- Last Updated: 5:38 AM, July 1, 2012
- Posted: 1:13 AM, July 1, 2012
June was supposed to be a difficult month for the Yankees thanks to what appeared to be a brutal schedule.
The Tigers, Rays, Mets (six games), Braves (six games), Nationals, Indians and White Sox all are contenders to reach the postseason.
Yet, after yesterday’s 4-0 win over the White Sox, the Yankees finished 19-8 in June, and at 47-30 (.610) had the second best winning percentage in the AL, going from
1 1⁄2 games out of first place to five up.
Still, June will be remembered as the month the Yankees put CC Sabathia (strained groin) and Andy Pettitte (fractured leg) on the disabled list on Wednesday.
Sabathia is expected to miss two starts, and the best the Yankees can hope for from Pettitte is to see him in September.
So, a month in which the Yankees excelled on the field could be remembered as their undoing, depending on what the final three months of the season bring.
MVP: Robinson Cano
When Robinson Cano was hitting .291 with seven homers and 19 RBIs at the end of May, some were asking what was wrong with him.
Those questions vanished into the June humidity. After going 2-for-4 yesterday, Cano finished June batting .340 (34-for-100) with 11 homers and 21 RBIs, and his batting average is up to .308.
A strong June put Cano in the AL MVP conversation, even if he is hitting .178 (13-for-73) with runners in scoring position.
LVP: Cory Wade
When Mariano Rivera was lost for the season in early May and David Robertson went on the DL shortly thereafter, bullpen roles were altered.
Rafael Soriano thrived in the closer’s role, and because of Joe Girardi’s handling, Cody Eppley and Clay Rapada were effective. And Wade ended May with a tidy 2.92 ERA.
But Wade’s June was awful. He allowed 21 hits and 15 earned runs in 9 2⁄3 innings (13.97 ERA). Four of those hits were homers, and he flushed two save chances.
Following today’s game against the White Sox, the Yankees play three against the Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla., and three in Boston next weekend. Despite their gaudy overall record, the Yankees are a pedestrian 11-10 against the AL East and will have to do better than that to hold off the surging Red Sox.
Following the All-Star break (July 9-12), the Yankees host the Angels for three and Blue Jays for three before playing four in Oakland and three in Seattle.
However, the biggest day of July might be the last one, since that’s the trading deadline. A year ago the Yankees stood still. With Pettitte on the shelf, can they do the same this year?
WHEN DOES THE SPARKPLUG RETURN?
Brett Gardner has played nine games this year due to a cranky right (non-throwing) elbow. He has been shut down twice during minor league rehab assignments and nobody can give an exact date for his return.
The Yankees are hoping the speedy left fielder, who gives the Yankees speed on the bases and plays Gold Glove defense, will return before July sweats into August, but who knows.
GAME OF THE MONTH
YANKEES 5, METS 4, June 10
Russell Martin’s homer in the ninth, his second blast of the game, proved to be the winner.
Trailing 3-0 going into the home seventh, Martin hit a two-run homer following a throwing error by David Wright. Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez added RBI singles in the eighth and the Mets scored a run in the ninth off Rafael Soriano to tie the score, 4-4.
Martin hit a 3-2 pitch from Jon Rauch over the left-field wall for the game-winner.Follow @NYPostsports