Aug
01

Cano carries Yanks to 5-4 win over Rays

By

(AP Photo/Mike Carlson)

After a long day of trade rumors and wondering what exciting news the next Twitter refresh would bring us, the Yankees and Rays played a rather important game on Saturday night. If Tampa won, not only would they have clinched the series win, but they also would have pulled into a tie for the AL East lead. The Yankees made sure that didn’t happen.

Down two in the 6th, Mark Teixeira unloaded on a Matt Garza fastball, completely unloaded on it, sending the ball into orbit to tie the game at three. An inning later, with the Yanks down one, Nick Swisher connected on the hangiest of hanging curveballs, parking it a few rows back in rightfield to again tie the game. The score remained that way until the 9th inning, when the Yankees’ MVP did what he’s been doing all season long. Robbie Cano, already 2-for-3 on the day with a pair of booming doubles, took a Rafael Soriano fastball down and in and deposited it where the sun don’t shine. Well, the sun doesn’t shine anywhere in that place because of the dome, but you get the point. Cano’s monster shot gave the Yanks their first lead of the game, and ultimately helped reclaim their two game lead in the division.

I’m going to recap this game bullet point style because it’s been a long day, but here’s the WPA Graph and box score. Cano’s homer checked in at .371 WPA, not as high as you’d think. I don’t need no stinkin’ math to tell me it was one of the Yanks’ biggests hits of the season, if the not thee biggest. Anyway, on to the notes…

  • Javy Vazquez wasn’t great, but he was good enough to win. The gopher ball to Matt Joyce was probably his biggest mistake of the game.
  • Speaking of Joyce, I suspect he has now earned the “Yankee Killer” tag. He and what, a couple hundred others?
  • The Yanks had six total hits in this game, and zero singles. Cano doubled twice and homered, Tex homered, Swish homered, and Derek Jeter doubled. I guess if you’re only going to average two hits for every three innings, they might as well go for extra bases.
  • Big ups to Boone Logan for throwing three pitches and getting two outs against two dangerous hitters in John Jaso and Carl Crawford to end the 7th.
  • Even bigger ups to David Robertson for throwing a perfect 8th innings with two strikeouts against Tampa’s 3-4-5 hitters on just a dozen pitches. Dude’s straight money right now.
  • Not a great debut for Lance Berkman – 0-for-4 with a strikeout – but who cares, he’ll be fine. It was nice having a little extra length in the lineup, no? Made a noticeable difference towards the bottom of the order.
  • One of these days Alex Rodriguez will get his 600th homer, I swears it. The Yanks will be back in the Bronx to face the Blue Jays and Red Sox tomorrow, so hopefully he gets it then.

The rubber game is tomorrow afternoon at 1:40pm ET. Regardless of what happens, the Yanks will return home Monday in first place. Each team is throwing their Opening Day starter, with CC Sabathia taking on Jamie Shields.

Categories : Game Stories

58 Comments»

  1. Marry me, D-Rob.

    With apologies to you know who. And you know who. And you know who. And the guy I’m actually seeing.

    • Cecala says:

      D-Rob is working his way up my list of Yankee man crushes

      1) Gardner ( I liked him before this year because I played the same way with speed and defense in left field; I am not balding though)
      2) Grandy
      3)D-Rob ( It must be the high socks)

  2. Carlosologist says:

    Robbie Baseball had a little bit of a flourish after he homered off Soriano. It was great. Tomorrow CC will finish off the Rays and then the homestand.

  3. poster on a different computer who happens to be a deuce bag says:

    The Rays just don’t have the Yankees’ intensity.

  4. Salty Buggah says:

    Gotta give some credit to Kevin Long for that Cano HR. YES once showed how he works with Cano and Swish in batting practice on turning on inside fastballs and pulling them for HRs. I may be wrong but both have seemingly done a great job crushing inside pitches all year. Either way, Cano is a stud.

    This was a pretty nice win. (/understatement’d)

  5. poster on a different computer who happens to be a deuce bag says:

    This was a fun win. I won’t call late July/early August wins huge wins yet, but it was a battle against a good team that’s right behind us in the standings. And the atmosphere really does seem very intense, if I may use the expression.

    • It was about this time last year there was that four game sweep of the Red Sox (actually, next weekend will be exactly a year).

      You can’t tell me those August wins didn’t mean anything…

      • Carlosologist says:

        Wasn’t that 15 inning epic showdown that A-Rod won in that sweep?

      • poster on a different computer who happens to be a deuce bag says:

        When did I say they meant nothing? I said they weren’t HUGE wins. That doesn’t mean they mean nothing.

        The Red Sox games were a bit different, too. Here, the best outcome of the series would have had us four games up. Not small, but certainly FAR from insurmountable. A sweep at the hands of the Rays would have had us only two games back. If we only end up winning once, we’re still a game up.

        In the Red Sox series, the Yankees were hot and the Red Sox were like, what, six games back when the series started? A sweep at the hands of the Red Sox would have only put them two games back.

        Our sweep put us, if I’m recalling correctly ten games up with about two months to go. That basically locked up the division.

        Whatever the outcome of this series, when it’s over the division will still be an open question.

        • Actually, the Yankees had to split that series to assume they’d stay in first and had been 0-8 against Boston prior.

          • poster on a different computer who happens to be a deuce bag says:

            What does the 0-8 against Boston have to with anything?

            Now I’m going to have to go to fangraphs and look this up, ugh.

