The 2013 New York Yankees season was the 113th season for the New York Yankees franchise. The Yankees began their season at home with an 8–2 loss against the Boston Red Sox on April 1. They finished tied for third place in the American League East with an 85-77 record, which was their worst since 1992. The Yankees failed to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and only the second time in nineteen years.
Following a sour four-game sweep in the 2012 American League Championship Series and the loss of Derek Jeter to a broken ankle, expectations entering the Yankees' 113th season were uncharacteristically low. With the Blue Jays and Red Sox each making key acquisitions in the offseason as Yankee GM Brian Cashman's adjusted his strategy toward salary reduction, the American League East Division's reputation as a perennial powerhouse had shifted sharply against the Yankees. On Opening Day, the Bombers hosted their long–time rivals, the Boston Red Sox, but lost 8–2. Their next game was also a defeat, but veteran pitcher Andy Pettitte was able to prevent an early sweep by pitching to a 4–2 victory. Mariano Rivera would also earn his first save in what would be a farewell tour of sorts for the future Hall of Fame closer.
Much to the surprise of fans and pundits alike, the injury-plagued Yankees held a first place lead in the division at the end of April with a record of 16–10. On April 12, they turned a 4–6–5–6–5–3–4 triple play in the 8th inning of a 5-2 win against the Baltimore Orioles.
On May 9, Yankees second baseman Robinson Canó hit his 1500th career hit with a single to center field at Coors Field in a 3-1 win against the Colorado Rockies. Without the help of core players Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, and Mark Teixeira, all of whom had been assigned to extended DL stints, the Yankees remained competitive through shrewd acquisitions of journeyman and platoon roleplayers such as Travis Hafner, Brennan Boesch, Lyle Overbay, and former Boston Red Sox first-baseman Kevin Youkilis. Though Granderson and Teixeira would return to the Yankee lineup by early summer, both would return to the DL after each suffered further injury. On May 30, the Yankees were swept by their crosstown rival New York Mets for the first time in the season series between the teams after a 3–1 loss at home. The Mets' sweep come a full decade after the 2003 Yankees won all six games from the Mets. In the second game, Mariano Rivera suffered his first blown save of the season and the first in his career where he failed to get an out by allowing two runs in the ninth in a 2-1 loss.
Despite entering the month of June with winning records for both April and May, the Yankees would finish the month with unimpressive offensive productivity and, due in large part to continued injury, a frustratingly inconsistent lineup. Following a sweep of the Cleveland Indians, the Yankees took three out of four games in Seattle and seemed capable of maintaining competitiveness until some of their core players returned. On June 8, Andy Pettitte won his 250th career win and Mariano Rivera continued his age-defying season by earning his 22nd save. But by the end of an extended west coast trip, Kevin Youkilis and Mark Teixeira's injuries were aggravated and both were lost for the remainder of the season. The Yankees lost three games against the Oakland Athletics, including the 18-inning finale to complete the sweep. The end of June looked bleak for the Yankees, winning only one of three games against the Texas Rangers and getting swept by the Baltimore Orioles for the first time since 2005. The Yankees finished June with a record of 11 wins and 16 losses, the first time they finished a month with a losing record since September 2010, where they went 12–15.
July showed some improvement after winning six straight games, their longest winning streak of the year. On July 1, pitcher Andy Pettitte recorded his 1,958th strikeout as a Yankee, becoming the franchise's all-time strikeout leader with a strikeout of the Minnesota Twins' Justin Morneau, surpassing Whitey Ford. They swept a four-game set against the Twins in Minnesota and won the first two of three at home versus the Orioles, but Rivera's second blown save of the season, similar to the first (allowing two runs in the ninth in a 2-1 loss) snapped the streak. The Yankees finished the first half by losing two of three to the Twins at home for the first time since 2001.
As was originally hoped at the beginning of the year, the return of much-needed reinforcements had started to look promising. Derek Jeter came back to the lineup for the first time since breaking his ankle in the 2012 ALCS, picking up a hit in his first at bat. Long-injured starting pitcher Michael Pineda also began playing in game situations in the minors, and third-baseman Alex Rodriguez had started at 20-game rehab assignment in Scranton. But Jeter's return was quickly marred by a quadriceps strain that would sideline the captain for several weeks after only one game.
With the summer trade deadline quickly approaching, the lack of right handed power, and the return dates of Rodriguez, Jeter, and Granderson still uncertain, the Yankees acquired outfielder Alfonso Soriano from the Chicago Cubs in the hopes of increasing the team's dismal power numbers (Soriano had hit 8 home runs the month prior to moving to New York, which is one more home run than the entire Yankee team had hit during that span). Soriano, who started his career with the Yankees, received a warm ovation from the Yankee fans upon his return on July 26. The New York Post reported soon after that Brian Cashman had reservations about acquiring Soriano, but was overruled by Yankee management.
Derek Jeter returned to the Yankee lineup for the second time on July 28 and hit a solo home run on the first pitch of his first at bat. Alfonso Soriano would hit a walk-off single to give the Yankees a 6–5 victory.
On August 5, Alex Rodriguez was suspended for 211 games (until the end of the 2014 MLB season) for his involvement with the South Florida anti-aging clinic Biogenesis. He promptly appealed this suspension and was allowed to resume play for the rest of the season, but the suspension was upheld for the entire 2014 MLB regular season and postseason.
On August 22, the Yankees swept a four-game set versus the Toronto Blue Jays at home for a perfect 10-0 home record versus them.
After sweeping a three-game set at home versus the Chicago White Sox to start the month after being swept by them in Chicago on August 5–7 for the second straight year, the Yankees lost the first three of four at home to the Red Sox with Rivera blowing two saves, but won the last on a ninth inning wild pitch. They took three of four from the Orioles in Camden Yards before being swept by the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
The Yankees closed interleague play with three games at home versus the San Francisco Giants. On September 20, Alex Rodriguez hit his 24th career grand slam to surpass Lou Gehrig as the all-time grand slam leader in a 5-1 win. Iván Nova pitched a complete shutout in the Yankees 6-0 win. In the series finale, Pettitte made his final home start in a 2-1 loss.
On September 25, 2013, the Yankees lost to the Tampa Bay Rays, which for the second time in the wild card era, eliminated them from making the playoffs for the first time since 2008. The Rays swept the three-game set in the Bronx for the first time ever and Rivera made his final appearance in the 8th inning of the series finale, retiring all four batters he faced.
The Yankees finished the season by sweeping the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park with Pettitte earning his final victory in the second game.
^Waldstein, David (May 30, 2013). "Where No Mets Have Gone Before". The New York Times.. Article cites the Yankees 2003 season series sweep: The only other Subway Series sweep was in 2003, when the Yankees won all six games on their way to winning the American League pennant. – New York Times. May 31, 2013.
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