A weak month brought the New York Yankees closer to .500. Other than a great stretch by the Toronto Blue Jays, no one in the American League East has played to their expectations all year, and so the Yankees remain close despite an awful run differential. One thing swinging in their favor is the looming return of CC Sabathia, and the possibility of acquiring some help before the trade deadline. While it probably is not wise to shell out a lot for David Price, due to the gigantic contract he is due to receive, the team may want to make Derek Jeter’s last season memorable and go all out on one last run for the captain.
June batter of the month: Brett Gardner – The Yankees’ speedy outfielder is showing a lot of depth to his game. He has always been a patient hitter with fantastic base-stealing ability, but this season he is second on the team in slugging behind Mark Teixeira, and fourth in RBI despite hitting primarily leadoff. He also has his health, which has been a very big deal when the Yankees lineup has been missing starters for big chunks of the year.
June pitcher of the month: Hiroki Kuroda – Without CC Sabathia, the Yankees are starved for an innings eater behind Masahiro Tanaka. Kuroda turned in a great month, pitching well in four of his five starts. His 1-2 record was no true indicator of performance, as the Yankees averaged less than three runs per game in his June appearances. Kuroda has rebounded well, and continued his good play into his first start of July.
Disappointment of the month: Brian McCann – Yangervis Solarte probably had the worst month of any Yankee regular, but in reality the Yankees wrung more out of the rookie utility man than they ever could have hoped. While McCann may be performing good work defensively, he was signed to invigorate the lineup and still is not doing that. The walk rate is the second worst of his career, and his power is absent. McCann had only five extra base hits in the entire month of June, and had almost as many strikeouts as total hits.
Surprise of the month: Mark Teixeira – The return of Teixeira after he missed all of last year has provided the Yankees with exactly one legitimate power threat. Without Teixeira in the lineup the Yankees are basically the Mets offensively, and plenty has been written about that team’s struggles to hit with any pop. Teixeira has provided a steady long ball threat, hitting another six home runs in June in 24 games.
The deadline is looming, but fans really should not look for a big name to arrive in New York. However, that does not mean the team will be quiet. The Yankees could still use depth, particularly in the infield. Fans should also watch for what other moves are made, because the team could also be affected by what Toronto or Baltimore do to help their team. The Yankees have holes, but they are still competing.
Commentary by Brian Moore