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Series Wrapup

Story

After failing to make the playoffs for the first time in 14 years the previous season, the New York Yankees returned to the top of the A.L. East standings in 2009, compiling a major-league best 103-59 record that left them eight games ahead of the runner-up Boston Red Sox.  The Yankees subsequently went on to capture their 27th world championship by sweeping the Minnesota Twins in the Division Series and posting six-game victories over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the ALCS and the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series.  

Improved starting pitching and a powerful offense proved to be the keys to New York’s success over the course of the season.  The team's free-agent signings of slugging first baseman Mark Teixeira and pitchers C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett during the off-season ended up paying huge dividends.  Although Burnett pitched inconsistently at times, he finished the year with a record of 13-9 and an ERA of 4.04.  Sabathia quickly established himself as the ace of the staff, compiling a record of 19-8 and an ERA of 3.37, and throwing 230 innings.  Andy Pettitte chipped in with 14 victories, while the incomparable Mariano Rivera showed no signs of aging, pitching to a 1.76 ERA and compiling 44 saves in 46 save opportunities.

Meanwhile, Teixeira gave the Yankees another powerful bat in the middle of their lineup, helping them to lead the American League with 915 runs scored and 244 home runs.  Teixeira earned a second-place finish in the A.L. MVP voting by batting .292, scoring 103 runs, and topping the circuit with 39 home runs and 122 runs batted in.  He received a considerable amount of help from holdovers Jorge Posada, Hideki Matsui, Robinson Cano, Johnny Damon, Alex Rodriguez, and Derek Jeter.  Posada batted .285, hit 22 homers, and drove in 81 runs.  Matsui homered 28 times and knocked in 90 runs.  Cano batted .320, knocked in 85 runs, and established new career highs with 25 home runs and 103 runs scored.  Damon batted .282, hit 24 homers, drove in 82 runs, and scored 107 others.  Although Rodriguez missed the first month of the season recovering from hip surgery, he still managed to hit 30 home runs and knock in 100 runs.  Jeter scored 107 runs, stole 30 bases, and finished among the league leaders with a .334 batting average and 212 hits, en route to earning a third-place finish in the MVP balloting.  

Injuries to two of Boston’s top starters, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Tim Wakefield, prevented the Red Sox from mounting a serious challenge to the Yankees for the division title.  Nevertheless, they earned a postseason berth as the league’s wild-card representative by compiling a record of 95-67 over the course of the campaign.

Josh Beckett and Jon Lester helped pick up some of the slack in Boston’s starting rotation, posting 17 and 15 victories, respectively.  Boston’s offense also helped compensate for the team’s lack of pitching depth by finishing third in the league with 872 runs scored and 212 home runs.  The quartet of Dustin Pedroia, Victor Martinez, Jason Bay, and Kevin Youkilis paced the Red Sox on offense.  Pedroia batted .296 and scored 115 runs.  After coming over to Boston from Cleveland at the trade deadline, Martinez ended the campaign with 23 home runs, 108 runs batted in, and a .303 batting average.  Bay scored 103 runs and placed among the league leaders with 36 home runs and 119 runs batted in.  Youkilis hit 27 homers, knocked in 94 runs, scored 99 others, and led the team with a .305 batting average and a .413 on-base percentage.  

While the Yankees regained the top spot in the A.L. East, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim coasted to their third consecutive Western Division title, finishing the season with a record of 97-65, 10 games ahead of the runner-up Texas Rangers, and 12 games in front of the third-place Seattle Mariners, who were the junior circuit’s most improved team.  After posting a record of only 61-101 the previous year, the Mariners concluded the campaign with a mark of 85-77 that represented a whopping 24-game improvement.

Solid pitching contributed greatly to Seattle’s strong showing.  The Mariners led the league with a team ERA of 3.87, with staff ace Felix Hernandez earning a second-place finish in the Cy Young voting by compiling a record of 19-5, to tie for the league lead in wins.  He also placed among the leaders with a 2.49 ERA, 217 strikeouts, and 239 innings pitched.  The Mariners also featured one of the junior circuit’s top offensive performers in Ichiro Suzuki, who finished second in the league with a .352 batting average while amassing a league-leading 225 hits.

Although the Angels’ pitching staff compiled a rather unseemly 4.45 team ERA, their improved offense made them easily the division’s strongest team.  Jered Weaver and Joe Saunders proved to be the team’s only reliable starters, posting 16 victories apiece.  Meanwhile, closer Brian Fuentes struggled at times, blowing seven save opportunities, losing five games, and pitching to a rather mediocre 3.93 ERA.  Nevertheless, the 35-year-old southpaw ended up leading the league with 48 saves.

