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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Postgame notes: “It seems like Robbie was born to hit”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Notes, Podcast on Aug 17, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

After 12 pitches and seven consecutive foul balls, the thing that caught my eye was the reaction of Melky Cabrera. Robinson Cano had just fought through one of the best at-bats of the season, and when it ended with a game-changing, three-run home run to deep right-center field, Cabrera reacted as if he’d been expecting it all along. He took maybe a step and a half, then stopped to watch it fly away.

At some point, when you’ve seen Cano enough times, you know something like this is possible.

“Robbie’s going to hit,” Joe Girardi said. “It seems like Robbie was born to hit.”

In his past 16 games, Cano is hitting .422 with five home runs and 22 RBI. Girardi it’s the best Cano’s ever been, and Cano said he’s felt as good as he did last season when he finished third in MVP voting.

“I’ve been more able to drive the ball the other way, something I wasn’t doing most of the first half,” Cano said. “Now in the second half, I’ve got three or four homers the other way, and that’s something you want. You want power to the whole field, not just pulling things and hitting ground balls to second base.”

That fourth-inning at-bat was a perfect example of just how good he can be. A left-handed pitcher was firing fastballs and sliders, and Cano kept fighting them off — including two fastballs that he said were “on the ground” — until he finally got a slider he could handle. Cano said he had been kicking himself for not taking a walk, but he did better than a free pass.

“It’s as good as it gets,” Girardi said. “That’s just a great at-bat. Even just to foul off that many pitches and continue the at-bat is great. To get a hit is great, then to top it with a homer… To be able to recognize a pitch and foul it off when it’s not your pitch, a guy who’s throwing pretty hard up to 95-96 with a good (breaking ball), that’s not easy to do. That’s where you see the talent in Robbie.”

Here’s Cano.

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• Alex Rodriguez played six innings in the field and went 1-for-3 at the plate in his Triple-A rehab appearance. Girardi said he had not yet gotten a full report, but all indications were that Rodriguez came through the game just fine and will play again tomorrow.

• A side note: I wrote yesterday that the Yankees are keeping the Triple-A clubhouse closed to media before Rodriguez’s rehab games. Turns out they did the same thing when Derek Jeter was in Trenton. I don’t remember that ever happening when I was in Scranton, but apparently it’s something the Yankees have started doing to control the chaos. Understandable, just struck me as unusual when I first heard about it.

• Cano was asked whether he feels more pressure when Rodriguez is out of the lineup: “Here is always a feeling of responsibility, even with Alex not here,” he said. “But it’s more with Al here, because you want to make them pitch to him, not just walk him and try and face you. That means you’re not doing your thing.”

• Cano’s at-bat was clearly the turning point, and the Yankees wouldn’t win this game without a big night from the lineup, but the bullpen was beyond outstanding. Yankees relievers faced 11 hitters and retired all of them. “They’ve done a tremendous job in these two games here,” Girardi said. “They’ve been really good. It’s how you draw it up.”

• Derek Jeter is now hitting .352 with 17 runs and 21 RBI in his past 22 games. he’s a career .318 hitter against the Royals… Not to be outdone, Brett Gardner is a career .474 hitter against the Royals (9-for-19).

• Ivan Nova’s two worst starts this year have come against the Royals. “They hit me,” Nova said. “They see my ball really well. That’s why I get hit against this team.”

• Girardi and Nova seemed to have different takes on the problem tonight. Nova felt like he got hit on some good pitches. Girardi thought Nova made some good pitches, but got hit on mistakes that were up in the zone. “He was up,” Girardi said. “You look at the hits he gave up, high slider, high curveball, high fastball. He threw some good sliders and good curveballs, but it seemed like when he made a mistake – sometimes with two strikes – they hit it.”

• Nova has won five straight starts and his 12 wins are the most among Major League rookies. It’s the highest win total for a Yankees rookie since Orlando Hernandez went 12-4 in 1998. He’s already matched the Yankees rookie win record for the past 30 years. “A win is a win,” Nova said. “I don’t think I get paid for my ERA. I think I get paid to win games, so a win’s a win, no matter the way you get it.”

• The Yankees claimed left-handed reliever Raul Valdes off waivers from the Cardinals and assigned him to Triple-A. His lefty splits are pretty bad, but he’s spent parts of two years in the big leagues, so apparently the Yankees aren’t the only team to see something in him.

• To make room on the 40-man, Jeff Marquez was transfered to the 60-day disabled list.

• If for no other reason, click the Cano audio to hear Nick Swisher pleading his case for the early bus to wait for him. He was clearly joking, but it was very funny. Also, the postgame song of choice tonight was Smells Like Teen Spirit. Unusual, but solid.

Associated Press photos

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54 Responses to “Postgame notes: “It seems like Robbie was born to hit””

  1. Nick in SF August 17th, 2011 at 1:04 am

    Here we are now, entertain us?

