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It wasn’t easy, but the New York Yankees were able to take 2-out-of-3 from the Los Angeles Angels this past weekend in a very hard fought series victory. From my perspective this was the best series I’ve seen the Yankees play in thus far because they didn’t particularly dominate the 3-game set with the Angels. Both teams were evenly matched for the most part and the New York Yankees were able to do “the little things” better to get the series victory and move onto facing the Seattle Mariners.
New York will close out the month of April this week with not only a record above .500, but against former superstar player Robinson Cano and his new team, the Seattle Mariners. Lets take a look at the upcoming 3-game series between the New York Yankees (15-10) and the Seattle Mariners (10-14):
1. Welcome back to the Bronx, Mr. Robinson:
Many fans, like myself, were very surprised that Robinson Cano signed a new deal with a team that wasn’t the New York Yankees this past offseason. History has told us that it’s a foregone conclusion that a guy like Robinson Cano would stay in the Bronx to become the face of their franchise rather than exit the Yankees for a team not as “rich” in history like the Seattle Mariners. Robinson Cano bumped that trend when signed a 10-year, $240MM deal over the winter and turned his pinstripes in for the cash colored green of the Seattle Mariners.
Robinson Cano has had a pretty quiet April this far (.301 BA/1 HR/11 RBIs) and isn’t looking like a player that’ll make one of the biggest annual salaries in Baseball right now. I fully expect that to change soon and it very well could happen once Robinson Cano enters the Bronx this Tuesday. Cano is a career .312 BA hitter with 79 HR’s over the course of 5 seasons in the new Yankee Stadium, so be prepared to relive the “short porch” homeruns that Robinson Cano made famous during his time with the New York Yankees.
2. Will Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann make Yankee fans forget about Cano:
The New York Yankees spent more money in the 2013 offseason than I think most people expected them to spend. I know that’s hard to believe, but when New York misses the playoffs, the Steinbrenner family clearly does not mess around. Letting Robinson Cano go to Seattle allowed New York to sign Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran this past offseason. Three moves that changed the look of New York’s “heart of the order” and hopes of taking Yankee fans minds off of what they will miss from a great player like Robinson Cano.
Jacoby Ellsbury (.312 BA/0 HRs/11 RBIs), Carlos Beltran (.275 BA/5 HRs/13 RBIs) and Brian McCann (.235 BA/3 HRs/9 RBIs) have all done a pretty good job so far in making Yankee fans e believers that this team will contend for a playoff spot in 2014. I think the thing that has been most impressive thus far is that these 3 players are carrying this team, individually and as a unit, better than Robinson Cano did last season for the Yankees when they needed him the most. It’s easy to grade a unit like this when it’s compared to just one player, but that was the whole point of New York’s front office making these moves last offseason, develop the “heart of the order” & make fans forget about Robinson Cano based off of production and more importantly, victories.
3. Will CC Sabathia stay consistent and how will David Phelps perform in his spot start role:
There’s a lot of concern for CC Sabathia, and why shouldn’t there be? The Yankees ace is coming off of a 2013 season where he had an ERA of 4.78 and came out of the gate in 2014 struggling by giving up 4 earned runs or more in each of his 3 starts. Since then it appears the left-hander has gotten himself under control in his last 2 starts by only giving up 2 earned runs or less, we’ll see if that trend can continue against Seattle and if he has officially gone from a “power pitcher” to a “finesse pitcher.”
David Phelps on the other hand will be filling in for Michael Pineda’s start as he continues to serve his suspension. This is a big opportunity for Phelps as he can really challenge Vidal Nuno for the 5th starter spot should he have a decent outing against Seattle in this 3-game series. I’ve always leaned more towards David Phelps when comparing to Vidal Nuno, so this could be a chance for the 27-year old to prove he deserves a spot in the Yankees rotation.