Yankees Heat Up in July – but Still Freeze Up Against Angels
- Updated: August 6, 2009
The Yankees went 18-9 in July, with a phenomenal 13-3 home record. But the month wasn’t all fireworks and picnics for the Bombers, who ended the month in first place.
The Yanks started the month in the midst of a seven-game winning streak. Then they had their usual hellish games against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, with the team’s longtime nemesis sweeping the Yanks in the last series before the All-Star Break.
Fortunately for Yankee fans, the Bombers gave them a homestand to remember after the break, winning 9 of 10 games. The Yanks swept 3 teams – Minnesota, Detroit, and Baltimore, and beat Oakland 3 games to 1.
Two other things delighted fans during that homestand. First was Old Timers’ Day. The highlight was seeing Don Zimmer cheered on his return after the coach quit the team in a huff 6 years ago. Some fans wondered whether his return to Old Timers’ Day would reverse the alleged Curse of Zim – the Yankees haven’t made it out to the World Series since his resignation after the 2003 season.
The other non-game related highlight of the Yankees’ homestand was the Yankees first annual HOPE Week. HOPE, which stands for Helping Others Persevere & Excel, brought every single Yankee player into the community to help and honor others, and brought those honored into the stadium to see games in person. The Yanks’ heartwarming events included putting on a nighttime carnival at the stadium for chidren who can’t be exposed to sunlight, and brightening the day of an Army veteran with ALS. It was fitting that the Yanks won every HOPE Week game, and that the players got high-fives on the field after each win from the people they honored.
After this tremendous home series – the best for the Bombers this year – the Yanks won 2 out of 3 against Tampa Bay on the road. But Chicago wasn’t their kind of town – they finished the month with 2 losses against the White Sox.
Joba Chamberlain, who had a disappointing first half, with a lethargic pace, strike-zone nibbling, and arguments with his catchers, turned it around in July. After the All-Star Break, Joba became Joba again, with 3 electric wins in a row, giving up only 2 runs and 8 hits in 21.2 innings. And in all 3 games, he made it past the sixth inning, something he had struggled with all season.
Another Yankee pitcher having a great July was A.J. Burnett. He went 4-0 with a 2.53 ERA in 5 July games and proved to be one of the Yankees’ best additions this year. Derek Jeter was July’s hitting star, with a .438 OBP and a .357 batting average.
The end of July means a flurry of trades in baseball, but the Yanks didn’t do much during the trading deadline – supersub Jerry Hairston Jr. was the only pickup. However, they did get great production from Eric Hinske, a player they traded for at the end of June. Hinske had 7 hits (5 of them homers) in just 21 July at-bats.
On the down side, Chien-Ming Wang went to see Dr. James Andrews and was diagnosed with a shoulder injury. The pitcher underwent arthoscopic surgery and could be out for as long as a year.
But all in all, July gave the Yankees a lot to hope about, in more ways than one.