The New York Yankees' whirlwind 2013 may not have culminated with a playoff berth, but that's not to say there weren't some unforgettable moments for the Bronx Bombers during the season.
There were franchise-changing developments that occurred in 2013, and there were also several personal milestones that were achieved along the way. One such milestone was Ichiro Suzuki's 4,000th professional hit (remember: he totaled 1,278 hits in Japan).
Even Ichiro's unbelievable feat wasn't enough to crack the top-five moments from the 2013 season. That should be an indication of just how magical 2013 was at times for the Bombers.
What memories will be made in 2014 are obviously up in the air, but it will be hard for the new year to top the happenings of 2013.
With the Yankees clinging to extraordinarily slim playoff hopes midway through August, newly acquired left fielder Alfonso Soriano did the best he could to keep his team in the playoff race.
In a four-game stretch from Aug. 13 to Aug. 16, Soriano went off for 12 hits and 18 RBI—both major league records.
Unfortunately, Soriano's outburst wasn't enough to propel the Yankees into the postseason. His exploits overall gave the Yankees hope, though, as he produced a .256/.325/.525 line with 17 home runs and 50 RBI in 58 games with the Bombers.
In 2014, Soriano figures to see split time in outfield and at designated hitter with newly acquired Carlos Beltran and Jacoby Ellsbury. He'll still be featured prominently in the lineup (my best guess would be in the six hole), and the Yankees will be looking from more offensive outbursts from their streaky outfielder.
On April 12, the Baltimore Orioles had CC Sabathia on the ropes in the bottom of the eighth inning. There were two on with no outs and Manny Machado at the dish. Needless to say, it wasn't an ideal scenario for the Yankees.
That is, until something pretty magical happened.
That "something magical" can be defined as "4-6-5-6-5-3-4."
Machado hit a ball to Robinson Cano, who tossed the ball to shortstop Jayson Nix to get the force out at second base. Nix immediately threw to Kevin Youkilis at third, who tagged out the lead runner after a brief rundown.
Then, Youkilis threw to Lyle Overbay, who threw to Cano, who tagged out Machado trying to get to second base while the rundown on the other side of the diamond was occurring.
It was the Yankees' first triple play since April 22, 2010.
Derek Jeter's 2013 was, in large part, a huge disappointment. He played in just 17 games after various leg injuries and posted a line of .190/.288/.254.
It started off on the best note possible, though, further establishing Jeter's flare for the dramatic.
In only his second game of the season on July 28—he played his first on July 11, only to return to the disabled list—Jeter stepped into the box against Tampa Bay Rays All-Star left-hander Matt Moore, a pitcher that generally utilizes the outer portion of the plate against right-handed batters effectively. But he left a pitch just a bit too high.
On a typical Jeter-esque swing, the Captain flipped the ball to right-center field and over the wall for a home run on the first pitch he saw after returning.
That wound up being the only home run Jeter would record last season. He finished with just seven RBI and 12 total hits. Next season will be a redemption year for the Captain.
Fittingly, Andy Pettitte's final career start came in a Yankee uniform in front of his home crowd in Houston.
Nobody would have predicted the dominant performance he put together, though.
Pettitte allowed one run in the bottom of the fourth before the Yankees rallied for two runs of their own in the top half of the sixth. This proved to be all the cushion Pettitte would need, as he fired his first complete game since August 16, 2006.
To say it was the perfect end to a storied career would be an understatement.
Pettitte finished off one of the best pitching careers in the history of the Yankees with a productive 2013 at the age of 41. He finished with an ERA of 3.74 and an 11-11 record. Pettitte never had a losing season in the bigs, and it was just the second time he ever finished a year at .500.
His place in Yankees lore is set forever.
Sept. 26, 2013 will be marked as the end of a 19-year era for the Yankees that witnessed them win five World Series titles on the shoulders of the greatest relief pitcher in the history of Major League Baseball.
Mariano Rivera called it quits at the end of 2013, and his final home game was a spectacle. Naturally, Rivera came into the game for the final time in front of his Yankee Stadium fans. It was something manager Joe Girardi would have done even if starter Ivan Nova was tossing a no-hitter.
Rivera couldn't close the game out with a save—the Yankees lost to the Rays, after all—but his exit is one of the most memorable in baseball history.
Career-long teammates Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte came to pull Rivera from the game in the top of the ninth inning. Rivera, awe-struck by what was happening, broke down in tears immediately. He knew that he had just thrown the last pitch of his career.
In a memorable MLB season, Rivera's final home appearance likely takes the cake as the moment of 2013.
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