The Yankees seemed rather to take their eye off the ball, metaphorically speaking, in September. They finished the month with a 15-12 record which was enough to seal their wildcard spot and even to give them home-field advantage in the forthcoming playoffs, but along the way the management made some peculiar and bewildering decisions in terms of who was on the field of play. Let’s look in this first article at the batters who exploded and those who really struggled.
Who: New York Yankees
What: versus Toronto Blue Jays
Where: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York
When: 14 to 16 September 2018
The plan must have been fairly simple as the Yankees returned to the Bronx for a nine-game home-stand – take 2 or 3 from Toronto, beat Boston 2-1 and blast past Buck Showalter’s weaker-than-ever Baltimore Orioles where a sweep seemed more than possible. What could go wrong?
Well, first of all, the Yankees evidently didn’t reckon on a gutsy, scrappy Blue Jays’ performance and their own all too apparent second half failings.
The Yankees weren’t great in July but they weren’t that bad either. They won exactly three-fifths (15-10) of their games. They suffered a fall of form from lead pitcher Luis Severino and most of the bullpen which meant the batters needed to turn it up a notch. Let’s see who did:
The Yankees were great in May and they managed to continue that excellent trend in June – so important because Boston are showing no signs of slowing down. The Yankees are going to need to keep winning if they are going to finish ahead in this two-horse race. In June, they won exactly two thirds of their games. Let’s see who amongst the batters was lifting the most weight:
The Major League Baseball season was quickly out of the traps this year with the New York Yankees’ opening game coming as early as the 29th of March. Unfortunately, the team were not as quick getting started (neither was the weather, the 2nd of April home opener was snowed out) and the team looked decidedly average and lukewarm until the middle of April. After that things came together in a very exciting way.
Let’s see who the players pushing that momentum were. Batters up first:
(Normally I would have far more coverage of Spring Training than I have this year but with Easter coming early, my other preoccupations have prevented that. My apologies to my regular readers).
If you would have asked me at the end of the 2017 which position the Yankees would sign someone new for in the off-season, my prediction would not have been rightfield. Rookie of the year, Aaron Judge, it seemed had that all stitched up.
Also, if you’d asked me who after Judge was the least likely player to leave, one of my first choices would have been 2b Starlin Castro who impressed so much at the plate and defensively and proved a fearsome double play combination with Didi Gregorius.
includes 1st October (to end of regular season)
The New York Yankees were sensational with their bats during September – especially Jacoby Ellsbury who was so consistent and Aaron Judge who having struggled with his mechanics since the All-Star break suddenly bounced back with immense power. Let’s look at how the whole line-up performed: