The Yankees Finally Say Goodbye to May

Month of injuries and bullpen struggles still ends with winning record

By Josh Alper
|  Tuesday, Jun 1, 2010  |  Updated 11:45 AM EDT
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The Yankees Finally Say Goodbye to May

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Derek Jeter left Monday's 11-2 victory early thanks to a fastball that found his hamstring.

The month of May waited until the last minute but it wouldn't end until it claimed the last member of the Core Four. Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and, now, Jeter suffered wounds during a month that seemed a lot longer than 31 days.

They weren't the only ones, of course. Curtis Granderson, Nick Johnson and Alfredo Aceves all wound up on the disabled list and Marcus Thames stepped on a bat.

It was a month that warmed the heart of health care providers everywhere but chilled the hearts of Yankee fans who worried about the team making it through the entire season without needing some kind of witch doctor to come into the clubhouse and raise the dead.

Those worries had to jockey for position over the course of the month with concerns about a bullpen that often fails to record outs faster than the other team scores runs. There's also been the lingering issue with Mark Teixeira's punchless hitting with runners on base to keep people up at night and, of course, there's always 2010's designated whipping boy Javier Vazquez to get people riled up.

Given how much volume was given to each of these concerns at various times, it's a bit of a surprise to sit back and realize that the Yankees went 16-13 during May. All things considered, it's a pretty good sign about a team's fitness for the long haul that so much can go wrong without causing the team to dip even a single game below .500.

If they played the rest of the season with the same winning percentage they posted in May, they'd win a more-than-respectable 92 games.

That might not be enough to get them in the playoffs, but the good news is that they aren't likely to wind up playing .552 ball the rest of the way. They are scoring more runs than anyone in the American League and, for all their bullpen troubles, are allowing fewer runs than anyone outside of Tampa Bay and Minnesota. That alone is enough to expect May's record to be a low-water mark, but there's plenty of help coming from the schedule as well.

There are 37 games before the All-Star Game and only 15 of them are against teams that currently have winning records. Through the end of July, the Yankees will play just 20 of 52 games against teams with winning records, a stretch that gives them a pretty strong chance at keeping that winning percentage from diving beneath 60 percent at any point before August rolls around.

The bullpen issues will surely linger and Javier Vazquez might never prove to be what the Yankees thought they were getting in a trade, but, unless catastrophe should strike, it appears that better days loom on the rapidly approaching horizon.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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