April showers brings may flowers…and even the New York Yankees power.
Before the Yankees began their most recent home-stand the fans and media were ready to write the Yankees out of the town and close the curtain on the 2016 season. They had dropped consecutive ‘must-win’ series’ on the road to their American League East rivals Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles and were coming off an abysmal April in which they posted a historically bad 8-14 record that placed them in the bottom of the American League East basement.
Fast forward to May 15th, and the Yankees still find themselves in last place of the AL East, but thanks to an impressive 7-3 home-stand that saw series wins over the defending World Series Champion Kansas City Royals and the Chicago White Sox where they faced both Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, the Yankees are slowly but surely getting back to .500 and showing some signs of life.
Like I said. April showers bring Yankees power.
In April the Yankees offense was anemic at best. They finished the month with the third worst team slugging percentage (.360), ranked in the bottom five in team OPS (.663), and were dead last in total RBIs (70) and runs scored (74).
To date, the month of may has been a slightly different story for the Yankees. They are currently middle of the pack with a respectable .408 slugging percentage and .718 OPS. Also, just mid-way through the month, the Yankees already have a team total 61 RBI and 63 runs scored.
At the end of April Starlin Castro and Brian McCann were the only everyday players to sport a batting average north of the .260 mark and both Carlos Beltran and Alex Rodriguez led the Yankees in home runs tied with an alarmingly low four long-balls a piece. The only two players to reach double digits in RBI were Castro (12) and Mark Teixeira (10) and Chase Headley hadn’t even recorded an extra base-hit!
May now features a Yankees lineup with five every-day starters hitter over .260, including Brian McCann who is hitting .300 and Chase Headley who is hitting .270 with three… yes three extra base-hits. Carlos Beltran still leads the teams in homers with magic number four, but the difference is the Yankees are starting to get home run production from their entire lineup, including Brett Gardner and Aaron Hicks who each have two homers a piece so far this month.
Now look, the Yankees aren’t out of woods by any means. At 16-20 the Yankees still find themselves 7.0 games back of the division leading Baltimore Orioles, and at the pace of ballgames that both the Orioles and Red Sox keep winning at, the Yankees will need every-bit of help to string together more wins and continue stay afloat in the division.
Not to mention their pitching staff still needs a ton of work to do. Outside of Ivan Nova and the return of Aroldis Chapman to round out their super trio, the Yankees pitching staff has been wildly inconsistent. With Luis Severino now on the shelf, the Yankees just called up 24-year old pitching prospect Chad Green, who will be spot-starting on Monday night in Arizona against Robbie Ray (1-2, 4.84 ERA) and the Diamondbacks when the Yankees kick off their road-trip.
The Yankees are also expected to get Alex Rodriguez back from the DL on Thursday, so hopefully he can help the offense stat hot.
The late Robin Williams once said ‘Spring is nature’s way of saying, Let’s Party!” Let’s hope the Yankees offense continues to party, and that maybe, just maybe certain members of their starting rotation will eventually join the party as well.