August was tough for Yankees fans. It's not that it was their worst month of the year (they had a .448 winning percentage in May), or that they performed poorly the whole month. For some, it was the fact that a team like Toronto made so many big-time moves, while the Yankees stood pat, minus a Dustin Ackley acquisition.
As of August 29, the Yankees had a winning percentage of .480 for the month, a month in which the team as a whole slashed .226/.300/.376 with a wRC+ of 85, which ranked 27th in the league in the month of August. To compare, the Blue Jays had a whopping winning percentage of .792, the best in the league that month by far. Some Yankees had a great month of August, Carlos Beltran especially, while others, like Alex Rodriguez, really struggled.
Granted Teixeira has been out lately with a shin injury, but he and A-Rod both began the year carrying the team, and lately they've been two of the worst. Meanwhile, guys like Beltran and Headley have really shined in the second half. Neither player is a superstar on defense, but when it comes to offense, the two have lately been carrying the team in Teixeira and A-Rod's spots.
Beltran's month was particularly special. Back on August 14, Beltran had a huge, pinch-hit, game-winning home run for the Yankees in Toronto, putting fans a little more at ease at the time. Beltran started the next day, and hit a home run in his first at-bat. Among players with at least 60 plate appearances in August, Beltran ranked 11th in the MLB in terms of wRC+. He also ranked in the top 20 in terms of average. It's been quite the turnaround for Beltran, going from a guy who hit .162 in April to this guy. It's quite possible that Garrett Jones lost a roster spot thanks to the fantastic play from Beltran, as well as Young's ability to kill lefties (and Jonny Gomes, apparently). Nonetheless, Beltran's success is a great sight for Yankee fans, especially those that wrote him off as a guy too old to even DH every day.
Two guys that really struggled in August, however, were Gardner and A-Rod. Gardner really cooled off from his first half, All-Star success, where he hit .302/.377/.484 and a 139 wRC+. A-Rod, meanwhile, is showing what the 162-game grind can put on a 40-year-old. Rodriguez hit .278/.382/.515 with a 147 wRC+ in the first half, and has cooled down considerably. A-Rod is surely still in contention for Comeback Player of the Year, but he's no longer the runaway he once was, as guys like Prince Fielder have really performed well this year.
August was fun, that's for sure. Before August 29, the Yankees sat 1.5 games back in the division, and four games ahead of the second wild card spot. There were some games where the Yankees got shut out, and just a few nights later, they would score 15 runs. One month does not a season make, however, and it's going to be really hard for Toronto to stay as hot as they were in August. The Yankees had a worse month in May, and they still rebounded to take first place in July. It's true that the Yankees are a streaky team, especially when it comes to their offense. But, a MLB season is 162 games for a reason. Now, with injuries to CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira, among others, the Yankees will really have to show their true talent. For the rest of the season, the Yankees schedule isn't horrible (minus two series' with the Blue Jays), as the toughest team they have to face the rest of the way is the Mets, as well as Baltimore. As we hit September, the rosters will expand, so it will be interesting to see what the new guys will be able to do. Although, the Yankees have Greg Bird, so what can go wrong?
Baseball is a fun game, as it's so unpredictable. No one could have predicted Toronto grabbing the players they did, and it's tough to see how A-Rod has cooled down as much as he has. Do you think August is a sign of things to come for the Yankees, or will they grab a playoff spot? If so, can they win the division, or is the Wild Card the place for the team?