It’s easy to lose track of Robinson Cano sometimes.
The Yankees have so many star players populating their roster that Cano can go overlooked. Then there nights like last night when you remember that this guy had the ability to be just as good as those star players. Maybe better.
Cano went 4 for 4 and drove in two runs including the game-winner. He also made three or four plays in the field that were outstanding, including one in the eighth inning.
Cano ranged far to his left to track down a ball off the bat of Ryan Zimmerman, turned his body and made a strong throw from an awkward angle to Mark Teixeira.
“That maybe saved us,” said Brian Bruney, who was pitching. “If he doesn’t make that play, they have two guys on and maybe something happens.”
At the plate, Cano smoked a double to center to give the Yankees the lead in the seventh inning. After A-Rod struck out with Teixeira on second, Cano belted a 2-2 pitch over the head of center fielder Elijah Dukes.
That was a long at-bat for him. Cano had first-pitch singles his first three times up. Cano’s annoys a lot of fans because he lacks patience. He seems to hack at whatever pitch is in the same zip code. But it works for him.
He’s hitting .467 when he puts the first pitch in play and .231 on three-ball counts. For him, patience is not a virtue.
“I just want something in the middle,” Cano said.
Middle inside? Middle away? Middle high?
“Just middle,” he said. “Something I can hit.”
Cano leads the Yankees with a .309 batting average. He’s second in doubles (16) and RBI (41). But a low on-base percentage (.339 thanks to 13 walks in 277 plate appearances) holds down his overall effectiveness. His greatest skill is the ability to put the bat on the ball. It’s also his greatest detriment.
Yogi Berra was the same way. He walked only 44 times in 594 plate appearances in his 1951 MVP season.
Cano is 26 and this would seem to be the time he starts to figure it out and becomes the consistent force the Yankees believe he can be. Every night is not going to be 4 for 4. But if you watched that game last night, you remembered just how good he can be.