New York Yankees: 4 Bold Predictions for the Yankees' Second Half of 2012
Here in late July, the New York Yankees hold the best record in baseball, and with 67 games left in the season, they are in prime position to win the American League East. The Yankees don’t have to be great, but they do need to stay the course and win more games than they lose the rest of the way.
A 94-win season should capture the American League East division crown in 2012, which means the Yankees need to go 37-30 the rest of the way. The Bombers have plenty of tough games left against division rivals Toronto, Tampa Bay and Boston, as well as midwestern road trips to Chicago and Detroit.
A thorough examination of the Bombers and their results to date, as well as their obstacles ahead, have allowed for some forward thinking and prognostications. Here, without further ado, are four bold predictions for the Yankees in the second half of the 2012 MLB season.
The Yankees Match Their Highest Win Total Since Their 2009 Championship Season
The Yankees will need to win approximately 69 percent of their remaining 67 games in order to get to 103 wins. The 2009 World Series champs were at 58-37 through 95 games—just one game better than the current Yankees squad.
The 2009 squad had several blistering hot stretches in early August and late August-early September of that year, en route to taking home the club’s 27th world championship. The Yankees will likely get Andy Pettitte back in early September to help anchor their rotation down the stretch.
The Bombers' offense will continue to rely on their home run bats to swat their way to the top of the major league heap.
The Yankees Pull the Trigger on a Deal for an Outfielder
Speculation persists that the Yankees are targeting Shane Victorino, aka, the man that grounded out to end the 2009 World Series. But will he really be an upgrade? Brett Gardner is now out for the season and Yankees brass likely doesn’t feel comfortable enough with Andruw Jones, Raul Ibanez and DeWayne Wise.
While the former two have performed especially well in part-time duty, the Yankees may want a batter who can hit for higher average and still play the field. Don’t be surprised if the Bombers land uber-talented Arizona outfielder, Justin Upton.
Phil Hughes Finishes the Second Half as One of the Best Pitchers in the AL
Through two starts so far in the second half, Hughes is 0-1 with a 2.45 earned run average and 10 strikeouts. He’s given the Yankees seven quality starts in the last 10 games that he’s pitched. Hughes has had his share of clunkers this season, and he’s surrendered the third most home runs in the American League.
Yet he’s a remarkably different pitcher than he was early on, and the Yankees have won nine of the last 14 games that he’s started. It’s reasonable to believe that Hughes can pitch to the tune of a 3.00 earned run average the rest of the way, while compiling several more wins and quality starts. He’s given the team everything he has. Not bad for a guy that everyone counted out in late April.
Robinson Cano Leads the American League in Hits
Cano is on pace for the highest home run total of his career but it will likely take a herculean effort for him to catch Josh Hamilton, Jose Bautista and even his own teammate Curtis Granderson. Taking the batting title should be difficult with Mike Trout and Joe Mauer serving as formidable competition.
But leading the league in hits? That is a feat that will hardly be easy, yet one that is attainable. Cano, who just had his 24-game hitting streak snapped on Saturday night in Oakland, is on pace for 198 hits. Last season, 213 hits were good enough to lead the AL, an honor shared by Adrian Gonzalez and Michael Young.
Ichiro led the AL with 214 hits in 2010. If Cano can continue raking like he has the last three months, he can surpass teammate Derek Jeter and Detroit Tiger Miguel Cabrera to lead the American League in hits.