Cano, pen blow late lead

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Posted by mobile phone:
I can’t quite decide what exactly about this afternoon’s Yankee loss was so representative of the rest of the season.

Was it Robinson Cano‘s terrible play on a double-play ball in the sixth that opened the Toronto flood gates? Was it the sheer inability of the bullpen to hold a lead late at home? Was it Joe Giradi’s repeated bad decisions today? Was it Alex Rodriguez‘s ninth inning double play in a situation in which just about anything else would have been better?

While I know everyone wants to blame A-Rod, I’m less inclined to do so. Rather, Cano’s error and then pen’s failure to hold the lead were far more important to the game than anything else. If Cano fields that ball and makes a clean toss to Jeter, the Yanks turn two. But Cano tried to flip it and made a bad feed. The Blue Jays wouldn’t look back.

But Cano didn’t blow this on his own. He had plenty of pitching help. Brian Bruney allowed two of his three inherited runners to score, Damaso Marte couldn’t do the job again,and Edwar Ramirez allowed both of his inherited runners to score. All that added up to a five unanswered Blue Jay runs in the seventh and eighth and a 7-6 Blue Jay win at a time when the Yanks can’t afford to lose.

While we try to let this game fade into memory, we have to question Joe Giradi as well. He left Darrell Rasner, effective for seven innings, in for a seventh inning even after the first batter against him reach. He left Bruney in for a batter too long and removed Jason Giambi from a close game. The more things change…

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IPK helps Scranton to the division title
  • http://highlandermadness.blogspot.com Rayblay

    I missed this game, but after reviewing the box score and postgame reactions, I cannot blame Cano, or A-Rod, as much as his poor play is becoming more and more inexcusable. One bad defensive play doesn’t change the outcome of a game. My problem is Girardi. Aside from the fact that his handling of the media has not been wonderful, his use of certain bullpen guys has been pretty great this year. But I feel like everything changed after Farnsworth left and Marte was acquired. And I’m not talking about the quality of these two’s pitching – I’m just referring to the general manner of how Girardi’s use of the bullpen has changed. Veras is the eighth inning guy he should trust and has been all year, so he shouldn’t be playing around with guys like Marte and Ramirez. I don’t know why some fans think Ramirez can come up big in huge situations. Marte has not been so notable either. But it’s not their fault. Since Marte has come, Girardi is more focused on playing mix-and-match and analyzing match-ups instead of just putting in the guys he trusts for one or two innings to hold down the fort. His use of the bullpen has gotten worse over the course of the season. It’s slightly depressing.

  • bill

    Cano really shouldve made the play. If he did, we wouldve won. But we shouldve won anyway. This was hands down the worst loss of the season for me. Ive been really dissapointed with Cano’s play this year.

  • Brett

    I don’t blame A-Rod either, but its uncanny how he is up in these spots and fails time and time again to simply make a productive out by getting the runner over. At least he hit the ball hard today. Cano’s play was horrendous. His total lack of focus cost us big time today. I’d sit him tomorrow to kick him in the butt a little, but there isn’t anyone to play 2B. The bullpen stunk today, but they are what they are.

    • Steve

      He’s the cleanup hitter. The lineup is DESIGNED to give him these opportunities. There’s nothing uncanny about it. The guys with the best OBP hit in front of him, and he chokes time after time.

      • Steve

        To be fair, he hit a bullet today, that was just bad luck. He’s just choked most of the rest of this season.

        For those who think this is just happenstance or a small sample, were talking about 95 games this year and 168 PA. When there are runners in scoring position, he’s a .248 hitter. In the rest of his ABs he’s a .343 hitter.

        Look at his leverage numbers. Low leverage .358, medium leverage .293, high leverage .253. Big surprise to anyone who’s watched him this year.

        http://www.baseball-reference.com/pi/bsplit.cgi?n1=rodrial01&year=2008

        Every single number shows his results decline the more pressure he’s been under. I’d like to ask his defenders to show me one stat that says otherwise. About the best thing you can say about A-Rod is

        • Steve

          . . that Giambi hit behind him, and he’s worse.

  • Steve Farr Rules

    Cano is often a frustrating player to watch (or coach I imagine). Some of the same
    nonchalant qualities that Cano exhibits existed in Alfonso Soriano – but Soriano has proven himself to be a far better player than Cano. Yankee fans that wish Soriano was still on the team and ARod was not raise your hands. (at least the Yanks would have the type of dynamic leadoff batter they have not had since the days of Rickey Henderson).