          • bexarama says:

            I think they had to win just one to stay in first, but that four-game sweep, and the way we just kind of crushed Boston’s hearts in two of those games, especially the last one…

            • poster on a different computer who happens to be a deuce bag says:

              Up 3.5 going into Boston, up 6.5 going out. Point still stands. A sweep more or less put a stranglehold on the A.L. East. If we were swept, a nice 3.5 game lead is flushed down the toilet.

              There was more riding on that series. Plus it was Boston. I despise Boston.

    • Cecala says:

      I hate how people say that wins in August and Sept mean more. Every win carries equal value. If they lose a bad game in April and miss out on the playoffs by 1 game, does that one loss not count because it was in April?

      • Mike Axisa says:

        It’s the same argument as leverage and relievers and all that. It’s not that games in the season count less, it’s that you have more time to correct mistakes. If you get swept in a three game series in April, you still have five months to climb back into it. If that happens in September though, you’re probably screwed.

        • radnom says:

          As one well cerse in math, it’s unfortunate that sabermetrics is so popular yet relies so heavily on statistics which is so counterintuitive. You can’t expect the average Yankee fan to understand the Monty Hall Problem.

  6. ShuutoHeat (GGBG > Crawford) says:

    This made me giggle like a kid in 6th grade…

    “That’s certainly the look and taste and feel of an MVP,” Rodriguez said.
    Lets see, Cano is batting BEHIND Arod…

    Good win though.

  7. bexarama says:

    This game was awesome. The number of “the Rays make the Yankees look so bad :( :( :( ” comments in the thread kind of make me laugh though.

  8. Dirty Pena says:

    Question: When did James Shields start being known as Jamie?

  9. Chris says:

    Not a great debut for Lance Berkman – 0-for-4 with a strikeout – but who cares, he’ll be fine. It was nice having a little extra length in the lineup, no? Made a noticeable difference towards the bottom of the order.

    It was interesting to hear Kevin Long say something to the effect of, “When we get to New York, we’ll break down his swing and get him hitting again.” I expect great things from Berkman.

  10. forensicnucchem says:

    As if the game itself wasn’t awesome enough, then come the postgame interviews (via LoHud):

    A-Rod on Cano: “That’s certainly the look and taste and feel of an MVP,”

    A-Rod on his offense now with #600: “The way I’m swinging now, it’s probably going to take a while,” he said. “Get comfortable. People are asking me about home runs. I’m just asking for a hit by pitch, an infield hit, a bunt single, an error.” (And there was more with him making fun of his popups and groundouts too that he didn’t add)

    Robertson on being awesome now: “I haven’t been sucking, that’s the different. When you suck, you get hit.”

    Does it get any better than that?

  11. Sean C says:

    I can not and will not get tired of pictures of Robbie smiling after doing something awesome. This seems to be all too common this year, which is fantastic for me as a fan. By the way, Berkman’s a BUST. Kidding, it is an awesome problem to have 5 batters in the lineup with the potential/actuality of OPSing .900+. Top to bottom, this lineup is going to murder baseballs for the rest of this season. More and more, this team gives me reasons to love watching them play baseball. I thank my dad for making me a Yankee fan.

  12. wooderson says:

    i want some coffee

  13. Mike Nitabach says:

    What a great game! I am glad A-Rod can laugh at himself. It is great to seem him growing out of his humorlessness. It is just a game, after all.

    • Wil Nieves #1 Fan says:

      I must agree. I really get a kick out of watching A-Rod nowadays. Especially when him and Jete go at it about pop flies. The wonders of finally winning a ring.

  14. Mike Nitabach says:

    BTW, anyone know why today’s game is at 1:40PM? That’s an odd time.

  15. Total Dominication says:

    After last night’s game, Cano has broken a tie with Crawford and jumped over Votto and Morneau in the FG WAR standings. Hamilton is up by .4 as of now.

  16. I Am Not The Droids You're Looking For says:

    Love that comment about Berkman by long. Sounds definitive, as if he’s already identified what he sees as the issue.

    • Steve H says:

      I wonder if teams ever approach their hitting coaches to watch video of guys they are considering acquiring. It’s more likely during the offseason I’m sure, but I wonder if teams ever do it. They’d clearly have to have a ton of confidence in their hitting coach.

      • Gonzo says:

        I am sure their scouts know what Long’s capabilities as a hitting coach. I am curious too about their level of communication regarding trades.

        Maybe scouts just know their coaches that well.

  17. Little Bill says:

    I wish I hadn’t watch ESPN’s OTL and Sports Reporters today. Yesterday ESPN News’ baseball trade deadline coverage consisted of Amy K. Nelson surfing the internet and reading other journalist’s work. Today Amy used an informal twitter and facebook poll as proof that nobody cares about A-Rod’s 600th HR, not even Yankees fans as her friend is a Yankees fan and he doesn’t consider A-Rod a true Yankee. Mike Lupica argued that the Yankees are insecure with all the moves they made yesterday. I’m sure they are insecure with the best record in baseball and weren’t just trying to add depth to their lineup, bench, and bullpen. I really wish I got MLB network.

    • Pete says:

      MLB Network’s analysis still sucks, apart from Leiter. But I’d rather have Harold Reynolds talk about how awesome every single person who ever touched a baseball field, or thought about doing so, is, than hear all the ESPN stuff. Dumb and overly positive >>>>>> dumb and overly negative

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