012

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    And now, Game 3 of the ALDS against the Orioles.

    With Alex Rodriguez hitting 1-for-12 in the series with eight strikeouts, Joe Girardi pulled off the biggest gamble of the night by electing to pinch-hit for A-Rod with Raul Ibanez.

    Against Orioles closer Jim Johnson in the bottom of the ninth inning with one out, Ibanez drilled a game-tying, solo home run into the right field seats, tying the game at 2-2.

    Then, in the bottom of the 12th inning, Ibanez came up again with lefty Brian Matusz on the mound.

    And again, Ibanez cranked out a game-winning, solo home run into the second deck of Yankee Stadium and gave the Yankees a 3-2 win over Baltimore.

In Conclusion...

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    In 2012, Raul Ibanez ended the year hitting .240 with 19 home runs and 62 RBI.

    Of those 19 home runs, 10 were in the sixth inning or later.

    And then on Wednesday night, Ibanez hit two more to put that number up to 12. But those two homers meant so much more for the Yankees.

    If not for Raul Ibanez, the Yankees would be one loss away from being out of the playoffs.

    For a mere $1.1 million, Ibanez may have been one of the best signings of the 2012 season.

    And I have a feeling he's not done with the big hits and home runs yet, as the playoffs continue onward.