The Yankees are built on superstars. Every now and then someone pops up with a surprising season, but for the most part, this team is built on elite players doing elite things. And right now, Robinson Cano and CC Sabathia are doing elite things
There’s certainly depth on this roster — and it’s hard to know where the Yankees would be without Derek Jeter, Hiroki Kuroda and Rafael Soriano — but at the end of the day, Cano is the Yankees best hitter and Sabathia is their best pitcher. Everything else is built around them, and it’s no surprise that when those two fell into September slumps, the feeling about this team changed. The Yankees seemed infinitely more vulnerable.
“Things changed around at the right time,” Cano said. “That’s when you really need it, right now.”
Neither Sabathia nor Cano was able to explain what’s made them better recently, but Cano has multiple hits in seven straight games and Sabathia has pitched eight innings in three straight starts.
“Just trying to relax and not overthrow,” Sabathia said.
It was Cano who started last night’s nine-run second inning with a home run. He also doubled in the inning.
“He’s been impressive,” Mark Teixeira said. “And when Robbie gets on these streaks, there’s no one better in baseball. He looked like he was playing Whiffle ball out there, just flicking the ball all over the ballpark. It didn’t matter what they were throwing up there, he was hitting it hard.”
Once the Yankees took that big league, they let Sabathia take over.
“CC has been great for us,” Cano said. “You’ve got to understand, sometimes you go on the DL and you’re not going to come back and be the same guy. Sometimes it takes a few games.”
It took both of them a few games. Cano was pretty bad for about two weeks, and there were legitimate questions about whether something was physically wrong with Sabathia. But if they’re going to perform up to these standards — up to their standards — the Yankees look dangerous again.
“It’s a lot different when you’re locked in,” Cano said. “You just go up there and look for your pitch.”
“Can’t take anything for granted,” Sabathia said. “Keep working hard, keep working on stuff on the side, and then I’m ready to go.”
Associated Press photos