As we pointed out in our last column, the Yankees are having a steady, productive and successful season so far. The same can be said of their pitching. With the exception of Aroldis Chapman whose struggles led to further medical examination and then to the 10-day disabled list, most everyone is living up to or exceeding expectations. Let’s look in a little more detail:
The New York Yankees decided in the second half of 2016 that they were going with youth. It was a little surprising therefore, to see their two major signings in the first half of the post-season be a 36-year-old who would be designated hitter and one of the relief pitchers they traded away in the movements that took place around the trade deadline
So if the batters were worse than terrible, it must have been the pitching staff who picked up some of the slack and gave the team a chance in the May games – leading to the Yankees achieving that surprising 16-13 record on the month.
12 of those 16 wins came from the starting staff so we’ll be considering them first.
(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!
What: New York Yankees versus Tampa Bay Rays
Where: Yankee Stadium, New York, New York, USA
When: September 4 to 6, 2015
New York City is one of my favourite places in the world. London, Whitby (UK not Canada), Stratford-upon-Avon and New York are the places I love and not necessarily in that order. Being back there is always a good thing.
They call it the City That Never Sleeps and you can see why. But I guess in a city that never sleeps then sometimes changes seem to happen at double the speed. Some of my favourite things about this city are gone forever.
There was Mickey Mantle’s restaurant on 59th Street and its mashed potatoes and chicken. It’s not there are any more. There was the food and idiosyncratic shopping at the South Street Seaport. It’s been demolished. Of course, there was the old Yankee Stadium which you will look for in vain. It’s a long time gone. It’s not only Joe DiMaggio who we must ask where he is gone, some other favourites are gone too.
I first caught the baseball bug in the mid 80s but it was the mid 90s before I journeyed to New York to sit in that old Stadium that Ruth built. Then there was a players’ strike but like them I was to be back the following year. 1995.
1995. The year that a still developing centre-fielder called Bernie Williams was joined in the majors by four more developing stars. Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. Somebody told me a few days ago that the New York Yankees buy their success. That’s fine rhetoric and oft repeated but the evidence won’t bear it. The Yankees are at their strongest when their farm system is at its strongest – whether it be the “Core Four” of 1995 or the debuts of Mantle, DiMaggio, Gehrig or Munson. Growing internal greats has always worked out best.
The Yankees pitching has been in a steady decline all season. In April, the average ERA of the team’s pitchers was 3.23 with a WHIP of 1.16. In May, that ERA was up to 4.38 and the WHIP was 1.33. In June, the WHIP was exactly the same but the ERA was up again to 4.48.
The bullpen kept the team rolling in April but was overused. In May it had begun to creak. By June some key players were injured but thankfully the batting had improved enough to keep the team alive – but they have used more relief pitchers prior to roster expansion than in any season in the team’s history. For a team at the head, or near to the head of the division, times are proving hard.