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Yankees Daily Briefing 10/03/11

After Detroit evened the ALDS at one game each on Sunday, the Yankees and Tigers will travel to Detroit for Game 3 on Monday, a rematch (of sorts) between CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander, who were rained out of their Game 1 duel.

Discussion of the Day: Do you believe Joe Girardi was right on Sunday to pinch hit Eric Chavez for Brett Gardner? Why or why not?

Behind Enemy Lines: Jerry Crasnick writes that Miguel Cabrera is finally receiving attention for the right reasons. Cabrera's personal issues have received significant attention over the last few years, but he still remains one of the best hitters in baseball today.

1) Wallace Matthews writes that the playoff monkey is back for Alex Rodriguez.

Rodriguez, who came to the Yankees before the 2004 season, was often considered a playoff goat prior to being the out-and-out hero for the Yankees in the 2009 postseason (with key home runs in the second and third game of the ALDS, Game 2 of the ALCS and Game 2 of the World Series). Rodriguez, however, is off to a poor start in the 2011 ALDS, and while two games is hardly a significant sample size, large sample sizes in the postseason are hard to come by. Rodriguez was far from the Yankees' best hitter in 2011, and one can argue whether he should be hitting cleanup or lower in the order, but calling Rodriguez the playoff goat when the Yankees don't (as of Monday morning) trail in the ALDS seems a bit premature.

2) John Harper writes about the value of Robinson Cano.

Indeed, as Cano came to the plate with two outs in the ninth inning on Sunday, one would have been hard pressed to find a Yankee fan who wanted another batter at the plate in that scenario. Certainly, Saturday's grand slam has a lot to do with the perception of Cano, but the second baseman was by far the most valuable Yankees hitter in 2010, and while 2011 wasn't quite as great, it was certainly good enough to cement Cano's standing as one of baseball's best second baseman. As Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada enter the final phase of their careers, the idea that the Yankees are becoming Cano's team is not without merit.

3) Joel Sherman writes that Manny Banuelos wasn't ready to help the Yankees in the 2011 postseason.

Banuelos, who ended the season pitching at Triple-A Scranton, is just 20 years, so saying that he was not yet ready to help the Yankees is far from an indictment. Still, his season was much less consistent than his breakout effort in 2010, and the Yankees never appeared to be in such significant trouble pitching-wise that promoting Banuelos would have been a necessity. Banuelos is young enough that the Yankees need not rush to get him to the majors, and if not having him for the 2011 postseason makes him more effective in seasons to come, most Yankee fans would probably take that trade off.