Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Month In Review: June

Record for the Month: 15-11, 142 RS, 113 RA

Player of the Month: Alex Rodriguez's June looked like something out of the Ted Williams scrapbook--.406/.500/.781, 9 homers, 34 RBI. If this is what the chaos of being under the public microscope does to a person...well, let's just say I expect more Yankees be seen getting escorted to strip clubs by trashy-looking women, who are not their wives.

I mean, sometimes you got to sacrifice for the team!

In the non-adultery related crapstorm category, a number of Yankees had fine Junes, just not quite up to A-Rod standards. Derek Jeter hit .321/.383/.486 in June, and Mariano Rivera showed no further ill effects from his nightmare April, with 12 strikeouts and only two runs allowed in 12 June innings. Just a hair behind those, Chien Ming Wang won four of his six starts, posting a 3.56 ERA in 43 innings. Mike Mussina was right behind Wang in the rotation with a 3.43 ERA in 36 2/3 innings, and four quality starts for the month. In June, Bobby Abreu turned back into the player he's been pretty much his entire career: .290/.408/.470.

Dregs of the Month: Johnny Damon's damaged goods season continued with a .226/.286/.333 June. Miguel Cairo was praised after taking over part of the first base job after Doug Mientkiewicz was injured, but in reality, he hit a very empty .273/.310/.333 in June. Not acceptable. Unfortunately, his main competitors hit only .217/.308/.217 (Josh Phelps) and .125/.222/.313 (Andy Phillips). Speaking of bad backup performances, Wil Nieves did a .158/.200/.158 in June, which raises the question--if he doesn't hit, and he's not the best defender like, ever, what is he doing on this team?

Not on this team is Tyler Clippard, who skated through his first June start, but didn't make it past the second round of Interleague play. He wound up with a 9.00 ERA on the month, and allowed 25 baserunners in 12 innings pitched.

Another note of concern--while not technically something to call Dregs on--was Brian Bruney's loss of control in June. Bruney, the promising 25 year old the Yankees picked up off waivers last season, looked like just the guy to counterbalance the enormous mistake the Yanks made with Kyle Farnsworth (5.23 ERA in June, by the way). In June, his strikeout touch abandoned him, and he was both hittable (9 hits in 8 2/3 innings) and out of control (11 walks against 2 strikeouts for the month). This bears watching.

Story of the Month: Enough ink has been spilled (and...electrons, I guess) over the big tease this Yankee team pulled last month. The Red Sox actually wound up a game under .500 for June, which is a quick and easy way to define "vulnerable." Sadly, no one--not the Yanks, not Toronto, no one--took them up on the invitation they sent out for a divisional race.

So now, what's left is to see if the remaining teams between the Bombers and the Wild Card all want to issue invitations of their own. Detroit, Seattle, Minnesota, Oakland, the Blue Jays--that's a lot of guys who are going to have to spit the bit for the Yanks to win the Wild Card with the 90-92 wins that are now the best case scenario for this team.

Unlikely. That's the word. It only takes one of those teams to hold their ground, and the Yanks don't make the postseason--and the Tigers and A's have proved themselves plenty tough this season. The sad truth is that the only say the Yankees have in it, right now, is scratching and clawing to get to that 90 win mark, and hope for a miracle.

Cheerful, huh?

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