Monday, June 28, 2010

Cano, Rivera Lead Yankee Comeback in LA; Tyler Colvin, Up-and-Coming Rookie?

Players of the Day for Sunday, June 27, 2010 American League Dodger manager Joe Torre has a very good team in LA. Playing against his old team, the NY Yankees, revealed what he doesn't have, by comparison. Where he has closer Jonathan Broxton, the Yankees still have Mariano Rivera (left). And Torre also has nobody to match up to this year's Yankee sensation, second baseman Robinson Cano (Torre normally starts either Ronnie Belliard or Blake Dewitt at second). These differences played a big part in New York's dramatic come-from-behind, 8-6, 10-inning win over the Dodgers Sunday night. With the Dodgers apparently cruising to an easy victory - leading by 4 runs at the end of eight innings - Torre called on Broxton to put the final nails in the Yankee coffin. The LA closer got Mark Teixeira on a called third strike, but the next batter, Alex Rodriguez, singled and moved to second on fielder's indifference. That's when Cano, hitless in his previous three at-bats, delivered a run-scoring double and opened the floodgates. Six more batters came to the plate before Broxton could extricate himself. The Yankees tallied four runs in the inning to tie the game at 6-all. After Mariano Rivera worked a perfect 9th inning of relief, it was Cano again, launching a homer to left with A-Rod aboard, to put he Yankees up 8-6, and, with Rivera still on the mound in the bottom of the 10th, it was game over, Rivera picking up his second win of the season. A win turned into a loss, or, from the Yankees' perspective, a loss that became a win. The Yanks kept their 2-game lead over Boston intact with the win, thanks to Cano, who is a shoo-in for his first All Star start. He currently leads Dustin Pedroia by about a million votes, and Pedroia just went on the DL, so pencil - no, pen - him in. Cano is having a spectacular season, with a league-leading .359 batting average, 15 homers and 53 RBI. As for Rivera, his excellence is evident, as usual. He's converted 17 of 18 save opportunities, allowed just 12 hits in 29 1/3 innings, with 6 walks and 29 strikeouts. Rivera's ERA is 0.92, with an 0.61 WHIP. Opposing batters are hitting just .122 against him this season. Might as well mark him down for his 11th All Star appearance. Hey, Joe, need a closer? How about a second baseman? National League The season slipping away, with one more chance to snatch a win from their cross-town rivals, the Cubs finally rose to the occasion, taking the last of their three-game series - and last interleague game of 2010 - over the White Sox, by an 8-6 score. Without Tyler Colvin atop the Cubs' lineup, the White Sox may have won their 12th straight game, but the rookie provided an offensive spark, starting the scoring with a three-run homer in the 3rd inning, and ending it with an RBI single in the 8th. In between, he singled and scored in the 5th inning, going 3-for-5 with two runs and four RBI. Colvin is having a nice year for the Cubs and certainly deserves more playing time, but with Alfonso Soriano in left, Marlon Byrd having a career year in center and Kosuke Fukudome entrenched in right field, there's no place to put the kid. In just 134 at-bats, Colvin is hitting .296 with 10 homers, 9 doubles, 27 RBI and 24 runs. By comparison, Fukudome - the player he'd likely replace - is batting .270 with 6 homers, 8 doubles, 24 RBI and 24 runs in 189 at-bats. Will manager Lou Piniella make the move? Tough call, though Fukudome, with just 27 homers in nearly 2 1/2 seasons, doesn't have Colvin's power, plus, his career batting average is a sub-par .260. Colvin appears to have great upside, and with the Cubs languishing 8 1/2 games behind the Central division-leading Reds - with the Cards and Brewers also ahead of them - it might be time for Sweet Lou to shake things up. Colvin batted leadoff in Sunday's game, whereas Fukudome was in the top spot in the order in the Cubs' two prior losses to the White Sox Sox, going 1-for-7 with no runs and no RBI. Keep an eye on the Cubs for a full-time change, even though Colvin, a left-hander, may be a bit of a liability in right field, though that shouldn't sway the argument against him. More Streaking: The White Sox loss to the Cubs ended their 11-game winning streak tying them with Texas for the longest in the majors this season. Meanwhile, both Texas' Josh Hamilton and KC's Jose Guillen extended their hitting streaks to 21 games. Hamilton blasted a long, three-run homer in the Rangers' 10-1 win over Houston for his only hit of the game. Guillen had two singles in the Royals' 10-3 win over St. Louis. They are the longest hitting streaks in the majors, creating some excitement as baseball nears mid-season.

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