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Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Harper: Robinson Cano’s defensive lapse costs Yankees dearly in series opener against Tampa Bay

First things first: Let’s not make this about a lack of hustle on the part of Robinson Cano. He was wrong, to be sure, not to dive for that ground ball in the eighth inning on Monday that turned into a game-winning single for the Rays.

But it wasn’t a lack of effort from Cano that cost the Yankees a huge ballgame, as their lead in the AL East continues to shrink by the day. It was a bad decision.

Cano’s history of nonchalance, most of which he has overcome, still gets him unfairly labeled as lazy on days like these. The real issue is that he’s the best defensive second baseman in the majors, and as a result, he thinks he can make any play at any time.

This time it cost him. He thought he was going to get to Chris Gimenez’s ground ball toward the hole, but in such a crucial situation, he should have dived to keep the ball in the infield and prevent Ryan Roberts from scoring from second base.

...On this day, in particular, it looked bad for Cano. In the top of the eighth, he had stopped running out of the batter’s box when it appeared his line drive had been caught by third baseman Elliot Johnson. However, Johnson dropped the ball, yet had plenty of time to throw out Cano, who started running again when he realized the ball was in play.

Cano leaves himself open to criticism on such a play because, unlike Derek Jeter, he doesn’t always run hard on routine ground balls. But this was more of an instinctive stop in his tracks, thinking the ball was caught, than a lack of hustle.

Thanks to Butch.

Repoz Posted: September 04, 2012 at 06:23 AM | 27 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rays, yankees

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   1. Howie Menckel Posted: September 04, 2012 at 06:59 AM (#4225976)

"The real issue is that he’s the best defensive second baseman in the majors,"

a non-Darwinian response....

   2. Greg K Posted: September 04, 2012 at 07:07 AM (#4225978)
Is second base the most disputed position for "best in baseball"?
I've heard fans from their respective teams call Brandon Phillips, Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, Ben Zobrist, Mark Ellis, Chase Utley (though not lately), Darwin Barney, and Aaron Hill the best defensive 2B in baseball.
   3. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: September 04, 2012 at 07:28 AM (#4225981)
"The real issue is that he’s the best defensive second baseman in the majors,"

a non-Darwinian response....


You can tell Derek Jeter is the best defensive SS in the majors too. Just look at all the plays he doesn't make!
   4. SteveF Posted: September 04, 2012 at 09:20 AM (#4226023)
Logically, all that is required is that he thinks he's the best defensive second baseman in the league. I suspect most second basemen in this league share his opinion about themselves.
   5. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: September 04, 2012 at 10:28 AM (#4226069)
FTA:
Afterward Cano said he strained something in his hip trying to make the play, which prevented him from fielding the ball.

“I couldn’t bend over,” he said. “It was grabbing.”

Sorry, I’m not buying it. The replay showed that Cano had to lunge when he realized the ball was scooting past him, and that’s when he appeared to injure himself.

That's quite the accusation.
   6. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: September 04, 2012 at 10:38 AM (#4226076)
It was a tough play. I think the speed of the ball on the turf threw him off a little. I'm surprised he's not getting hammered for costing himself a hit by not immediately running on the liner he hit to the thirdbaseman. That was sort of excusable because the play should have been made in the air, but not really because if he'd just gone through the normal half-assed motion of running down the line he would have been safe. Of course, maybe really is banged up and trying to play though an injury so what looks like laziness is actually pretty game of him.
   7. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: September 04, 2012 at 10:42 AM (#4226079)
Of course, maybe really is banged up and trying to play though an injury so what looks like laziness is actually pretty game of him.

MLBN reported last night that Cano's game status was day-to-day.
   8. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 04, 2012 at 10:43 AM (#4226080)
YES had a terrific replay that showed him from prior to the pitch until after the ball went through. A couple of things jumped at me;

1. He was not ready when the pitch was thrown, he had shifted over to bluff the runner back and instead of being in a ready position he was still walking back to his position when the ball was hit.

2. I thought he looked uncomfortable walking back to his position, I buy his argument that he was already a bit hurt.

3. He seemed to be in a bit of an in-between position. I think he was too close for a true dive and would have had to have sort of gone down like a hockey goalie to block it rather than make any kind of baseball play on it. Maybe he could/should have done so but I don't think it was that easy.

Just generally the ball seemed to take forever to get through the infield. While I think Cano is a bit overrated defensively it's a play I expected him to make. Just based on the way it unfolded I'm inclined to accept his argument that he was already gimpy.
   9. Greg K Posted: September 04, 2012 at 10:44 AM (#4226083)
Greatest fake injury since Michael Johnson lost the prestigious 150m dash?

Or (as is more likely) since I faked a limp after barely beating out a DP ball in Little League, because the truth (me dogging it down the line) wasn't very flattering.
   10. Greg K Posted: September 04, 2012 at 10:48 AM (#4226089)
There was also another play earlier in the game, Cano was the runner at second and (I think) A-Rod hit a chopper up the middle directly at him. Cano froze, then retreated to second...then the ball went through the infield because there were no fielders anywhere near it at which point Cano proceeded to third. It didn't cost the Yankees anything (I suppose it's possible had he gone at the crack of the bat he might have scored before the SS eventually collected the ball, but I doubt it), but the broadcast showed the 3rd base coach giving Cano a bit of a talking to about paying attention to where the fielders are positioned.

