As the clock struck midnight on Friday morning, the calendar had officially flipped over to the month of May.
The Yankees awoke from a fulfilling night’s sleep, basking in the positivity of their recent three-game winning streak.
Currently sitting at 12-10 in the standings, New York has climbed back into striking distance of the leaders in the American League East.
The team’s record is rather remarkable considering the turmoil and misfortune that suffocated the Bronx during March and April. The Yankees have won 54.5 percent of their games, on pace to finish 88-74 over a full 162-game season.
Virtually identical to New York’s 2008 finish of 89-73, it has done so without the luxury of even one at bat from Alex Rodriguez.
It seems more impressive when reflecting on the additional losses of Xavier Nady and Brian Bruney to elbow injuries, as well as the incompetence of the Yankees bullpen and high-priced free agent acquisitions. Chien-Ming Wang did not quite succeed as a No. 2 starter this season either.
Mark Teixeira, Damaso Marte, and Wang feared becoming the stars of their own version of Groundhog Day, unable to escape the nightmare of a never-ending April.
Many other Yankees, including Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher, and Melky Cabrera, would have leaped at the opportunity to avoid the arrival of May 1.
Swisher and Cano combined for 12 HR, 35 RBI, 21 BB, and 39 R in just 22 April games. Cano had added 34 hits and a .366 AVG to his list of accolades.
Cabrera, on the other hand, has entirely rejuvenated his Yankee career. In hitting .327 with 4 HR, he has won back the starting center field job in the Bronx, and subsequently rediscovered his confidence and swagger.
While assuming the reasonable statistical comebacks of Teixeira, Burnett, and Sabathia, it is easy to see why Yankees fans have reason for optimism and hope.
The ultimate success of Wang, A-Rod, and the bullpen are still in doubt. The simple return of A-Rod to the lineup, however, should help the team’s overall lineup depth. Teixeira should also feel more comfortable and assured at the plate with legitimate protection behind him.
If “April showers bring May flowers,” then perhaps the Yankees will be purged of their troubles; once again able to perform at the highest of levels.
May will almost certainly “come in like a lion” in terms of scheduled opponents, as the month’s first seven games are against the Angels, Red Sox, and Rays. A three-game series with the World Champion Phillies also looms later in the month.
The Yankees will be tested early and often in the season’s second month, but can feel very fortunate to be in their current position.
April “showered” the Bronx with controversy, injuries, underperformance, boos, and even a strange wind current dilemma.
I’m sure those players sad to see May’s arrival will be willing to sacrifice for the good of the team. I, for one, am not waiting until Cinco de Mayo on May 5 to start celebrating.
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