Sunday, April 28, 2013

Yan-Kees Are Hafner There..Oh Oh, Living on a Prayer

Yeah, it doesn't get much cornier than that. But you can bet the Yankees are praying that Travis Hafner can stay healthy.  Hafner was the hero in Saturday's come from behind 5-4 win against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Hafner was a one man wrecking crew for the Cleveland Indians from 2004-2007. Then he became a man with a wrecked body. Hafner played in more than 100 games just once between 2008 and 2012.  So far, he's been vintage Hafner, or "Pronk" as he is known (half project/half donkey), for the Bronx Bombers.

With Ben Francisco not able to hit his away out of a paper bag right now, the left-handed hitting Hafner got a rare start against Blue Jays' left-hander J.A. Happ. A Jose Bautista home run had helped put Yankees starter CC Sabathia and the pinstripes in a 3-0 hole after the the top of the third inning. Super Hafner to the rescue.

With one swing of the bat Hafner tied things up with his 207th career home run and his sixth as a Yankee.  The ball easily cleared the 385-ft mark in right-center field. Brett Lawrie took Sabathia deep in the 6th inning for a 4-3 lead, but Hafner and his fellow resurrected super hero Vernon Wells came to the rescue.

Robinson Cano  continued to rake with a lead off double in the 7th against reliever Esmile Rogers. Wells has struggled with runners in scoring position, but singled to center to tie the game at four apiece. Kevin Youkilis grounded out, but Wells advanced to second on the play. With lefty Brett Cecil on the mound, Wells then stole third base. The extra bag wouldn't matter as Hafner drilled a ball to center field.

Rajai Davis ran the wrong route to the ball, which caromed off his glove and the wall as he tried to recover. By the time Bautista got the ball back into the infield, Hafner was on third was a stand up triple. Just the 13th three-bagger of his 12 year career.

With Joe Girardi not wanting to use Mariano Rivera three days in a row, it was on Joba Chamberlain to nail down the save in the 9th. It's kind of like watching a horror movie between the fingers you have covering your eyes.

Chamberlain struck out Colby Rasmus to start the frame, but Maicer Izturis and Emilio Bonifacio reached on back to back singles. Jayson Nix, playing the hot corner, took a potential double and game tying RBI away from Bonafacio on the play.

Chamberlain retired Davis on shallow fly to Ichiro in right to set up a showdown with former teammate Melky Cabrera. Chamberlain won out when the Melk-man tapped to Nix, who merely stepped on the third base for a game ending force out.


Hafner must think he's dreaming and doesn't want to be woken up. His .309/.433/.727 split (1.160 OPS) is what dreams are made of.

After a slow start Bautista is getting back on track. He now has 18 home runs in 197 at-bats against the Yankees.

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