Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Cano Needs No Reminders of 42

Robinson Cano doesn't need to be reminded of the importance of Jackie Robinson to the game of baseball and to the African-American community. The Yankees number 24 was named after the baseball great, whose career numbers don't reflect his stature or his courage.

Cano, who switched to 24 (42 in reverse) to honor the former Brooklyn Dodger, is the most important hitter on the Yankees right now. His bat was a big influence again in last night's 4-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Yankees sixth victory in their last seven games.

With the Yankees down 2-0 in their first interleague game of the season (I won't get into the ridiculous idea of playing an interleague game in the first month of the season), Cano stepped to the plate with two men aboard in the 4th inning against AZ starter Brandon McCarthy.

Moments later the Yankees had a 3-2 lead when Cano's fourth home run of the season sailed over the right-center field wall. It was all that Ivan Nova and the Yankees bullpen would need, though Eduardo Nunez added a sac fly RBI in the 7th inning for the 4-2 final.

Outside of an 0-3 performance in Sunday's series ending victory over Baltimore, Cano has been a house of fire. His 19 hits in 31 at-bats (.613) have included the aforementioned four home runs, four doubles, and 11 RBI. He also walked three times and scored seven runs. Cano's current OPS is an appropriate 1.042.

One of Cano's favorite days of the baseball season is when he gets to don the Yankees jersey with 42 on the back. In the last five games that Cano has worn the number he has gone 9-19 with four home runs and eight RBI.
“That guy opened the door for us,” Cano said of Robinson. “It’s amazing to get a chance to wear 42 that day. It’s one of those fun days in the big leagues.”  - NY Daily News

Cano's heroics helped out Ivan Nova, who struggled in his first start in 11 days. After he got away with some pitchers left up in the zone early in the game, the Dbacks scored a pair of runs in the 3rd inning when they loaded the bases. Things could have been worse, but Nova hung tough after he allowed a sac fly to Miguel Montero and an RBI single to Cody Ross.

Nova's 72 pitches through the 3rd inning continued a bad trend however,  and it will come as no surprise to anyone (except maybe Nova) if one day David Phelps supplants the former 16-game winner in the rotation. Phelps has become the Yankees newest version of Ramiro Mendoza- good enough to start, but so valuable out of the pen as evidenced by the four shutout innings he threw on Saturday to keep the Yankees in the ball game.

Speaking of the bullpen, Boone Logan, Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson, and Mariano Rivera combined for the last 12 outs of the game and allowed just one hit. Rivera picked up his third save of the season.


The Yankees honored the city of Boston in the third inning by playing Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" over the Stadium loudspeakers. The song is a mainstay of Red Sox games and other Boston sporting events.

It's only April 17, but going into tonight's game with Arizona, newcomers Kevin Youkilis, Travis Hafner, and Vernon Wells are all hitting over .300. For a team that wasn't supposed to hit home runs, the Yankees have the fourth highest total in the Major Leagues with 19.

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