I haven't seen a great of Yankee games lately, but is Cano not considered much of a "heads up" player, or was this just a bad day for him?
   11. Bob Tufts Posted: September 04, 2012 at 11:21 AM (#4226118)
It appears that the tightness in Cano's leg isn't the only constriction happening on the Yankees.

I don't care if you are gimpy - you can fall down and block the ball. Deal with Tampa's seniors lament - "I've fallen and can't get up" - later.

JE would have made the play!

   12. AROM Posted: September 04, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4226189)
I saw the replay and Cano did not need to dive to make the play. He just missed it. Many 2B would dive or slide on that one just to make sure the ball stays in the infield, but Robinson doesn't seem the type who's going to dive if he doesn't think he has to.
   13. Charlie O Posted: September 04, 2012 at 01:07 PM (#4226213)
I was half-watching Quick Pitch this weekend and saw a play in which the Yankees' second baseman ranged fairly deep into leftfield to snag a pop fly. It appeared his teammates lost the ball in the sun and he sprinted out to get it like a wide receiver going deep for a pass. Anyway, it was a terrific hustling play and I don't know that I'd ever seen a second baseman do that before. I assume it was Cano.
   14. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 04, 2012 at 01:21 PM (#4226237)
I was half-watching Quick Pitch this weekend and saw a play in which the Yankees' second baseman ranged fairly deep into leftfield to snag a pop fly. It appeared his teammates lost the ball in the sun and he sprinted out to get it like a wide receiver going deep for a pass. Anyway, it was a terrific hustling play and I don't know that I'd ever seen a second baseman do that before. I assume it was Cano.


It was Cano and it was a hell of a play.
   15. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 04, 2012 at 01:30 PM (#4226242)
A couple of years ago, Cano was going back for a popup on the second-base side of the bag in the outfield. Jeter got in there at the last second, but the taller Cano caught the ball. Michael Kay immediately said that it was Jeter's ball and that Cano should have stood down; he might have harmed the precious, precious Captain.
   16. rlc Posted: September 04, 2012 at 03:01 PM (#4226354)
It was Cano and it was a hell of a play.


I couldn't believe where he was when he caught that ball. But he didn't dive, so that proves he's dogging it.
   17. AROM Posted: September 04, 2012 at 03:53 PM (#4226433)
Jeter got in there at the last second, but the taller Cano caught the ball.


Jeter is 3 inches taller than Cano.
   18. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: September 04, 2012 at 04:58 PM (#4226507)
Jeter is 3 inches taller than Cano.
No, that's the shorter Cano. We're talking about the taller Cano. Keep up.
   19. TerpNats Posted: September 04, 2012 at 05:19 PM (#4226537)
Apparently, Cano also momentarily did Yankees fans a service when his foul ball hit the microphone and temporarily silenced John Sterling. Better aim next time, Robinson.
   20. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: September 04, 2012 at 05:58 PM (#4226585)
Or (as is more likely) since I faked a limp after barely beating out a DP ball in Little League, because the truth (me dogging it down the line) wasn't very flattering.

Nope - since I faked rolling my ankle after inexplicably clanking a wide-open layup on a breakaway in pickup basketball about 10 years ago, and, in the process, rolled my ankle.

I've heard fans from their respective teams call Brandon Phillips, Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, Ben Zobrist, Mark Ellis, Chase Utley (though not lately), Darwin Barney, and Aaron Hill the best defensive 2B in baseball.

Aaron Hill? Really? That's random. Phillips and Cozart are an absolute JOY to watch play together, particularly around the bag. Sometime in the last week or so MLBN was running "20 best plays of the season so far in the middle infield" (I think that's what it was called) and the Cinci MI combo is truly terrific.
   21. Greg K Posted: September 04, 2012 at 06:08 PM (#4226590)
Aaron Hill? Really? That's random.

Comes from his days as a Jay. Which actually demonstrates my point...about 4-5 years ago it wasn't uncommon to hear Jay fans discussing Hill as the best defensive 2B in the game (he did score +13 and +22 in back to back years!) Though I'm sure his name wasn't brought up that often outside of Toronto. It seems like just about every fan base thinks their 2B is the guy at one point or another. Unless of course Dan Uggla plays for your team.
   22. chisoxcollector Posted: September 04, 2012 at 09:12 PM (#4226685)
Is second base the most disputed position for "best in baseball"?
I've heard fans from their respective teams call Brandon Phillips, Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia, Ian Kinsler, Ben Zobrist, Mark Ellis, Chase Utley (though not lately), Darwin Barney, and Aaron Hill the best defensive 2B in baseball.


Did you leave Gordon Beckham off of the list because he is clearly the best defensive second baseman of them all, and listing him would simply end the discussion?
   23. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: September 04, 2012 at 10:00 PM (#4226714)
He said he's heard "fans from their respective teams". The White Sox have few detectable fans.
   24. phredbird Posted: September 04, 2012 at 11:00 PM (#4226757)
speaking of defense, who made the 500,000th MLB error on saturday?
   25. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: September 04, 2012 at 11:09 PM (#4226761)
speaking of defense, who made the 500,000th MLB error on saturday?


According to BBREF, there's still 190 to go.
   26. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: September 04, 2012 at 11:11 PM (#4226763)
speaking of defense, who made the 500,000th MLB error on saturday?


It was projected for this Saturday coming up, not the one just past.

   27. phredbird Posted: September 05, 2012 at 10:16 AM (#4226932)
oops, thanks!

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