  2. m August 17th, 2011 at 1:21 am

    Surely someone as smart as you can entertain yourself!

  3. m August 17th, 2011 at 1:28 am

    Just kidding, Nick! Come out and play. ;)

  4. Nick in SF August 17th, 2011 at 1:33 am

    ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ reference, m. For shame. :cry:

  5. m August 17th, 2011 at 1:43 am

    Oops. I suppose I should be embarrassed that I don’t know the lyrics to that song.

  6. Nick in SF August 17th, 2011 at 1:45 am

    Maybe I chose the wrong lyric for Lohud.

    I feel stupid, and contagious.

  7. BJK August 17th, 2011 at 1:47 am

    Chad, did Girardi say anything about why he may have possibly left his struggling rookie in one batter too long (tying run at the plate?)

    And was anything said about bullpen availability tomorrow night now that Lo/So/Ro/Mo have all gone back to back nights?

  8. m August 17th, 2011 at 1:50 am

    BJK,

    I’m wavering between A)letting him get the GIDP or B)getting him an out as far as whittling the rotation down to 5-men.

  9. Nick in SF August 17th, 2011 at 2:10 am

    Bar/To/Lo/Co/Lo/No/esi for 9?

  10. West Coast Yankee Fan August 17th, 2011 at 3:03 am

    Nick in SF August 17th, 2011 at 1:45 am

    I feel stupid, and contagious.

    ************

    If the shoe fits.

  11. pft2 August 17th, 2011 at 4:53 am

    Cano might be the best hitter in the game when he goes the opposite way like he is now. If he played for the Red Sox at Fenway he would put up sick numbers. Playing at Yankee stadium he sometimes gets a bit pull happy and thats when he chases bad pitches out of the zone.

    The fact a pitcher can get a W by giving up 7 runs shows you how valuable that stat is. Poor Shields throws a complete game and gives up 3 runs and gets the L.

  12. West Coast Yankee Fan August 17th, 2011 at 4:56 am

    Most important game observation of the night from RAB:

    “Holy hell, how annoying were the crickets? Apparently enough people complained about them that the YES booth had to acknowledge that yeah, they were making the broadcast unbearable. Thankfully they’re only in Kansas City for one more night.”

  13. West Coast Yankee Fan August 17th, 2011 at 4:58 am

    Debunking a myth:

    The Yankees have gone up against a pitcher they had never seen eighteen times in 2011. Their record is 14-4.

  14. Benny Blanco August 17th, 2011 at 7:13 am

    Robbie wasn’t born to hit, he was born to RAKE! He’s been tearing the seams off the baseball. :)

  15. trisha - true pinstriped blue August 17th, 2011 at 7:16 am

    And the Suxers drop back into their rightful Avis position – with a little luck they will end up either National or Budget!!!

    :D

    I bet West Coast Sux fan had a hard time sleeping. I see his was the final post of the evening, at 4:58 am. Up at two in the morning (his time), walking the floor, unable to sleep.

    Awwwww. :)

    But I’m sure he’ll find something good to say about the Sux, like they don’t sweat or something, just to keep his usual perspective on what’s really important and what isn’t.

    HARDEE HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR!

    GO YANKEES!!!!!

    Hi to all the gang. Life is good when you’re a Yankee fan (and pretty distorted, I would think, when you just pretend to be.)

  16. BIG AL August 17th, 2011 at 7:25 am

    trisha -

    It’s always good to be a “True” Yankees fan, regardless of the standings. Good morning.

  17. trisha - true pinstriped blue August 17th, 2011 at 7:39 am

    Big Al, I’m there through thick and thin, first place or last, proud of them and rooting for them all the way. I think they are the pick of the berries on their worst day as well as on their best.

    I want to thank the Good Lord for making me a Yankee fan.

    :)

  18. blake August 17th, 2011 at 7:40 am

    If Pedroia had had a 12 pitch AB that ended with a 3 run go ahead homer then every radio station would have lead with it and my guess is that some sort of grittiest player ever award would be presented to him by ESPN.

  19. trisha - true pinstriped blue August 17th, 2011 at 7:46 am

    :)

  20. BIG AL August 17th, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Trisha -

    Amen to that. How have you been? I’ve not been here that much lately, can’t stand the sand box attitude of the whining posters. Much prefer a positive outlook when being lucky enough to support a great team. Some here are always looking more to fight than post, but, that’s live. Hope live is treating you and yours well.

  21. trisha - true pinstriped blue August 17th, 2011 at 7:46 am

    I used to love to listen to Joe Morgan wax poetic about Robby. He absolutely loved the kid, and that is why I loved Joe Morgan.

