Wednesday, July 2, 2014

AB4AR "Best Of The Month" Awards: June 2014

Yankees, your June.  Woof!  That was a stinker, eh?  Coming off a May that wasn't quite as good as April, the Yankees doubled down on regression and really started to play some bad baseball in June.  Overall they went 12-15 with a - 23 run differential, dropping them to 1 game above .500, a game they lost to get July started where June left off.  There was no consistency to the team's play either.  The entire month was a series of short steaks.  Started off losing the first 4 games of the month, then won 2 straight, lost 2 straight, won 4 straight, lost 2 straight, won 4 straight, lost 4 straight, won 2 straight, lost 3 straight.

It's not time to start manning the life boats, not before the trade deadline, but it might be a good idea for all women and children to put on their life jackets.  After the jump, the few spots of brightness from a gloomy month of June.

Player of The Month- Brett Gardner

Second straight month for BG, who added some more power to his output in June.  Gardner once again led the team in games played (27) and plate appearances (123), and his 18 runs, .500 SLG, .376 wOBA, and 1.1 fWAR were also tops for position players.  He hit .287/.358/.500 overall, providing average, power, and on-base skills at the top of the order, and his 12 XBH were his best output in any month so far this year.  Gardner also continued to play above-average defense in left field and use his speed as a weapon on the basepaths, although his 2 SB were pretty low.  On a team absolutely starved for offense, he was the greatest provider of it.

Pitcher of The Month- Masahiro Tanaka

By the slimmest of margins over Dellin Betances (1.56/1.60, 3 ER, 25 K in 17.1 IP), Ma-kun retains his title for the 3rd straight month mainly on the strength of his innings pitched.  He gave the Yanks 37 IP in his 5 June starts, over 7 per start, and that's big when you're talking about a bullpen that's been overworked covering for Phelps, Nuno, and Whitley.  Tanaka was hamstrung by home runs, giving up 6 total, and his numbers suffered as a result.  A 3.67 FIP is much higher than his season average.  But he still struck out 39 batters and had an ERA barely over 2 (2.19 to be exact).  He's the ace and the MVP of this team right now.

Play of The Month- Carlos Beltran's walk-off home run to beat the Orioles (6/20)

Had it not been for this play, the Yanks would have had a 5-game losing streak at one point.  Beltran came into that game scuffling big time since coming off the DL, and smoke-throwing Zach Britton wasn't the friendliest matchup in the world.  Britton burned 4 straight heaters in at 95 MPH+, enough for Beltran to get his timing down.  When Britton threw a 5th, Beltran was ready and he deposited the offering over the left field wall for a game-winning, walk-off, 2-run home run.  Don't quote me on it, but I believe it was the single biggest WPA play for the team this season.  That it came right after the bullpen gave up the go-ahead run the half-inning earlier only made the result better.

Game of the Month (Player)- McCann drives in 5 in a win against the first-place Blue Jays (6/18)

June wasn't a good month for Brian McCann.  Then again, neither were May or April.  But on this day he was the heart, lungs, liver, and brain of the Yankee offense in a home victory over Mark Buehrle and the Toronto Blue Jays.  He went 2-3 on the day with a walk, a triple, a home run, 2 runs scored, and 5 RBI.  His first 2 came on the home run in the bottom of the 4th, which put the Yankees back ahead 3-2.  The last 3 came in the 7th, when he cleared the bases with a triple, his first and probably only of the season, to put the game out of reach.  This performance made him the first Yankee catcher since Elston Howard in 1962 to hit a triple, a home run, and drive in 5 runs in the same game.  Not too shabby.

Game of The Month (Team)- 7-0 series-opening victory on the road against the A's (6/13)

This was the last of one of the 4-run game winning streaks and it was probably the best all-around team win of the month.  The Yanks got a great start from David Phelps (6.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 K), they beat up Oakland starter Sonny Gray early for 3 runs in the first 2 innings, the young bullpen arms chipped in for 2.1 scoreless innings of relief, and the offense put the game away late with 4 runs in the top of the 8th.  While it was strange that the Yankees had 12 hits in the game that were all singles, they made them count by going 6-13 with RISP.  The rest of the series wasn't a success, but on this day the Yanks were way better than the best team in the American League.

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