However, after finishing near the middle of the pack in the A.L. in both runs scored and team batting average the previous season, the Angels placed near the top of the league rankings in both categories in 2009.  Their .285 team batting average led the American League, and they also finished second in the circuit with 883 runs scored.  Torii Hunter, Juan Rivera, Bobby Abreu, Chone Figgins, and Kendry Morales paced the Angels on offense.  Hunter hit 22 home runs, drove in 90 runs, and batted .299.  Rivera batted .287 and established new career highs with 25 homers and 88 runs batted in.  Abreu proved to be a free-agent bargain after signing with the team during the off-season.  Abreu batted .293, hit 15 home runs, knocked in 103 runs, scored 96 others, and stole 30 bases.  Figgins batted .298 and placed among the league leaders with 114 runs scored and 42 stolen bases.  Morales earned a top-five finish in the A.L. MVP balloting by batting .306 and placing among the league leaders with 34 home runs, 108 runs batted in, and a .569 slugging percentage.         

In the A.L. Central, the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers engaged in the league’s closest divisional race, finishing the regular season with identical 86-76 records that forced them to face each other in a one-game playoff.  The two clubs continued to demonstrate how evenly-matched they  
were by battling one another into the 12th inning of their elimination contest.  Minnesota finally prevailed by a score of 6-5 when Alexi Casilla delivered a walk-off run-scoring single that gave the Twins their first division title in three years.  Minnesota concluded the campaign with a record of 87-76, one game ahead of the Tigers, who finished the year with a mark of 86-77.

Although the Twins finished just ninth in the league with 172 home runs, they nevertheless managed to place fourth in the league rankings with 817 runs scored.  Jason Kubel hit 28 home runs, knocked in 103 runs, and batted .300.  Denard Span batted .311, scored 97 runs, and stole 23 bases.  Prior to being sidelined for the final three weeks of the season with a back injury, Justin Morneau hit 30 homers, knocked in 100 runs, and scored 85 others.  Michael Cuddyer hit 32 home runs, drove in 94 runs, scored another 93 times, and did a creditable job at first base after taking over for the injured Morneau.  Joe Mauer had a season of historical proportions for the Twins, compiling a league-leading .365 batting average that represented the highest figure ever posted by a catcher in the major leagues.  In addition, Mauer became the first major-league receiver to win three batting titles and, also, the first catcher to lead his league in batting average, on-base percentage (.444), and slugging percentage (.587) in the same season.  Despite missing the season's first month with a back injury, Mauer also established new career highs with 28 home runs and 96 runs batted in, en route to earning A.L. MVP honors.

Mauer continued to excel against the Yankees in the Division Series, collecting five hits in 12 at-bats, for a .417 batting average.  However, led by the clutch hitting of Alex Rodriguez, who clouted two late-inning, game-tying home runs, the Yankees swept the Twins in three straight games.  New York then defeated in six games an Angels team that earlier disposed of the Red Sox in three straight games in the other Division Series.
 
Philadelphia’s Cliff Lee and Chase Utley subsequently proved to be New York’s primary obstacles to winning the World Series.  Lee handcuffed New York’s lineup in Games One and Five, while Utley slugged five home runs against Yankee pitching.  Nevertheless, the Yankees ended up defeating the Phillies in six games behind the solid pitching of Andy Pettitte and the powerful hitting of Hideki Matsui.  Pettite posted victories in the third and sixth contests, thereby becoming the first pitcher to record wins in the clinching game of the ALDS, ALCS, and World Series in the same year.  Meanwhile, Matsui earned World Series MVP honors by hitting three home runs, knocking in eight runs, and batting .615.

Other notable events from around the league and players who distinguished themselves over the course of the season included:

• The members of the BBWAA elected Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice to the Hall of Fame.  The Veterans Committee also voted in Joe Gordon.

• February 7 – Sports Illustrated reported that Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids in 2003.

• February 9 – Alex Rodriguez admitted during an interview with ESPN's Peter Gammons that he used performance-enhancing drugs while with the Texas Rangers from 2001 to 2003.

• February 17 – Alex Rodriguez met the press at George M. Steinbrenner Field to discuss his admission of having used performance-enhancing drugs to ESPN's Peter Gammons.  Rodriguez claimed that a cousin repeatedly injected him with a drug called “Boli” (a likely reference to Primobolan) that he obtained over the counter in the Dominican Republic.

• February 18 - Ken Griffey Jr. returned to the Seattle Mariners, agreeing to a one year deal that included a $2 million base salary, plus additional incentives.

