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Cano Leads Yankees With More Late-Game Dramatics

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One day after the Boston Red Sox devolved into a spat of classless, helmet throwing, temper tantrums, the New York Yankees completed a masterful 6-1 homestand by securing their ninth win in 10 games on Robinson Cano's walk-off 11th inning single to beat the division rival Toronto Blue Jays 4-3 in a Wednesday day-game. It was the Yankees' 11th walk-off win of the season — once again highlighting their flare for the dramatics — and pushed their lead in the AL Central to an even six games over second place Boston.

This latest homestand was a demonstration of dominance that is becoming second nature to this years' crop of Yankees. At 71-43 the Yanks have the best record in baseball and their 41-18 record at home (also the best in baseball) is evidence enough that the team has learned to play well in their new digs. To go along with their ML-best record, the Yankees are also second in the MLB (and tops in the AL) in batting average (.288), first in home runs (175), first in OBP (.360), and first in runs scored (630). The entire lineup has been on fire; a fact thoroughly reflected in their four-game punishment of Boston and in their two victories over Toronto, with seemingly a different figure playing "hero" every game.

Wednesday's contest against Toronto was an accumulation of everything that has led to the Yankees' emergence as the best team in baseball. The offense was there, this time provided by Robinson Cano, who went 2-for-5 with a home run, 2 RBIs, and that game winning single. The effective starting pitching (which has been very consistent lately) was also present. Although starter A.J. Burnett gave up 10 hits in six innings he allowed only three runs and struck out seven to keep the Yankees in a position to win the game late.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the bullpen was once again lights-out. Phil Coke, David Robertson, Phil Hughes, and newly-acquired Chad Gaudin
combined for four scoreless innings. Hughes — who has been untouchable since moving to the 'pen — gave up two hits and struck out two in his 1.1 innings of work, once again making his manager look like a genius for keeping him in the set-up role, even as the fifth starter position remains in doubt. Gaudin — the player who might be the solution to that fifth starter question — was also very good, giving up one hit over two innings, striking out four, and registering his first win as a Yankee.

Since their slow, injury-plagued start, the Yankees have found their stroke, solidified their rotation, and rebuilt their bullpen, forming a complete offensive and defensive force that. at times, seems unbeatable. Like the Torre-era Yankees, this Girardi squad is fundamentally sound (their defensive is outstanding), talented, and has a knack for the dramatic finish. What remains to be seen is if this Joe's Yankees can accumulate the jewelry to go along with their elite play and pristine record.

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About Anthony Tobis

  • I was so disappointed in the Yankees last year and thought Joe Girardi was a terrible pick as manager (I was rooting for Don Mattingly to get the job), but I must admit the team has been playing some exciting baseball this year. It has that similar feeling the championship teams of 1996 through 2000 had, like they can never be counted out. Should be fun to see how far they go.

  • Tony

    Yeah I also wanted Mattingly out of nostalgia but I think Girardi has really done a great job, especially when it comes to re-working the bullpen and using his role players.