Robinson Cano continues his hot streak in New York Yankees win over Toronto Blue Jays
Cano is not just the best player on the Yankees, but one of the best in all of baseball. Between his run last year at the end of the season that raised his average 20 points from .293 to .313 in the last nine games of the 2012 season to the MVP performance of the World Baseball Classic and now having an April to remember, Cano has reached new heights.
"It's impressive," Joe Girardi said of Cano after the Yankees 5-3 victory over the Blue Jays. "We've had to shuffle him around the lineup. He's hit wherever we've put him. Took him a few days to get going and he's really taken off. He's had two big three run homers that has won games for us. At this point, it says a lot about him. He's going to take what they give him."
This latest run, a 15-game stretch, has been his masterpiece. With the loss of players to free agency before the season and then getting bitten with the injury bug as the Yankees have, they needed to rely on Cano to carry the team on his back until a lot of the bigger pieces came back to fortify the situation. They needed Cano to be the centerpiece and play all-worldly in order to keep up with the pack and compete enough to give the Yankees a fighting chance. He's done more than his share and without the protection he's had in previous seasons.
After starting the season just 3-for-23, a .130 clip after the first six games, he's been an absolute terror for opposing pitchers of late. In the last 15 games, he's 25-for-64 (.391 BA), with six doubles, seven home runs, and 17 RBIs.
And again this is all without any protection around him in the lineup, including Kevin Youkilis, who has now been out since midway through last Saturday's game.
"That's Robby, that's the way he does things," Francisco Cervelli said of his teammate. "We never worry about him when he's in bad times because he's one of the best hitters in baseball."
Now he's going to go through a rough patch or two throughout the season, but really Cano is on a plateau all his own. His three run home run off of lefty Mark Buerhle just signified how lock into he is right now.
"Well I mean that's what I've got to look all the way," Cano said of looking for a Buerhle fastball. "3-1 and if it's not a pitch that I'm looking for, I take the walk and let the guys behind me do the job."
That's the thing. He was looking fastball. He got his pitch and quickly deposited out of the ballpark. He's not just feasting on mistakes, he's hitting a pitcher's best pitch and also working into very favorible counts; something he's been criticized in the past about.
"For me, there's some at-bats where hes not going to make an out," Vernon Wells said after the game. "It doesn't matter who is pitching or what they throw, you have a feeling. He's fouling off some nasty pitches and if he gets a pitch to hit he's not gonna miss it. Those are the guys you pay to watch every night."
Not only did that three-run home run give the Yankees the lead, but at the time, starter Hiroki Kuroda was battling and the home run took the wind out of the sails of the visiting Blue Jays, who never mounted a serious comeback after that.
This is exactly what the Yankees needed from Cano to start this season. He's taken the 2013 Yankees on his back and has been the main attraction most nights for a Yankees team that is right in the thick of things very early on this season.
Follow Joe Auriemma on Twitter: @JoeAuriemmaYES