    • http://www.yanksblog.com James Varghese

      I will politely disagree. I’ll take the younger (and better defensive player) Cano and A-Rod over Soriano any day of the week.

      Also, maybe you’re forgetting (and it has been a while) but Sori had some problems of his own with RISP and fans got on him about it then…Check out his splits from 01-03. He batted .287/.326/.506 for the Yanks those years and hit .272/.312/.464 with RISP. Would you want that “choker”? http://tinyurl.com/6hrnd8

      Oh yeah – A-Rod as a Yankee with RISP? .287/.412/.507. Just saying.

      • Steve

        In my case, my only complaint with Alex has been this season. Last year and 2005 he was great, and the other years were better than most people think.

        That’s why the A-Rod defenders strike me as knee jerk and irrational. They can’t even admit it when he does have one truly bad year. He’s on pace to barely break 100 RBI’s this year. Given the number of opportunities he’s had this year, that’s pathetic.

  • Bill N

    Off topic and I know I’ve posted it and emailed…. but is there access to food stands and bathrooms in the bleachers ? I have never sat there in the times I’ve been to the stadium ?

    • Yankees=warriors

      There is.

      • Bill N

        thannks bro

  • E-ROC

    Ben, how would you have managed the bullpen in this game?

  • Steve Farr Rules

    The jury is still out on how good Cano can/will be – it’s all up to him. Despite the stats you mentioned Soriano added something to the lineup/team that Arod – despite loftier stats – has not. The team has no pulse. Possibly ARod is not well-liked by teammates whereas Sori was. I really don’t know – but something is drastically wrong with this team. Whatever “chemistry” is this Yankee team fails the test each day.

    • Ivan

      “Despite the stats you mentioned Soriano added something to the lineup/team that Arod – despite loftier stats – has not.”

      What are you talking about? I like Soriano alot but to say that Soriano has added more than what A-Rod added is perposterious. A-Rod beats soriano in every aspect/facent of the game period. Hell, Soriano was known for doging it and often pulled a manny a time to time (hitting a hr and stood there and admire it for years or not hustling) where as A-Rod, say what ya want you’ll never here somebody say that A-Rod doesn’t hustle or hot dog it. I garantee you that Lou Pinella would disagree with ya.

      • Stephen

        seriously, where is this coming from. Soriano puts up worse numbers at a far less important position. If he’s still playing 2nd base and putting up those numbers, but as an outfielder, they’re not great numbers. Soriano shouldn’t be a leadoff hitter anyway.

        • BigBlueAL

          .225/.279/.319

          Those are Soriano’s career post-season stats in 160 AB’s. To think people rip A-Rod for his post-season stats….

          • bill

            Who hit the home run to put the Yankees ahead in Game 7 of the 01 World Series? Soriano. He also had the walk-off single in Game 5. If Rivera didnt blow it in the 9th, he would have had 2 game winning hits in that world series and wouldve been the MVP. Will A-Rod ever come close to winning a World Series MVP? Those postseason stats dont look pretty, but there are big hits in there. Name one big hit ARod got in the playoffs.

            • BigBlueAL

              Did you not watch the 2004 ALDS series vs the Twins??? Especially games 2 and 4????

              • bill

                Those games werent close. The Yanks steamrolled the Twinks. I would like to see how ARod wouldve fared against Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling in their primes in a pressure packed 01 World Series with the backdrop of 9/11

  • Slugger27

    why does everyone hate girardi and the moves he makes? he’s the least of the problems. The bullpen has been VERY busy the since tuesday, and VERY heavily worked. So with a 4 run lead, Girardi decides to let Rasner, who had been cruising with a low pitch count, go out there and try to give us one more inning. Isnt that the OBVIOUS move? the bullpens been worked heavily and obviously tired (as we saw) and rasner had shown no signs of fatiguing. In fact, he had retired 7 in a row going into the 7th. So why the hell NOT try to get another inning out of him?

    I realize he is still Rasner, inconsistent and ineffective, but with a 4 run lead and overworked bullpen with still another game tomorrow, pulling him after 6 effortless innings and 70 effortless pitches would be ridiculous. Sure Cano’s error led to a floodgate opening, but is that Rasner’s fault? Even still, is it GIRARDI’S fault? of course not.

    Also, there’s nothing wrong with Ransom coming into the game in the 8th inning WITH THE LEAD as a defensive replacement. Giambi had just batted, and Ransom would have been due to hit 8th, should he even need to bat (which he wouldnt if the bullpen could hold the lead). So with a lead, due up 8th to hit, in the 8th inning, what’s wrong with a defensive replacement? Do I need to bring up Damon’s game in Toronto not long ago? That’s proof that there’s nothing insignificant about 8th inning defense.

