Monday, August 20, 2012

Inside Robbie Cano's Slump

(Need to see more of this follow through.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

While Eric Chavez, Derek Jeter, and Nick Swisher have been carrying the offensive torch for the last week plus, the keyest of key middle-of-the-lineup bats, Robinson Cano, has been in a serious slump.  With A-Rod already on the shelf, Teix back nursing his wrist injury, and C-Grand only recently starting to break out his own slump, the middle of the lineup could really use Cano's production and has been a bit suspect without it, even as the Yankees have gone 6-3 in the 9 games since Cano started struggling at the plate.  In those 9 games dating back to August 11th, Cano is just 2-24 with 2 R, 2 RBI (none since 8/12), 5 BB, and 6 K.  What's been going on with Cano during these 9 games that killed his offensive momentum so quickly?  Let's take a look.

Game 121 Wrap-Up: NYY 4 BOS 1

(I got your left-handed power right here.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

It's been an interesting season for Hiroki Kuroda against the Fraud Sawx.  He didn't face them until July and actually faced them twice last month.  In his most recent outing, he pitched very well (8 IP, 2 ER) and got a no-decision, and in the outing earlier in the month he pitched very poorly and still got the win.  That start on July 6th was the last time Kuroda had a "bad" outing, and he's been almost lights out since then (43.2 IP, 7 ER in his last 6 starts).  He completely outmatched the potent Texas Ranger lineup on Tuesday, and last night he had the hammer in his hand to drive the last nail into the coffin of the Fraud Sawx's season.

Game Notes:

- The Yankees didn't waste any time getting to Josh BeckettDerek Jeter led off the game with a double to deep center and came around to score on Curtis Granderson's 2-out double to right to make it 1-0 Yanks after 1.

- They manufactured a run in the bottom of the 3rd on a Jeter double, Nick Swisher walk, a really smart double steal that took some pressure off a slumping Robinson Cano and opened the door for Jeter to trot home on a passed ball a few pitches later.  It was 2-0 Yanks through 3 and they were working Beckett hard.

- While this was going on offensively, Kuroda was picking up right where he left off against Texas on the mound.  He had the slider working, the sinker working, had good command of his fastball, and allowed just 1 hit and 0 runs through the first 4 innings.

- After seemingly pretending to foul off a similar pitch in ugly fashion the pitch before, Ichiro Suzuki squared up a 2-2 fastball that was up in the zone from Beckett and hit it for his 2nd Yankee HR to make it 3-0 Yanks after 4.

- There was no pretending the next time Ichiro came up in the 6th.  He got a thigh-high fastball from Beckett and he drove it out into the right field seats for his second consecutive homer on the night.

- There were signs that Kuroda was tiring and starting to lose his command a bit at the end of the 6th, and it became more apparent in the 7th when he threw a bad slider that Adrian Gonzalez hit for a solo HR to make it 4-1.  But Kuroda got out of the inning without further damage.

- I guess Hiroki had enough left in the tank, because Joe let him come out for the 8th and he mowed them down.  Soriano handled the 9th with ease, striking out Gonzalez on a nasty slider to end the game and the Fraud Sawx season.