Saturday, May 18, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Yankees 7, Blue Jays 2
By Andrew Marchand
WHAT IT MEANS: The Yankees are on the verge of sweeping the Blue Jays. Robinson Cano is working on his MVP credentials. And David Phelps is making his case to stay in the rotation.
By the way, the Yankees own the Jays. They are now 8-1 against them this season after a 7-2 victory.
LEAGUE LEADER: Cano was at it again. He knocked two two-run homers and continues to show why he is one of the top 5 hitters in baseball. With Mark Reynolds and Edwin Encarnacion going deep on Saturday, Cano, Encarnacion and Reynolds are tied for the American League lead with 12.
IVAN WHO? Phelps is beginning to take a firm grasp on a spot in the rotation. With Ivan Nova hurt, Phelps has now had three straights strong starts. He pitched out of trouble in the first and the third, but for the most part had his way with the Blue Jays, allowing just one run on six hits, striking out eight and walking three in his seven innings of work.
Meanwhile, Ivan Nova is still rehabbing in Tampa, leaving Phelps and Vidal Nuno -- who should get another crack at starting on Tuesday in Baltimore -- in fine position to take hold as major league starters. Plus, Michael Pineda is upping his rehab and could return in June.
The story, at the moment, is the emergence of Phelps, who has a 2.84 ERA in his last four starts. Not bad, not bad at all.
ON THE BOARD: In the third, the Yankees broke through, scoring three runs. Brett Gardner picked up an RBI single. For Gardner, it is important to start hitting a little bit more because playing time is not guaranteed to anyone.
With DH Travis Hafner healthy after missing five games, the Yankees have four outfielders for three spots.
It is clear that Ichiro Suzuki is the one who should sit the most. Saturday was the first time that Joe Girardi began to reveal his plan and he had Ichiro on the pines. Still, even though Gardner is a teacher's pet of Girardi and Brian Cashman, he still has to perform to stay in center most days.
Later in the third, Cano hit his first two-run homer of the day.
HAFNER GOES YARD: For good measure in the eighth, Hafner hit a two-run jack, his seventh of the season. It cost Mariano Rivera another save opportunity. Boone Logan, instead, handled the ninth.
ANNOUNCED ATTENDANCE: 45,577. Most of them seemed to show up, too. There are a lot of affordable seats, according to the owner.
QUESTION OF THE DAY: When everyone is healthy, what would your starting rotation be?