New York Yankees: The Bronx Bombers Should Expect a June Swoon
The New York Yankees are currently tied atop the American league East with the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees are 27-21 on the young season and have a team that is expected to compete all year long.
With the month of June rapidly approaching, teams are getting ready to distance themselves from other contenders, and there is reason to believe that the Yankees will struggle.
There are many reasons that indicate the month of June will not be kind to the Bronx Bombers and that when the month of July begins, they will be out of first place.
The Yankees have posted a 10-8 record on the road this season, but no team has played fewer road games than New York. The month of June begins with the Yankees ending a nine-game West Coast road trip.
The remaining road games in the month of June will be in National League parks, and this will hurt the Yankees lineup, as the designated hitter will be removed from the lineup.
The road games are not the only part of the schedule that is difficult for the month of June, as the home games are not easy as well.
Home Not So Sweet Home
The Yankees play a stretch of 16 games in a row without a day off, which would take a toll on any team. Ten of those 16 games will be at home, but the opponents will be difficult to beat.
The Yankees have a homestand against the Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers. These teams have a collective win-loss record of 84-63, and each owns sole possession or a share of first place. Although they are playing at home, the Yankees will be hard pressed to escape with a winning record during this difficult stretch.
The Yankees will have a tough time winning these games and keeping pace in the division.
Red Sox on a Roll
June could be a tough month because the Yankees will be trying to keep pace with the red-hot Red Sox. The Red Sox are 14-4 in the last 18 games and are starting to hit their stride.
The offense is clicking on all cylinders and putting up double-digit runs on a regular basis. The Sox swept the Yankees in May in a three-game set in Yankee Stadium and have an easier schedule to navigate in the month of June.
The Yankees will have a tough time keeping up with the rest of the AL East without all of their players.
Like all teams this time of year, the Yankees are dealing with injuries. The most notable injury is to setup man Rafael Soriano.
The Associated Press reports that Soriano was examined Wednesday by orthopedist Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla. The conclusion is that Soriano will need to rest for two weeks, and speculation by Yankees GM Brian Cashman is that Soriano will not be available for six weeks.
This is not good news for a bullpen that has had its share of struggles this season.
Mariano Rivera is a sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer and one of the most recognizable Yankee players to ever don pinstripes.
Although he may be the best closer to ever play the game, he is starting to show signs that he could be slowing down.
Rivera has already blown three saves in 2011, which surpasses his total from a year ago. His ERA on the road is inflated, and he could struggle without the help of a quality setup man.
Rivera still has quality numbers in other areas and is by no means done as the closer of the Yankees, but he is not as intimidating as he has been in the past.
The Yankees captain’s struggles at the plate have been well documented this season.
In the last 14 days Derek Jeter has hit a woeful .222 and is showing no signs of recovering. The Yankees keep him in the lineup out of loyalty, but waiting for Jeter to find his swing could hurt the team.
The schedule in June calls for road trips to National League parks, as the Yankees will visit Chicago and Cincinnati. This is bad news for the captain, as his career average is just .214 at Great American Ball Park and .182 at Wrigley Field. While those numbers are based on limited at-bats, right now Jeter needs all the help he can get.
The Yankees can hope to rely on the pitching staff to produce a winning record in June, but it doesn’t look likely.
A.J. Burnett has had a long history of struggling in the month of June. Burnett is 14-18 lifetime in the month of June, posting an ERA of 4.19. That is the highest ERA of any month in his career.
Bartolo Colon has been a pleasant surprise for the Yankees in 2011, but he also has struggled in June. Colon is 21-24 lifetime during the month of June and has an inflated ERA of 4.88.
The Yankees still have a solid ace in CC Sabathia, but he will have to carry the load if the Yankees have any chance of having a winning month.
Time Will Tell
The month of June could be very telling for the New York Yankees. Baseball is a very long season, and a team can rebound from tough stretches if it has a deep and talented squad.
The Yankees always find a way to play a role in the postseason at the end of the year, but a bad month of June could make things very interesting.
James Brown is a B/R Featured Columnist. Feel free to contact James at firstname.lastname@example.org.