The second half of June was a disaster for New York. After the twelfth of the month they suffered a huge slide which saw them go 8-17 between then and the 14th of July. However, in the second half of July they turned that around with a sequence of 12 wins out of 17 games which saw them return to the head of their division. A lot of the success was led by the pitchers but which of the batters were also at the forefront of the turnaround?
The Yankees had an amazing month in June. Staggering in the way it came together… and then fell apart.
Through to the 12th of the month, they went 8-3 with the bats exploding. Thereafter, it was 5-12. This left them with a month of 13-15 and a clear leadership swept away with Boston opening, in turn, a clear lead on the boys from the Bronx.
A lot of this was due to injuries but also the team saw some of their players returning to the form they might have expected at the beginning of the year. Let’s review it all… starting with the guys with the lumber.
The Yankees got off to a strong start in April – stronger than most had anticipated. They tussled for the lead in the American League East with the Baltimore Orioles.
In May, even more surprisingly, they maintained that trajectory whilst Baltimore faded slightly and the Boston Red Sox came into the picture. But by the end of the month, there was a couple of games clear lead that the Yankees had carved out ahead of their two rivals. Impressive.
The Yankees have to this point in Spring Training (22nd March) achieved more wins than any other team. On one hand this could be due to the fact that they have lost less players to the World Baseball Classic (WBC) nations than most teams, but, on the other, winning games can never be a bad sign. Spring Training is no great way of measuring the outcome of the regular season but being top of the Grapefruit League beats the heck out of being at the bottom.
The New York Yankees surprised us all by how long they stayed in contention for the second wild card before slipping away in the final week or so of the regular season. However, in reality they didn’t really maintain the momentum that they had worked up in August and the team both in terms of their batting and pitching struggled over the last few hurdles and the much vaunted Baby Bombers began to look a little more ordinary after the initial excitement around the call-ups had settled down…
I would be the first to admit that I didn’t expect to see the Yankees have their best month of the season in August. With the departure of Andrew Miller and Carlos Beltran it seemed so unlikely. Just as unlikely as Ronald Torreyes leading the team in batting average. Who could guess?
When I was writing my coverage of the New York Yankees in Spring Training and April, I mentioned that this team looked like it could be an echo of the team that represented the Bronx Bombers in 1989.
(see for example my article “And on the Eighth day the Yankees did nothing” https://twilightdawning.com/2016/03/04/the-new-york-yankees-off-season-update-january-february-2016-and-on-the-eighth-day-the-yankees-did-nothing/ )
Little did I realise how much…
The Yankees bats finally began to break out in June but their win/loss record on the month wasn’t much different from how it had been in May. We’ll see to what degree the pitchers were responsible for that in our next article. In the meantime let’s survey the batters and see who was responsible for a month that saw them surge to a .278 BA on the month against May’s .232 and .424 SLG against the previous month’s .385.
A few months ago I talked in this column about two perils that the Yankees faced in the 2016 season. The first possibility was that the senior players would prove to be well past their sell-by date and would under-perform. The second possibility was that although those senior players would perform, they would be laboured by injury. In reality, I overlooked the third possibility – that they would under-perform AND carry injuries.
(with just a little insight into the first few days of the season!)
Well, if you compare my previous two articles on the Yankees in Spring Training,(https://twilightdawning.com/2016/03/18/the-new-york-yankees-in-spring-training-2016-update-1/ & https://twilightdawning.com/2016/03/25/the-new-york-yankees-in-spring-training-2016-update-2/ ), with what has actually happened you’ll find that I was pretty close to correctly predicting the opening day roster.
But I was lucky!