The New York Yankees in August – Part One – The Batters (2021)

The New York Yankees had a 21-8 record on the month in August. It seems odd therefore, given that this was far and away their strongest month of the season, that I remain unconvinced about their potential to reach the post-season

On one hand, the vast majority of those wins came in consecutive games, when the momentum and positivity was spinning out of control. On the other hand, once that winning sequence was broken, they lost the four remaining games of the month – against the Oakland Athletics (a potential challenger for the New York team for a wild card spot) and against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim who went into their series with the Yankees below .500 on the season.

It is an interesting conundrum and it will be very interesting to see what September brings. Boston have remained in contention. Toronto are fast improving. Oakland will need to sort out some of their issues but could still challenge for a wild card spot and Seattle have also come into the reckoning.

The Yankees would need to maintain something like their August record to challenge the Tampa Bay Rays for the AL East division lead, which, frankly, I can’t see happening. This means that any two of five could capture the wild card route to the playoffs. The Yankees of August could do it. The Yankees of July will not.

Let’s see what happened in August-

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The New York Yankees in July – Part Two – The Pitchers (2021)

The Yankees 14-9 record in July was due in no small part to their pitching. Their record improved after the All-Star break. They were 9-5 afterwards, 5-4 before.

The Yankees brought in two new pitchers at the trading deadline – Andrew Heaney (SP) from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Joely Rodriguez (RP) from the Texas Rangers but neither of them made their debut for their new club before the end of July.

Heaney was traded for minor leaguers, Janson Junk and Elvis Peguero (both right-handers). Joely Rodriguez may be more of a make-weight, as there is no question that the Yankees main target in the trade was outfielder, Joey Gallo. The players who went in the opposite direction were right-hander pitcher, Glenn Otto and infielders Josh H.Smith, Ezequiel Duran and Trevor Hauver.

In addition, they had added Clay Holmes (RP) from the Pittsburgh Pirates on the 26th of the month in exchange for Hoy Park and Diego Castillo. A curious move saw relievers Luis Cessa and Justin Wilson join the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for a player to be named later. It was no surprise that the Yankees wanted to offload Wilson because the veteran has struggled all season long but giving up Cessa who has had a solid year and been with the Yankees for a number of years when they weren’t particularly targeting anybody in return is strange.

Let’s look at the pitchers who play in July, beginning with the starters…

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The New York Yankees in June – Part Two – The Pitchers (2021)

The world of baseball pitching began to be shaken up in late-May and early-June as MLB announced that it would be checking the hats, gloves and belts of pitching staff during games.

Rumours had begun to spread about the use of a substance called Spider Tack which was allowing pitchers to get a better grip on the ball and consequently increases spin speeds. Players like Josh Donaldson of Minnesota became very vocal in their criticisms of pitchers including, for example, the New York Yankees’ Gerrit Cole.

Now, there have been allegations like that. There also been suggestions that spin speeds for certain pitchers have dropped since the announcement of the rule-enforcement may have caused some pitchers to relearn their craft but so far that’s all we know.

So as we examine these statistics for the month of May, let’s consider those pitchers whose performance seems to have varied most dramatically – but I’ll go no further – the jury is still out – and we may never really know.

Here’s the stats for the whole team and then we’ll begin with a closer analysis of the starting rotation:

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The New York Yankees in May – Part Two – The Pitchers (2021)

As previously noted, the New York Yankees have not had the start to the season that they expected in 2021. However, it is the start of the season that they deserved. With the season a third complete, they finished May at 29-25 and in third position.

Instead of hoping to win the American League East, they are more likely to be targeting the second wildcard spot and only then if their bats begin to do their work.

In May, their pitching was less culpable than the batting line-up in adding to their woes.

Let’s survey the strengths and weaknesses of the players who took the mound:

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The New York Yankees in April – Part Two – The Pitchers (2021)

The Yankees used 6 starters and 1 “opener” in April. It is fair to say, in that regard, it was a very mixed month. Some good, some bad, some indifferent. We’ll come to that in a moment.

They used thirteen relievers in total. Nick Nelson was used both as the one time opener and a reliever. Those who were solid out of the bullpen were pretty consistent.

There were those who bounced between the major league roster and the alternate training site. Most peculiar of these was Michael King who was excellent but couldn’t seem to do enough to rise in the pecking orderabove those who were struggling.

Let’s survey the whole of the pitching part of the roster:

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New York Yankees – The Pitchers in May (2018)

The Yankees had set out their stall for 2018 with a starting rotation of Luis Severino – Masahiro Tanaka – CC Sabathia – Sonny Gray – Jordan Montgomery. Now this looked a little weaker than a team who were hoping for a World Series booth might field but it became a more pronounced lack when Jordan Montgomery went onto the disabled list in May. Further problems lay ahead when it was announced that Montgomery would need season-ending Tommy John surgery. What would carry the Yankees forward? Fortunately, the bullpen had begun to meet, if not exceed, all expectations.

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New York Yankees – The Pitchers in March and April (2018)

If those assessing the Yankees chances in the 2018 season picked out one flaw, it was the starting rotation which they saw as middling at best. The bullpen, they argued, was going to be the best in baseball.

In the opening period of our analysis (the last few days of March and all of April), it didn’t quite work out that way. The starters delivered up a very respectable 13 wins, 5 losses and 10 no-decisions. Of those 10 no-decisions the bullpen won 5 and lost 5 and 5 members of the bullpen produced an ERA of 4.50 or over. Confused? You will be…

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The New York Yankees in Spring Training – An Overview – Part Two (2018)

So, moving on from the batters, we come to survey the pitchers who have made the opening day roster and those who were around in Spring Training but didn’t quite make it. No real surprises here and once the team had decided to re-sign CC Sabathia, everything was settled except the last couple of relief appointments.

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The New York Yankees in September – The Pitchers (2017)

Including 1st October (End of regular season)

The Yankees’ pitching has been amazing in 2017. Every time someone under-performed, someone else stepped up to fill the gap. When Aroldis Chapman lost his way, it just happened that Dellin Betances was on form. When Betances struggled, Chapman regained his form. Adam Warren injured? Chad Green pitches phenomenally to fill the gap. Masahiro Tanaka not quite up to the ace billing? Then here’s Severino doing everything as a starter he couldn’t do in 2016 and CC Sabathia doing more than his aging limbs should allow. Let’s look at the whole picture

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The New York Yankees – The Pitchers in August (2017)

The Yankees’ pitching staff continued, in August, to do more than enough to keep the team in the game on most days. After the signings of Jaime Garcia and Sonny Gray, they had given themselves 6 regular starting options – most of whom are more than holding their own. The bullpen has been more than solid with the exception of Aroldis Chapman. Chapman is perhaps the reliever that the Yankees expected most from but who is delivering least.

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