The Yankees have also been battling injuries lately, and they’ve showed no signs of letting it slow them down. In fact, with Sunday’s win over the Mets, the Yankees now have the best record in baseball at 43-26 and sit atop the AL East.
It’s been quite the June for the Yankees. Most notably, Alex Rodriguez has been bothered by hip flexor problems, an injury that caused him to miss some time before returning to the lineup recently. Jorge Posada also missed time with a right foot injury before returning to action this past week and Derek Jeter missed Saturday’s game before returning Sunday with a minor foot injury.
In addition, first baseman Nick Johnson is out until August with a wrist injury, outfielder Marcus Thames is on the shelf until the end of June with a hamstring injury, and just this past Tuesday the Yankees placed pitcher Sergio Mitre on the 15-day disabled list with an oblique injury.
Sound familiar, Red Sox fans?
Despite the injury problems, the Yankees, like the Red Sox, have persevered through constant roster shuffling.
One reason for the continued success for the Yankees though, is the top of their starting rotation. Much like starting pitchers Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz have carried the Red Sox, Phil Hughes and CC Sabathia are doing the same for the Bombers.
Hughes has finally emerged as a premier starting pitcher the way everyone thought he would , while Sabathia continues to be the anchor of the Yankees’ pitching staff.
Since May 28, Hughes has been huge for the Yankees. He’s 5-0 during that time while posting a 3.53 ERA.
Sabathia, on the other hand, has bounced back from two poor starts at the end of May in which he gave up a combined 10 earned runs, to turn in an impressive June. Sabathia is 4-0 this month with a 2.48 ERA after he went eight shutout innings in a win Sunday against the Mets.
With Hughes and Sabathia pitching well, the Yankees have gotten tremendous offensive performances this month from second baseman Robinson Cano and outfielder Brett Gardner.
Cano continues his sizzling start to the season, hitting .377 for the month and scoring 16 runs. He leads the majors with a .367 average.
Gardner, meanwhile, has gotten his average back over .300 for the first time since mid-May hitting at a .368 clip for the month.
So even while the Yankees continue to fight through a growing list of injuries, they have been able to arguably their best baseball of the season.They faced their largest divisional deficit on May 23 when trailed the Rays by six games, and now, they lead the division.
It’s not going to get any easier for the Yankees though, with the Red Sox (13-5 in June) breathing down their necks. The Red Sox trailed the Yankees by only one game heading into Sunday’s action.
Both teams have gained a tremendous amount of ground on a Rays team that despite an incredibly hot start, have come back to earth. With a loss to the Marlins on Sunday, the Rays are struggling through June with an 8-9 record. Despite their struggles, they only trail the Yankees by a game.
And while the Red Sox and Yankees have battled injuries, and the Rays are in the midst of a “June swoon,” the trio of teams still boasts a claim that many expected they would – they are still the three best teams in baseball.