Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Cano Puts Teams On Notice With Yesterday's Swings

What was that I was saying about Robbie yesterday?

"To say that he's weak hitting the ball to left, however, would be a mistake and there's every reason to believe that Cano can make the necessary adjustment to combat this new approach."

Oh that's right.  Something about Cano being one of the best hitters in the game and being more than capable of beating the new approach of pitching him away if opposing teams stuck with it.  How'd that work out for Cleveland pitching yesterday?

Early Bullpen Struggles Bring Questionable Roster Decisions Into Light

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

The bullpen was supposed to be a strength again this year.  The Yankees came into Spring Training with the core seven guys all but guaranteed roster spots, or so we thought.  As injuries in other parts of the roster mounted, and the resulting personnel moves to cover them created a 40-man roster crunch, some of those spots became less of a guarantee, and at the end of camp there was more than a bit of surprise when David Aardsma and Clay Rapada were DFA'd.  Their back end bullpen spots were given to Shawn Kelley and Cody Eppley, with Adam Warren making the cut as well as long man coverage for Phil Hughes.  With just seven games in the books, it's hardly an "end of the world" problem, but the poor performance of those late additions and the slightly surprising struggles of Joba Chamberlain and Boone Logan has me once again questioning some of those "in/out" roster decisions.

Game 7 Wrap-Up: NYY 11 CLE 6

(All the high fives to this guy.  Courtesy of the AP)

After failing to put up more than 4 runs in each of their first 5 games, the Yankees broke out late against Detroit on Sunday, putting a 7-spot on the scoreboard when all was said and done.  If there was a game where that needed to continue, it was yesterday's game in which Hiroki Kuroda was returning to the mound to make his regularly-scheduled start despite still feeling some numbness in his injured middle finger.  Kuroda was able to get through 5+ innings, while the offense continued to trend in the right direction.

Game Notes:

- No time was wasted in getting to Cleveland starter Ubaldo Jimenez.  With 2 on and 1 out in the top of the 1st, Travis Hafner crushed a 3-run HR to center field and the Yanks led 3-0.

- It was a good thing too because Kuroda struggled in the bottom half.  He gave the 3 runs back on 3 singles, 2 walks, and 2 sac flies, and he certainly looked as though he was having trouble with his injured finger and his command.

- Hafner recaptured the lead in the top of the 3rd with an RBI single to score Robinson Cano, who doubled to lead off the inning.  That was the end of the fireworks for Hafner, but Cano was just getting started.

- After another run on a Brett Gardner ribbie single in the 4th, Cano led off the top of the 5th with a HR to left-center field.  That all but ended Jimenez's day, and probably struck fear into the hearts of opposing pitchers everywhere.

- Cano wasn't done, stroking another solo shot to right in the 6th.  3 more runs tacked on in the 7th gave the Yankee offense 5 straight innings with at least 1 run and an 11-3 lead.

- Kuroda was much sharper in his last couple innings, finding the feel for his sinker and splitter and holding the Indians scoreless until he departed with 1 out in the 6th.

- Shawn Kelley came on and gave up 3 runs in the 8th, which didn't affect the outcome but wasn't encouraging.  Joba followed him up with a scoreless, albeit BB-filled 9th inning.