  22. blake August 17th, 2011 at 7:49 am

    I miss Joe Morgan :( don’t know.whatcha got……til its goneeeee (and its replaced with something much worse)

  23. trisha - true pinstriped blue August 17th, 2011 at 7:51 am

    Big Al – I’m here very seldom, but I do show up for special occasions.

    A number of us hit the road because of the CR*9 debacle (he is still here posting under different names by the way) and most haven’t bothered to come back. That nutjob notwithstanding, game threads make me realize how little I miss the drama!

    Still there were (are) some really great posters, and that’s the only thing I miss. Things are really good, and I hope the same can be said for you and yours.

    :)

  24. blake August 17th, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Remember when Mitch Williams said that the Boston win the AL east by the largest margin in baseball…….that was fun.

  25. BIG AL August 17th, 2011 at 7:53 am

    Trisha -

    If you are a baseball fan, regardless of your favorite team, you have to love Robbie. After reading stories of how he and his Dad work out during the off season, and how they imbrace other players, out of the love of baseball, you can’t help feeling love for this kid. My wish is a long Yankees career.

  26. blake August 17th, 2011 at 7:53 am

    Morning trisha

  27. trisha - true pinstriped blue August 17th, 2011 at 7:55 am

    blake, I know a lot of people couldn’t stand Morgan – apparently enough that he’s no longer there – but I guess I never totally understood why. I only tuned in when the Yankees were the Sunday night game, and it wasn’t so often for me to understand whatever the problem was. Again, though, he adored Robby and talked about him nonstop – and for that he occupied a definite place in my heart! And you know how I am with loyalty!

    :)

  28. blake August 17th, 2011 at 7:58 am

    Trisha,

    He could get annoying but he was always fair from what I could tell……they just thought it was time for a.change I guess. The new Sunday night team is just dreadful…..I can’t hardly listen to them.

  29. trisha - true pinstriped blue August 17th, 2011 at 7:58 am

    “Remember when Mitch Williams said that the Boston win the AL east by the largest margin in baseball…….that was fun.”

    :) :) :)

    Hi blake!!!

    Gonna cut for a while because I have a painter coming over in a short while and I have to move some stuff to give him room to paint – but I will join up again because it’s a great day to be a Yankee fan and to break bread with my compadres!!!

  30. BIG AL August 17th, 2011 at 7:58 am

    Joe Morgan did great color commentary, and was always fair he his analysis.

  31. trisha - true pinstriped blue August 17th, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Big Al, I’m sure you know blake is great people so I hope you hang around for a while and chit chat.

    Be back later.

  32. BIG AL August 17th, 2011 at 8:02 am

    blake -

    Morning. Was it ever so great to wake up to the Yankees in first place. Let’s hope we can keep the wheels turning in the right direction. What happened to Ortiz, heard he was out?

  33. BIG AL August 17th, 2011 at 8:04 am

    Trisha -

    Yes, I know Blake is good people, he and MTU are some of my favorite posters.

  34. BIG AL August 17th, 2011 at 8:11 am

    The way Jeter is hitting of late, I’d say next year the Yankees build in a 2 week vacation for him mid season to re-charge his batteries, wow, he is really on a tear. If A-Rod comes back and picks up the offense even more, with the quality starts we’re getting, this team could pull away by 5 or 6 games easy. :)

  35. blake August 17th, 2011 at 8:12 am

    Morning AL….trisha you have a nice day and.make sure thy put plastic down before they paint ;)

  36. BIG AL August 17th, 2011 at 8:12 am

    Got to go, the mops need to be walked. Later.

  37. BIG AL August 17th, 2011 at 8:14 am

    blake -

    Morning. Be back in a bit. To be safe, it’s always better to wrap it in plastic to prevent accidents. :)

  38. Erin August 17th, 2011 at 8:23 am

    How about that Robinson Cano? :D

    I’m so glad this is their last game against the Royals-I don’t know if I can take another night of the KC broadcast. It’s unbelievably bad. I may have to put the TV on mute tonight.

  39. MG August 17th, 2011 at 8:24 am

    it’s funny how all of a sudden Robbie Cano is the darling of everyone at LoHud when earlier this season, when he was scuffling, he was the subject of ridicule, called lazy by some, others called for him to be benched for actually swinging at a pitch, etc, etc, etc

    Those who actually know and understand baseball are never surprised when cream rises to the top. In Robbie’s case, nothing he does surprises me because he is an incredible talent both offensively and defensively-no one can sustain their top performance for 162 consecutive games, it’s just a matter of which part of the season they dominate, as Robbie has done since Arod went down with the knee injury.

    I won’t even get into how the ‘Derek Jeter is finished, bat him 9th’ crowd was so wrong, it’s pretty funny, though, how those comments have disappeared with resurgence-21 RBIs in 22 games with 17 runs scored and a batting average north of .350 in that time.