    I don’t agree with everything Girardi does. I dont think G should hit 5th and i think he overanalyzes the lefty on lefty thing, but the bottom line is this year isnt Girardi’s fault and this game DEFINITELY wasn’t girardi’s fault.

    • JG

      Totally agree.
      To be honest I was surprised when they took Pavano out so early yesterday.

    • Old Ranger

      About time someone told the truth, how often have we seen the BP get worked to death this year? One can go to their teams BP once to often.

    • C-playa-3

      yea i couldnt agree more, girardi aint the problem and everyone insists he is. way too much blame when the players are the ones to blame

      • BigBlueAL

        Girardi should get blame because for the past 2 years everybody blamed Torre and couldnt wait for him to leave and be replaced by Joe Girardi. Torre the last 3 years had to deal with as many injuries as Girardi has this year and still made the playoffs….

    • A-Point

      Girardi has been over working the bullpen. He does that stupid warm up and bring in a pitcher for one out business, then can’t figure out that they were over used?

      Girardi is very poor as a manager. The only good thing about this year is that it means one less of him, as his tenure will be short.

      • Gary

        I think it’s time to bring back “The Major” as the new Yankees skipper…none other than Ralph Houk. Number 35.

  • http://RiverAve.Blues Joseph M

    Simply put, Cano has been the disappointment of the year. Cano has the talent to be one of the elite players in the game, one of the anchors of the line up, a gold glove second basemen an MVP candidate and yet he is none of those things.

    To understand this team and this season one only need look at the record of the team on this homestand two wins, three losses, a homestand where five and one was needed and four and two was the least that could be accepted we get two and three going into the last game of the homestand.

    • Slugger27

      while cano has been a big disappointment (i penciled him in for 305/370/520 before the season) …. the biggest disappointment this year without question is hughes/kennedy. i realize hughes is hurt, but he was terrible before that and kennedy looks more and more like a career minor leaguer… but yes, cano has been a huge letdown, as has this homestand, as has this season

      • Old Ranger

        Instead of putting the blame on two pitchers that obviously had problems…most pitchers their age (experience) have problems…put it where it really belongs. The TEAM as a unit was bad, we won’t even go into all the key injuries.
        The only guys that have been good or average are Moose, Joba, Molina and to some extent Bobby. The other guys have had injuries, sub average or just bad years. Melky, Cano, Johnny, Jeter, Jason are all below their cards, A-Rod is just A-Rod…good, injured, and sometimes human.

        • Slugger27

          im not blaming the season on hughes/kennedy, just saying they disappointed me greatly. they may be my biggest disappointment, but not my biggest reason for this season being the way that it is… personally, i think the injuries are the biggest reason for this team

          also, how can u possibly say johnny has had a “sub par or just bad” year? i know he plays some erratic defense but to me he has exceeded expectations and been one of the few bright spots

          • Old Ranger

            Johnny has had some good games lately, but he is not giving the other guys (w/arms) the chance to get the ball and keep a runner from advancing/scoring and has made some bad running plays…conversely, he is not the only one. So I say; sub par and rescind the bad criticism. Maybe, I was to hard on him, maybe not?

    • Ivan

      Yes Cano has been a major dissapointment but this could be one of those blips on his career and not a trend. I mean Cano has been rather unlucky this season if you look at his #’s.

      Hey im dissapointed too with Cano and how he has regress but I do think he will bounce back huge next season. Remember during the AS break, he went back home to review some tape with his dad about his swing and how to improve so he is trying and putting the effort to improve. It’s just one of those years. I still want Cano on my team.

  • Yankees=warriors

    Cano has really gotten too far this time. How do they send the message across to him? If only they had a player to replace him…he needs to be sent down to the minors for a while.

    • Ivan

      Send to the minors for what? He made a very bad error no question but ya guys are getting on Cano too much. If Cano has a big year next season, I wanna hear people say it was Larry Bowa the reaso he’s having a good year, oh wait Larry is not gonna be there next season.

      • Yankees=warriors

        So he won’t get too comfortable.
        He needs to realize it’s a priviledge to be playing at the Major League level and quit fooling around.
        And as long as he keeps that “careless” attitude up, you know he’ll cost us big games here and there even if he were having a good season.

  • Brandon

    Humberto Sanchez -Tampa A
    5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K’s
    GO/AO 3-6

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      Nah, the box score is probably messed it. He probably came out after 2 or 3, and they’re combining his stats with the reliever.