• March 23 - After having missed the entire 2008 season with right shoulder problems, Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling announced his retirement from baseball.

• April 9 – In the early morning hours after pitching six shutout innings against the Oakland Athletics, rookie Angels starter Nick Adenhart and two others were killed when their car was struck by a drunk driver.  

• April 16 – The New York Yankees played their first game at the new Yankee Stadium, losing to the Cleveland Indians 10–2.

• July 11 – New York’s Alex Rodriguez hit his 570th career home run off Los Angeles Angels pitcher Jason Bulger, passing Rafael Palmeiro for 10th place on the all-time list.

• July 14 – The American League defeated the National League for the seventh consecutive time in the All-Star Game, posting a 4-3 victory over the senior circuit in the Midsummer Classic.  Carl Crawford, whose leaping catch in the seventh inning robbed Brad Hawpe of a home run, earned game MVP honors, while Mariano Rivera set an All-Star record by posting his fourth save in All-Star competition.

• July 23 – At Chicago’s U. S. Cellular Field, White Sox hurler Mark Buehrle pitched a 5–0 perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

• July 28 - Two days after his enshrinement into the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Boston Red Sox retired Jim Rice's number 14.

• July 30 – The New York Times reported that Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz were among the 104 Major League Baseball players to test positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003, according to lawyers with knowledge of the results.

• August 16 - Derek Jeter collected his 2,674th hit during a 10-3 Yankee loss to the Seattle Mariners, moving him past Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio as the all-time leader in hits at shortstop.

• September 6 – Ichiro Suzuki became the second-fastest player in major league history to reach 2,000 hits with a first inning double in his 1,402nd game.  Al Simmons accomplished the feat in 1,390 games, from 1924 to 1934.

• September 11 – With a single off Chris Tillman to lead off the third inning, Derek Jeter collected his 2,722nd career hit to pass Lou Gehrig as the all-time Yankees hit leader.

• September 13 – Ichiro Suzuki reached the 200-hit mark for a major-league record ninth consecutive season.

• Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Adam Lind batted .305 and placed among the league leaders with 35 home runs and 114 runs batted in.

• Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill batted .286, knocked in 108 runs, scored 103 others, and finished among the league leaders with 36 home runs.

• Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria batted .281, hit 33 homers, drove in 113 runs, and scored 100 others.  

• Kansas City’s Zack Greinke earned A.L. Cy Young honors by leading the league with a 2.16 ERA, striking out 242 batters, and compiling a record of 16-8 for a team that finished last in the A.L. Central with only 65 wins.

• Detroit’s Justin Verlander finished 19-9, to tie for the league lead in victories.  He also topped the circuit with 269 strikeouts and 240 innings pitched.

• Tigers teammate Miguel Cabrera hit 34 home runs, knocked in 103 runs, scored 96 others, and batted .324.  

Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
BAL 2138 5618 741 1508 708 .224 307 19 160 76 37 2333 .387 .312 .750 131 46 13
BOS 2258 5543 872 1495 822 .209 335 25 212 126 39 2516 .393 .370 .853 137 51 19
CHA 2126 5463 724 1410 695 .200 246 20 184 113 49 2248 .346 .342 .748 139 39 34
CLE 2048 5568 773 1468 730 .185 314 28 161 84 31 2321 .352 .278 .712 140 50 39
DET 2260 5540 743 1443 718 .184 245 35 183 72 33 2307 .345 .295 .735 131 39 53
KCA 2150 5532 686 1432 657 .232 276 51 144 88 29 2242 .379 .330 .752 135 32 38
LAA 2112 5622 883 1604 841 .233 293 33 173 148 63 2482 .320 .339 .673 128 52 43
MIN 2203 5608 817 1539 770 .206 271 40 172 85 32 2406 .384 .298 .788 147 57 51
NYA 2282 5660 915 1604 881 .204 325 21 244 111 28 2703 .360 .320 .743 144 39 31
OAK 2162 5584 759 1464 723 .237 307 21 135 133 48 2218 .371 .333 .772 130 54 31
SEA 2019 5543 640 1430 613 .197 280 19 160 89 33 2228 .314 .295 .662 124 44 56
TBA 2299 5462 803 1434 765 .210 297 36 199 194 61 2400 .349 .335 .729 104 45 25
TEX 2039 5526 784 1436 748 .173 296 27 224 149 36 2458 .373 .274 .758 97 51 40
TOR 2149 5696 798 1516 766 .176 339 13 209 73 23 2508 .342 .287 .744 130 49 24

