September was the month that finally saw the Yankees falter. At the start of the month, they had the best record in baseball and leadership of the American League East. By the end they were hanging on at 3rd best in the majors and the wild card was their route into the post-season. Despite the general lack of cohesion and direction during these final weeks, some lesser players came up with the goods. Let’s begin with those guys swinging the bat:
|New York Yankees – Batting – Month – September|
Francisco Cervelli. Cervelli who looked lost in August, re-found his batting mechanics in September and led the team in batting average. Add to this his sensational total of walks over the period, he arrived on first base or better an amazing 22 out of 41 opportunities. He made a few too many fielding mistakes over the last weeks of the season but all-in-all this was a good conclusion to the regular season for him.
Eduardo Nunez. Nunez has little power and as I write he has just missed the cut-off for the post-season roster for the first round but his ability to consistently get himself to first base means that it was a close thing. He needs to learn patience and how to draw walks if he is to progress to the next level of a regular spot on a MLB team.
Ramiro Pena. Through an up-and-down season, Pena has managed to hang on to his role on the 25-man roster, ahead of the other young pretenders like Nunez and Russo, by doing well when the team really needed him to and by giving consistent, solid defence. Once more, we need to see an improvement in his work at the plate and more walks.
Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod has finally been getting into his stride as the season came to its conclusion and we hope that trend will continue into October. September brought 9 home runs and 26 RBIs. That’s more like it.
Jorge Posada. Posada has never really been himself this season. Whether this has been caused most by the latent effects of his injuries or whether it is simply the advancing years, you know all is not well when you begin to hope they will pinch hit for him in late innings rather than see him struggle again.
Brett Gardner. Gardner continues to impress with his base-running and base-stealing but that only helps if his hitting is going well – a side of his play that has currently returned to 2009 standards. Thankfully, he is patient at the plate and his base-on-balls total remains healthy but we need more from him.
Mark Teixeira. Teixeira will not be on the list of potential MVPs this year. After an upswing in his performance at the beginning of the second half, September was a pretty grim time for him. He continues to see a decline in his batting average but only had 3 home runs during the month which was particularly poor at this time of the year.
Austin Kearns. Kearns began well but he has faded and his demeanour and workrate has not made him many fans in the bleachers. No power, only one RBI and lackluster in the field.
Robinson Cano. Another quiet month from the usually dependable Cano. With Teixeira struggling the Yankees needed Cano to join Rodriguez in stepping up to the challenge. After a long season, he didn’t quite make it.
Lance Berkman. When Berkman first arrived in New York, he looked like he didn’t want to be there, didn’t want to DH but time to reflect whilst he was on the disabled list turned it around and since then he has filled a vital role. .303 with 9 walks on the month has made him a better choice than Thames or Kearns at DH and occasionally he has spelled Teixeira who he can’t match defensively but is currently ahead of in getting on base.
Derek Jeter. The major surprise with Jeter is that his end to the season continued much as it had been all year along. He hasn’t been bad, he has just been mostly indifferent and most worryingly he hasn’t show the necessary grit and determination to break himself out of it.
Nick Swisher. Swisher has had a very consistent year but he carried an injury into September and just wasn’t the guy he’s been the rest of the year. Let’s hope that he can shrug off his problems in time for the first round of the playoffs.