      • Steve

        Nice call there Mike. MILB.com admitted they made a mistake, they were talking about Noel Castillo.

        BTW-Good outing for Noel.

  • stuart

    man what are you talking about?

    Cano blew the game with help from thepen each reliever gave up at least 1 hit and then MR clutch put the cherry on the sundae in the 9th.

    Girardi did nothing wrong. I was at the game went to friday and saturday game, I flew in from Calif. for both games..

    Cano blew todays game with his casual stupid terrible play. Hedeserves to get booed way more then he did today. Watch his AB in the8th that iseverything that is wrong with Cano.. He is not a smart player and has killed the Yanks this year.

    Arod has 11 Dp’s in August that is really really hard to do.

    Stop protecting the best player in the game!!!(laughing)..

    the yanks have forgotten how to win…

  • stuart

    I agree the ransom move was a no brainer.. you can quibble on the pen moves but this loss is not on Girardi.. It is on CANO..

    HE is a bad baseball player that needs someone to straighten him out…. If he smiles someone should punch him out, his casual style plain and simple loss the game today, bottom line…….

  • http://www.3KidsTix.com Scott from 3 Kids Tickets

    There’s just plenty of blame to go around this season, maybe that’s the frustrating part for fans. Alex’s 1 RBI in the 9th inning ALL season being one of my favorites.
    I’ve blamed Cashman, Girardi, Mecham, Alex, Alex, Alex, Alex, Giambi, Alex, Alex, Cano, Melki, Abreu, the starting pitching staff, the releivers, everyone not named Mo, Alex… you get the idea.
    You know if by some miricle we beat Halliday later today, most of us will have hope again. I can hear the “2 out of 3 aint bad” already….lol

    -Scott looking forward to the offseason, the 2009 season, and the NEW Yankee stadium

    PS Play the kids if we lose tomorrow for the rest of the season. LETS GO JETS !

  • ortforshort

    I think that the Yankees would be making a legitimate run at things if Torre were still around. Not that I think Torre’s a better manager than Girardi, but there was a sense of togetherness / unity / family / not wanting to let teammates down when Torre was manager that is absolutely missing this year. Even the leaders of the past like Jeter, Pettitte and Posada just didn’t go that extra mile like they did in the past. Others like Cano, Cabrera and A-Rod brought absolutely nothing to the table this year. I remember last year’s run started with inspirational performances by Shelly Duncan and Clemens (ven tho’ he didn’t pitch well, his presence was clearly felt). I don’t know how the Yankees get back to playing inspired ball. Maybe they have to blow up the team and start fresh.

  • Bart

    Looking for whom to blame. Try Cashman, Girardi and luck of the game in both the big sense and samll sense.

    Front office is supposed to put the best players it can at the manager’s disposal.

    The front office chose not to do this in order to reduce payroll – there were options available during the course of the season but it choose Ponson and Rasner — over both much better and somewhat better upgrades.

    Dependable pitching sets the tone — allows the oofense to relax —
    No GM can stand the loss of a Wang and think he can replace his innings and his Won – Loss split; especially with the FUTURE Kids already DOWN– it would have been expensive or more than he wished — that it was more than he was willing will play out over the next 5 – 6 years

    Dependable offfense alows pitchers to relax — every play in the game is important, everyat bat – but when the weight of the game falls on a single player at a single time it changes – we fans feel it; the players feel it. The loss of Posada was especially harmful; and Matsui maybe nearly so – more on Posada at the end of this. The proportiate weight of the game fell more on Jeter and ARod than the others — coupled with the failure of Cano, Melky, Molina at the back of the lineup was harmful under any circumstance; with the loss of front line piching and dependable back-end picthing we caould forecast what has happened and did. The outcome was the same as what an aging lineup (the 2010 lineup) wil experience due to age creep – if it is not retooled. Kuda’s to Casnman for avoiding the idiat’s delight call for Bonds and fining Nady.

