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 pitching in June finally settled to a level much closer to what might have been expected when the season began. Add into the mix a few significant injuries and it was not a sweet recipe that was cooking as the month went along.
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.
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 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’ pitching rotation, going into the season, looked quite evidently their greatest weakness.
By contrast, their bullpen looked like their greatest strength.
What would happen if the bullpen lived up to its billing and the rotation was more consistent than expected?
That would be April 2017, which is the way that it has worked out in practise!
The Yankees went into the regular season with a positive outlook. They had led the league in Spring Training game wins and the young heart of the line-up (Greg Bird and Gary Sanchez) had had a phenomenal spring. There were still large questions about the depth of durability of their pitching rotation but their bullpen was the strongest around. At the very least, they had given themselves hope.
…And then the season began…