  40. MG August 17th, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Erin, try the Royals broadcast isn’t as bad as the Rays-try ignoring the play by play guy (he is awful) but Frank White, the analyst, is really good-he also thinks Robbie Cano is the best 2nd baseman in baseball (and he should know, he was great in his day out there).

  41. Erin August 17th, 2011 at 8:26 am

    MG August 17th, 2011 at 8:24 am
    it?s funny how all of a sudden Robbie Cano is the darling of everyone at LoHud when earlier this season, when he was scuffling, he was the subject of ridicule, called lazy by some, others called for him to be benched for actually swinging at a pitch, etc, etc, etc

    *****************************

    I can assure you, I was not one of those people. ;)

  42. Erin August 17th, 2011 at 8:28 am

    MG-true, the Rays broadcast is worse than the Royals.

    and ok, I’ll give White points for thinking Robbie is the best. :)

  43. blake August 17th, 2011 at 8:33 am

    When Robbie uses the whole field and swings at pitches he can drive then there is.no better hitter in baseball. He has an incredible ability to put the barrel on the ball……he reminds me of prime Nomar in that way.

    Actually if you look at his career he’s always been a 2nd half player……he really turns it in after the ASB and he’s on pace to match or beat last year in most everything except OBP.

  44. MG August 17th, 2011 at 8:36 am

    Erin, you are definitely not one of those, we know who they are-they show up in any game the Yankees are behind and whine and complain about everything, then disappear as soon as the Yankees get ahead.

  45. blake August 17th, 2011 at 8:36 am

    I think a couple of things happened with Derek that’s allowed this resurgence. 1) he may have had some other nagging injury we don’t know about that healed up also while on the DL 2) the rest probably helped him 3) he got with one of his early hitting coaches and really stressed keeping his weight back and not drifting forward 4) 3,000 hits is over 5) perhaps he’s finally just adjusting to his new skill set

    Coukd be any combo of the above…..but if he can keep it up its a pretty big development for the Yankees.

  46. MG August 17th, 2011 at 8:42 am

    blake, Jetes is reminding me of himself a few years ago-driving the ball consistently in all directions.

    I buy into the hidden injury but his comment about working with Gary Denbo in Tampa is really interesting-he made a bunch of changes during the winter and spring that obviously didn’t work all that well and maybe just focusing on staying back and keeping his head more still eliminated the other stuff from his head while at the plate and got him back on track. It’s the same thing in golf, when you limit yourself to one swing thought you always hit the ball much better.

    And I don’t take his working with Denbo as a knock on Kevin Long either, I’m just pleased with the results.

  47. Yankee Trader August 17th, 2011 at 8:45 am

    BIG AL-

    When you come back from walking your mops, you asked about David Ortiz.He developed bursitis in his right heel and was placed in a walking boot to rest him a few days.

    It was initially reported that he wasn’t playing due to illness. When i heard that I thought it was probably just hypoglycemia from not having his JUICE that day!!

  48. HipHipHorHay August 17th, 2011 at 8:49 am

    MG – I don’t remember earlier this season 1) Robbie scuffling, or 2) people here being down on him. 2008, maybe, but my real complaint then was (to quote DeNiro in “Bronx Tale”), wasted talent.

  49. 108 stitches August 17th, 2011 at 8:55 am

    No concern with Nova’s outing. His pitches were a liitle too high but he’ll learn from it opposed to another pitcher that’s content with mediocrity and being overpaid. Nova is safe. Sending down a pitcher with good stuff and a 12-4 record would be cause for mutiny in the Bronx.
    Meantime, 6 good innings from Colon with run support is acceptable before a flight to Minnesota.

  50. Yankee Trader August 17th, 2011 at 8:56 am

    On A-Rods possible return Thursday from the NY Daily News:

    The knee was fine, Rodriguez said, but the rest of his body was just getting used to playing games again.

    “You go down for three weeks, the body gets a little slow, a little tentative,” Rodriguez said. “The knee feels good, I am just waiting for the rest of my body to respond.”

    If A-Rod returns to the majors as planned Thursday, Girardi said that he would use him as the Yankees’ designated hitter.

    That would appear to be a good idea.

    “Offensively is where I feel the most comfortable,” Rodriguez said. “On the field it’s going to take a little more time.””
    ———–

    Hopefully, once he tests the repaired knee, he won’t be tentative.

  51. Erin August 17th, 2011 at 9:02 am

    New Post: Nova “doesn’t need a mulligan” after last night

    :arrow:

  52. BIG AL August 17th, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Yankee Trader -

    Thanks for the update. I thought the injury bug was going to hit the RS again this year, it’s about that time when the older players start getting those nagging injuries.

  53. BIG AL August 17th, 2011 at 9:05 am

    If A-Rod feels good about his knee, and can start driving the ball again, we’re in great shape.

  54. MTU August 17th, 2011 at 9:09 am

    Al/Trisha-

    Good to see the 2 of you around.

    :)

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