    ARod is the best player in the game – unless he aged so rapidly this last season that he has begun a rapid decline — what I see is characteristic of his pressing — he is pressing big time –

    He is guess hitting when he shouldn’t be – mor ethan any player in the game he has the strenght to simply see the ball and hit it —

    I beleive I see in his swing the FEAR that he is not going to get a good pitch to hit. When the lineup went 3Ks and out against League we all knew it would set up ARod — maybe a walk-off, A Giambi in the rain against Cleveland moment – save this game, keep it going one game at a time —

    Now do we expect the best in the game to respond to that pressure — the best have streaks where they do and the fans love them until they don’t –Bernie left the game after proving he couldn’t; O’Neil and Mattingly left the game when they still could; Ortiz won the acclaim and one injury has robbed him —

    ARod has lost the ability to keep it simple — some months back I wrote that he had to try to go to rihgt field to corrent this “jumpiness” — he still needs to do that in my view – Mattingly as Batting Coach got to him with an “intervention” — and he gave Long credit last year — this year he is so wrongly “locked-in” nothing gets through — his memory is not short where it needs to be.

    But this is a very tough game for all its simplicity – Jeter has been one of the best ever at that opposite field stroke – it is natural to him and yet he has hit into more “clutch situation” DPs than I can remember

    So maybe part of ARod’s “failure” like Jeter’s is that they are being piched differently and effectively

    Early in the season I remarked to my son watching a game on TV — “the entire league has decided to throw ARod nothing but slop and breaking pitches away — if they get a count (0-2, 1-2) they wil come up and in with a FB (if they have one)”

    Anyway my take — Front office; Injuries; sub-par seasons that were left to rot (Cano and Cabrerra – exacerbated by injuries — CRITCALLY, Wang and Posada); Giradi’s lack of experience provides just enough loss across the many dimensions of the game to make the team especially vurlnerable to debacles like yesterday.

    Posada — One thing to examine from the psychological level is Posada’s loss to team leadership. His loss is the biggest single differece from last year’s offensive performance, and may have contributed to Jeter and ARod’s lack of effectiveness. A disturbance in the FORCE as it were.

    He was the guy who would get in the players’ faces and would have addressed the kind of probelms we have seen from Cano and Melky – and maybe ARod –; but he could not do that if he wasn’t in the game and a physical part of the team; not his style to criticize from off the field.

    Thinking to next year how Posada comes back; where he can play; the level of his play — especially on OFFENSE I think is critcal to the team playing well. Is that fair to expect off an injury or at his age — we need the Posada of 2003-2007 — realistically can he be that guy — if not the only different pieces from this year we can expect on offens is 1B and CF and a log jam at DH.

    We might assume Wang returns to form (and please he is not an ace at the Burnett, Halladay, Webb, Santana level)

    — we still need a #1 — even a home grown solution needs protection as they mature
    — can that be Joba or Hughes – a lot to ask but maybe Joba (he has to stay healthy); maybe Hughes if he can move from #5 to number #1 over the course of a season – or do the Yankees go all out for Sabbathia to stabilize the pitching and give Hughes, IPK or others a chance to mature. Depending on that PLAN – you make a decision on Pettit and Moose. Both should be thinking HOF – and they need wins to get there – they are going to want the chance to win every 5th day.

    While pondering can Wang really come all the way back or does that foot injury take just a enought off the power sinker to amke Wang less effective —

    So we are in a situation similar to last year with Santana but with less faith in an internal solution but the Offense is a year older and — this time the “can’t miss IPK bait” and the “melky bait” are not available — so failing to get Sanatana lat year probably costs more in 2009 to fix the same situation —

    From a business view — revenues are not hurt in this last year of the stadium and they will be better in the 1st year of the new stadium so maybe the grand plan is to RIDE THE BRAND to greater profits while making the payroll cheap — then if you are the Steins you are in great positon to sell the team — I know that is really cynical — just looking at the business end.

  • ortforshort

    Even tho’ there have been indications for years that the Yankees are “cheaping out” despite the big payroll (remember that they opted not to persue Beltran or Guerrero a few years ago, preferring to after the “cheaper” Damon and Sheffield), I don’t see them selling right after moving into their new palace. Maybe once they settle into the new ballpark, the focus will shift to what really makes the team money – being a quality, title contender year in and year out. To do that they need to spend more. To that end, a good start this winter is two must signs – Sabathia and Teixeira, regardless of cost. Also, they need to pick up their game in gathering young talent – the Inoa and Cole fumbles this year were screwups the Yankees can’t afford to be making.

  • Jeremy

    The loss was due to Cano’s enormous error. I thought Jeter was going to hit him. I swear I thought he was.

  • Cathy

    That loss can be pinned on Cano…and I am sick of Girardi making excuses for him.

    The Yanks will sign free agents this off-season….CC, Texeira, Burnett

    The Steinbrenners are not cheap – they wanted to get Santana – Cashman is cheap….

    I would prefer to see Larry Bowa or Buck Showalter as manager. I don’t see the Steinbrenners selling the team….