2007 New York Yankees
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2007 New York Yankees / Franchise: New York Yankees / BR Team Page
Clinched Wild Card: September 26, 2007, At Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Managed by Joe Torre
When the 2007 New York Yankees opened their season, injuries sidelined starting pitchers Mike Mussina and Chien-Ming Wang, forcing Carl Pavano, who had missed the entire 2006 season, into the Opening Day starting assigment. Pavano was hurt again after only two starts, leaving only original starters Andy Pettitte and Kei Igawa active. The team set a major league record with 10 different starters in their first 30 games, including a record 6 rookies. Even the rookie hurlers were not immune from bad luck in the early going. Jeff Karstens was hit by a line drive off his first pitch on April 28, fracturing his right fibula. Philip Hughes pitched a hitless 6.1 innings against the Rangers on May 1 before leaving the game with a pulled hamstring. Closer Mariano Rivera blew 2 of his first 3 save opportunities and struggled in other appearances. Kei Igawa, acquired during the off-season for 46 million dollars from Japan's Hanshin Tigers, allowed 26 earned runs in 6 appearances for an ERA of 7.63. He was then sent to the Tampa Yankees, the Yankees Single A affiliate, to regain his composure.
Meanwhile, the offense led the American League in hits, home runs, and runs scored. Alex Rodríguez tied a record by hitting 14 home runs in April. Nonetheless, the Yankees suffered a seven-game losing streak after sweeping the Cleveland Indians at Yankee Stadium and ended April with a record of 9-14, good for last place in the AL East and 6½ games behind the Red Sox.
By early May, Mike Mussina and Chien-Ming Wang joined Andy Pettitte in the rotation, with newcomers Darrell Rasner and Matt DeSalvo filling in the remaining two slots. Alex Rodriguez's remarkable April had come to an end, but the bats kept up their pace and, with the bullpen getting some needed rest, the Yankees began May 7-2. owever, at the end of the month the Yankees were tied for last place with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and were 22-29, 13½ games behind the Red Sox. However, they gave their fans some hope by announcing that they had signed former ace Roger Clemens for the season, and that he would join the team in early June.
The Yankees began June with a strong 8-2 start. They opened with a series victory over the Red Sox in Boston, including a game-winning home run by Alex Rodriguez off closer Jonathan Papelbon in the final game of the set. They were struck by injuries again that weekend, as 1B Doug Mientkiewicz was injured in a collision at first base with Mike Lowell and Roger Clemens's first start was delayed by a groin injury. Nonetheless, the Yankees took 3 of 4 from the Chicago White Sox heading into an interleague series with the Pirates. Roger Clemens made his season debut on June 9 and earned the victory. The Yankees swept the Pirates and took a 9-game winning streak, their longest since May of 2005, into a subway series with the Mets. Clemens pitched strongly in the series opener, but the Yankees were shut out 2-0. They would rebound and take the next game 11-8. Later that day, the Yankees received news that Kei Igawa was ready to return to the Major Leagues. On July 1, they were still 11 games behind the division-leading Red Sox and 8 games behind the Wild Card-leading Tigers.
The Yankees began the first week of July strongly. They lost the final game of a series with Oakland before taking 3 out of 4 from the Minnesota Twins and 2 of 3 from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Alex Rodriguez was injured during the series with Minnesota, suffering a strained left hamstring. He missed one game before returning to action that weekend against the Angels. After winning the weekend series with the Angels, the Yankees went into the All-Star break with a 42-43 record and a 10 game deficit in the division behind the Boston Red Sox. This was the first time since 1995 that the Yankees were under .500 before the All Star Break. 
After the break, the Yankees took three out of four games from the Toronto Blue Jays and the last place Tampa Bay Devil Rays, twice. In the month of July, the Yankees traded relief pitcher Scott Proctor to the Los Angeles Dodgers for infielder Wilson Betemit. They also traded minor leaguer Jeff Kennard to the Angels for back-up catcher Jose Molina.
The beginning of August saw the Yankees eagerly awaiting home run number 500 from Alex Rodriguez. During the home run milestone chase, owner George Steinbrenner's health once again came into question when the New York Post and Daily News each reported that Steinbrenner, during a recent interview, appeared to be suffering from dementia. On August 4 during the first inning of a game with the Kansas City Royals, Rodriguez hit his 500th career home run, becoming the youngest player ever to do so at 32 years 8 days.
Awards and Honors
- All-Stars: Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Alex Rodriguez
- AL MVP: Alex Rodriguez
- AL Silver Slugger Award: Derek Jeter (SS), Jorge Posada (C) and Alex Rodriguez (3B);
ALDS vs. Cleveland Indians
|Game||Score||Date||Winning pitcher||Losing pitcher||Time (ET)||Attendance|
|1||New York Yankees 2 at Cleveland Indians 12||October 4||C.C. Sabathia (1-0)||Chien-Ming Wang (0-1)||6:30 p.m.||44,608|
|2||New York Yankees 1 at Cleveland Indians 2||October 5||Rafael Perez (1-0)||Luis Vizcaino (0-1)||5:00 p.m.||44,732|
|3||Cleveland Indians 4 at New York Yankees 8||October 7||Philip Hughes (1-0)||Jake Westbrook (0-1)||6:30 p.m.||56,358|
|4||Cleveland Indians 6 at New York Yankees 4||October 8||Paul Byrd (1-0)||Chien-Ming Wang (0-2)||7:30 p.m.||56,315|
- Tyler Kepner: "Yanks Took Long Way to Accustomed Spot", New York Times, September 27, 2007