Yanks Ride The Big Guy’s Start, Cano’s Bat to Beat (G)Nats 5-3

It wasn’t exactly a textbook win against a team with only 16 victories out of 61 games entering last night, but it will do.  CC was excellent except for one bad inning in the fifth, and the offense finally awakened to the task at hand against the wretched Washington bullpen, scoring three late to beat DC 5-3.  Cano was the player of the game, not only for going 4-4 with 2 RBIs but also for making several stellar plays in the field.  It prompted a discussion and my assertion that, when right, I’d not trade Cano at second for anyone, including Utley.  Granted, Utley is a tremendous player, probably the top second baseman and superior to RC especially in OBP and plate discipline.  Yet Cano has had the better defensive season thus far, committing only 3 errors to Utley’s very good 5, and has become firmly entrenched in the five-hole this year, fulfilling people’s expectations at last.  He’s been one of the most important Yanks this season without question in my mind.

CC was very efficient through 4, needing only 46 pitches to get through them and inducing easy pop fly balls on several outs.  The Yanks pushed across a run in the second when Cano and Posada singled, Matsui’s swinging bunt advanced them, Swish walked, and Melky hit a sac fly to score Cano, 1-0.  In the third, JD reached on a Zimmerman error and took second, Teixeira moved him to third with a grounder to the right side, A-Rod walked, and Cano’s smash into the body of ’70’s porn star-alike Nick Johnson (Thanks Nick!) scored JD, 2-0 Yanks.  But after Posada’s F7 and Matsui’s K, the Yanks left us in the HDLR with the feeling that they should have had more from those rallies.

That came to haunt the Yanks for the next few innings as they struggled with nondescript right Martis, failing repeatedly to deliver base runners especially from walks in multiple situations.  Meanwhile, CC had one bad inning in the fifth against the bottom of the (G)Nats’ order that put the Yanks down 3-2.  With one out, ex-Yankees Alberto Gonzales and Wil Nieves singled, and light-hitting second baseman Anderson Hernandez homered for just the second time ever and, just like that, the Yanks trailed to a team to whom it had no business trailing.  Again in the fifth, the Yanks squandered an opportunity, with Cano singling and Posada walking with two outs before Matsui’s ground out.  A quick 1-2-3 sixth on all of eight pitches had us in the HDLR feeling no better.

Yet the Yanks took the lead in the seventh off another ex-Yankee Ron Villone.  JD singled and Teixeira doubled to left center, with Dukes barely missing the ball, to tied the game.  Cano then doubled over Dukes’s head in center, with Dukes playing rather shallow and getting a poor, late jump on the ball, 4-3 Yanks but Cano was thrown out at third.  The Yanks tacked on an important insurance run in the eighth when Matsui led off with a walk, Brett the Jet pinch-ran and immediately stole second, went to third on Swish’s 5-3 and, after Melky walked, scored on Pena’s single to left, 5-3.  Mariano relieved Bruney, who returned for 1/3 in relief of CC, who went 7 2/3 strong, and notched his 15th save of the year and 497th of his incredible career.  He also tied the great Allie Reynolds for 11th on the Yankees’ all-time K list with 967.

Cano was tremendous, upping his average to .309 with the four-hit game, his first of the year but the seventh time, and twice in a row, that Cano has had at least three hits in a game.  His two RBI give him 41 this season, and his play in the field was no less special last night.  Teixeira’s RBI double in the seventh was his 55th, batting .283.  Melky’s sac fly gave him 27 RBI, and Pena’s RBI single was his 6th.  Posada had a single, batting .289, and JD a single and 2 runs, batting .282.  Otherwise, the lineup was rather languid.  A-Rod was 0-3 with a walk, batting .224 and going 3 for his last 27, lowering his average 31 points.  His high OBP of .382 has been a saving grace thus far in a season full of struggles.  Jeter was 0-3, batting .306, and he left the game with a sore ankle.  Presumably, he’s day-to-day.  Matsui was 0-3 with a walk, batting .253 and is just 2 for his last 13.

Sabathia was terrific in 7 2/3, allowing three runs earned on six hits and just one walk, fanning only 2 but getting 11 ground ball outs on 109 pitches/75 strikes for his 6th win  He got help in the field not just from Cano, but also Melky, who made a tremendous shoestring catch in very shallow center to rob Dukes of a hit with a snow cone.  Great catch from the reinvigorated Melky.

Congratulations to Chien-Ming Wang (0-4, 14.34 ERA) and his wife on the birth of a baby boy, which is said to bring good luck in Taiwanese culture.  Hopefully that starts tonight with his start to get the series win against lefty John Lannan (3-5, 3.51 ERA).  Lefty, another unfamiliar pitcher–better solve those issues and the RISP problems, Yanks.  Even with just eight hits, they really should have had more than five runs since they worked 7 walks, going 3-13 with RISP and stranding 10.

With the win, the Yanks remain two behind victorious Boston, who beat Florida 8-2, and three ahead of Tampa and Toronto, both of whom won.  Though the Yanks have won three of their last four and are back to ten above .500, they cannot afford to rest while trailing Boston, and only three ahead of Tampa (who we knew would experience a resurgence), and the pesky Toronto (who won’t quit even with all the injuries to their pitching staff).  Keep stringing together the wins, guys.

Published in: on June 17, 2009 at 8:15 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Interesting to compare Utley vs. A-Rod. Alex is down to .219 right now, whereas Utley is going strong. Why the comparison? Both are coming off hip surgery (as is Lowell). A-Rod’s surgery of course, being the more recent…

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