This weekend, the Yankees look to make the most out of the upcoming sets against the White Sox, Orioles and Red Sox in the Bronx as they run out of time in their playoff quest. While they get ready for September, let’s take a look at what they did in August:
August was a sensational month for Cano, who hit .355/.429/.527 with 15 RBI, three homers and seven doubles. As a cog in an offense that was nothing short of stagnant all season long, Cano is definitely seeing better pitches and getting protection from the presence of both Alfonso Soriano and Alex Rodriguez in the lineup.
The issue of whether or not the Yankees should offer Cano the moon for the next six or seven years is one for another time, but at the rate he is going, Cano is earning big, big bucks from somebody this coming offseason, and with another couple of months like August under his belt, it will be hard to say no.
Off-the-field issues aside, ARod has actually been able to hold his own at the plate since his return to game action in mid-August. If Biogenesis was never a thing, it’s possible that people would be raving about Alex’s progress on the field: .282/.364/.462, with four homers and a couple of RBI. Of significance: those homers put Alex on another milestone platform; further, if the Yankees get it together, particularly against Boston in their upcoming four-game set, his HBP by Ryan Dempster might be the rallying point of an otherwise mediocre season for the Yankees. That said… sit tight, this isn’t ARod’s only appearance in this post.
Much has been made this season about two members of the ‘pen: deservedly, Mariano Rivera as he heads off into the sunset on a retirement tour; and Joba Chamberlain, for his limited, less-than-serviceable season. However, the one member of the bullpen who has flown entirely under the radar has been Roberston. After a ridiculous July (0.00 ERA with seven hits in 13 IP), August has been just as great. In August, he has tossed about 11.1 innings, giving up just one run for a 0.79 ERA, with no homers allowed since May. He may not be Mariano- no one will ever be again- but the Yankees look to be secure in the closer position for a while based on this year’s performance by the set-up man.
For as outstanding as he was in July, Hiroki Kuroda has really struggled in August. In addition to losing his last three starts, Hiroki had a roughly 5.12 ERA throughout the month, with a BAA of .315. While not giving up any home runs in July, he surrendered five in August in 31 IP, and 42 hits. Kuroda has served as the team’s ace for much of the season with the struggles of CC Sabathia. With the ups and downs of Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova, losing Kuroda as an anchor in the rotation is a serious blow to a run into the playoffs with question marks at every other turn. In short: if Kuroda can’t pull it together, the Yankees will not make the playoffs.
ARod might be the only player who could make “The Good” portion of this list, as well as “The Bad.” The way that his team has handled the aftermath of the Biogenesis mess- effectively accusing the Yankees of insurance fraud, medical malpractice, having his lawyer go on the Today Show, etc.- will ultimately be a case study for PR students on how not to handle a crisis. He is very lucky that the sideshow hasn’t impacted the play of his teammates, even if it has made his GM less than comfortable saying more than “hello” to the beleaguered third baseman.
Finally, ARod seems to have figured out that less is more. He needs to continue to keep his team silent, focus on baseball, and let the process play out as it may. I give the guy credit for being out there, sure, but I also can’t imagine that a guy who has been so outspoken and vocal about the Yankees’ alleged wrongdoing can keep so quiet about his involvement in Biogenesis if he is not guilty. In summation: this whole thing is a damn mess, and I am sure the Yankees, fans, and MLB wants this to go away as soon as possible.
One more month to go in the 2013 regular season, but in the meantime: what are you assessments of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly?