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Friday, August 30, 2013
Girardi: Sori playing like an MVP

By Andrew Marchand

NEW YORK -- If Alfonso Soriano were to continue his home run pace with the Yankees over 162 games, he would finish with nearly 61 in a season. As it is, in his 32 games as a Yankee, Soriano has 12 homers, 35 RBIs and six stolen bases.

"He's playing like an MVP," Joe Girardi said after the Yankees' 8-5 win over the Orioles Friday night. "When you look at the month of August and what he has done in the month of August, they are MVP type of numbers if you put them over six months. He is stealing bases, playing really good defense. He has been a complete player."

Alfonso Soriano
Alfonso Saoriano has hit 12 homers in 32 games with the Yankees this season.
With CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and Hiroki Kuroda struggling, the Yankees may have to hit their way to the playoffs in the final 28 games. The lineup is improved; Friday was the fifth game that the Yankees had eight or more runs and 12 or more hits in August. In the previous four months, they had a total of six, according to YES researcher Jeff Quagliata.

"I feel our lineup is a lot deeper," Girardi said.

One of the newest reasons why may be the emergence of Mark Reynolds. Reynolds suddenly looks like a different player from the one that Cleveland sent to the Yankees for nothing in return.

Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long convinced Reynolds to abandon the toe tap that had preceded his swings dating back to his time at the University of Virginia. This has allowed him to improve his timing.

On Friday, Reynolds had his second consecutive three-hit game. He has done that only twice before in his career. It appears as if he will be the everyday first baseman until further notice.

"If you would have told me five, 10 years ago that I would be playing for the Yankees with [Derek] Jeter and A-Rod [Alex Rodriguez] and all these guys I watched growing up, I wouldn't have believed you," the 30-year-old Reynolds said. "It has been a whirlwind."

On Friday, Reynolds and his teammates picked up Sabathia by scoring five runs in the fifth. Each of the team's first seven batters reached safely. Curtis Granderson doubled, Reynolds doubled, Ichiro Suzuki homered, Austin Romine doubled, Brett Gardner singled, Jeter walked and Robinson Cano singled. The Yankees had not started an inning with four straight extra-base hits since April of 2012, according to Elias.

So this is a different lineup. Does it have enough to follow the road map to the playoffs? With Soriano and Reynolds able to carry a team when they are hot, maybe it does.