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
BAL 646 64 98 1429 933 546 6359 1633 218 216.090 820 876 2 0 31 31 7
BOS 625 95 67 1438 1230 530 6283 1494 167 136.890 695 736 8 2 41 42 5
CHA 577 79 83 1438 1119 507 6155 1438 169 145.060 665 732 4 1 36 55 5
CLE 607 65 97 1433 986 598 6354 1570 183 169.660 808 865 5 2 25 49 7
DET 602 86 77 1448 1102 594 6240 1449 182 122.080 698 745 4 1 42 48 6
KCA 588 65 97 1424 1153 600 6265 1486 166 131.510 765 842 10 5 34 89 6
LAA 596 97 65 1446 1062 523 6252 1513 180 145.280 715 761 9 6 51 67 2
MIN 643 87 76 1454 1052 466 6274 1542 185 162.120 726 765 4 1 48 43 3
NYA 623 103 59 1450 1260 574 6247 1386 181 135.580 689 753 3 1 51 66 5
OAK 650 75 87 1445 1124 523 6243 1486 156 120.990 690 761 2 2 38 43 2
SEA 572 85 77 1451 1043 534 6159 1359 172 89.650 625 692 4 2 49 61 5
TBA 672 84 78 1427 1125 515 6146 1421 183 93.110 691 754 3 3 41 46 5
TEX 598 87 75 1435 1016 531 6172 1432 171 149.610 699 740 8 3 45 45 8
TOR 607 75 87 1453 1181 551 6281 1509 181 132.400 720 771 10 4 25 43 4

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
BAL 2758 7247 5440 1699 108 .982 17147 119 33 0 8
BOS 2821 6932 5360 1480 92 .961 17241 151 23 0 10
CHA 2727 7163 5334 1701 128 .961 17276 132 42 0 8
CLE 2691 7218 5427 1677 114 .974 17207 111 33 0 10
DET 2898 7161 5409 1646 106 .961 17364 88 50 0 15
KCA 2809 7070 5340 1603 127 .964 17111 114 39 0 14
LAA 2759 7163 5415 1649 99 .970 17339 128 39 0 11
MIN 2854 7166 5493 1584 89 .961 17437 107 32 0 16
NYA 2948 6987 5378 1508 101 .980 17400 125 52 0 11
OAK 2835 7182 5441 1620 121 .969 17366 92 38 1.00 5
SEA 2621 7242 5575 1547 120 .979 17430 67 44 1.00 16
TBA 2899 7084 5434 1539 111 .980 17130 90 28 0 7
TEX 2642 7177 5425 1632 120 .960 17220 99 43 0 9
TOR 2671 7178 5323 1767 88 .977 17415 89 46 0 13

West

team W L Att Rk SOP
Los Angeles Angels 97 65 3240386 1 1062
Texas Rangers 87 75 2156016 2 1016
Seattle Mariners 85 77 2195533 3 1043
Oakland Athletics 75 87 1408783 4 1124

Central

team W L Att Rk SOP
Minnesota Twins 87 76 2416237 1 1052
Detroit Tigers 86 77 2567165 2 1102
Chicago White Sox 79 83 2284163 3 1119
Cleveland Indians 65 97 1766242 4 986
Kansas City Royals 65 97 1797891 4 1153

East

team W L Att Rk SOP
New York Yankees 103 59 3719358 1 1260
Boston Red Sox 95 67 3062699 2 1230
Tampa Bay Devil Rays 84 78 1874962 3 1125
Toronto Blue Jays 75 87 1876129 4 1181
Baltimore Orioles 64 98 1907163 5 933

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Tagged:
2009 ALCS, 2009 ALDS1, 2009 ALDS2, 2009 World Series, A.J. Burnett, Aaron Hill, Adam Lind, Alex Rodriguez, Alexi Casilla, American League, Anaheim Angels, Andy Pettitte, Bobby Abreu, Brian Fuentes, C.C. Sabathia, Carl Crawford, Chone Figgins, Curt Schilling, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Denard Span, Derek Jeter, Dustin Pedroia, Evan Longoria, Felix Hernandez, Hideki Matsui, Ichiro Suzuki, Jason Bay, Jason Bulger, Jason Kubel, Jered Weaver, Joe Mauer, Joe Saunders, Johnny Damon, Jon Lester, Jorge Posada, Josh Beckett, Josh Hamilton, Juan Rivera, Justin Morneau, Justin Verlander, Ken Griffey, Jr., Kendry Morales, Kevin Youkilis, Mariano Rivera, Mark Buehrle, Mark Teixeira, Michael Cuddyer, Miguel Cabrera, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Nick Adenhart, Nick Swisher, Robinson Cano, Tim Wakefield, Torii Hunter, Victor Martinez, Zack Greinke

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