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Two seasons ago, Robinson Cano was at the top of every diehard Yankees fan’s sh*tlist.  He had just finished a season which saw his batting average drop over 40 points from the previous season and over 80 points from the 2006 season.  He made a committment that off-season to turn things around and get back to his previous form.

Fast forward to 2010 and Robinson Cano is most definitely the best player on the Yankee roster this young season.  He has led the Yankees in virtually every statistical category at the plate and was tops in the majors in many categories.  Through 22 games in April, Cano was hitting .400, with 8 homers and 18 RBI.

In fact, Cano was the first player in Yankees history to do that in April.

While normally strong hitters Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez struggled to slow starts, Cano provided much of the spark at the plate for the Yankees offense and earned the #5 spot in the lineup going into May.

“You can teach someone to pull the ball,” Yankee Captain Derek Jeter told ESPNNewYork. “It’s tough to teach someone to hit the ball the other way, and Robby’s always been able to do it. That makes it tough to pitch to him.”

Big kudos to Cano.  I think he is making a good argument that the Yankees should be concerned with locking him into a long-term deal this off-season.

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Phil Hughes pitches to the Athletics in a dominant start on Wednesday night. (AP photo by Ben Margot)

Phil Hughes took an impressive no-hit try into the eighth inning last night, losing it when Eric Chavez bounced a hard comebacker off the pitcher’s forearm and chest in the New York Yankees’ 3-1 win over the Oakland Athletics.

Hughes (2-0) struck out a career-high 10 in the Yankees’ sixth straight win, with his parents in the stands to see it after driving up from Orange County for his outing. Hughes was in complete control until Chavez opened the eighth with that one-hopper back to the mound.

This was the second near-miss for the 23-year old future star. Hughes had a no-hitter through 6.1 innings in 2007 against Texas.

Hughes gave up only one hit in 7.1 innings and walked two.

Two batters after Chavez got aboard, Hughes walked Gabe Gross and was done. He was charged with Oakland’s lone run in the standout 101-pitch performance after pinch-hitter Jake Fox had an RBI single off Joba Chamberlain.

Mariano Rivera finished the three-hitter for his sixth save in as many chances.

Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano hit back-to-back triples to start the fourth off A’s starter Ben Sheets. Posada followed Cano’s hit with an RBI groundout. Brett Gardner’s RBI single with two outs in the ninth provided an insurance run.

With the win last night, the Yankees matched the 1926 franchise record by winning its first five series of the season.

One very interesting tidbit that reflects the Yankees’ pitching dominance and defensive approach in each game is that they have held opponents to three or fewer runs in each game during their winning streak. With the exception of Javy Vazquez, the other four starters are a combined 8-0.

CC Sabathia takes the mound this afternoon going for the sweep of the A’s in front of the hometown crowd where he grew up. First pitch is for 3:35 p.m.

Today I witnessed the best pitching performance I have seen from the Yankees ace. Too bad it was cut short.

CC Sabathia kept a no-hit bid going for 7 2/3 innings Saturday, losing the closest call of his career on a sharp single by former batterymate Kelly Shoppach in the New York Yankees’ 10-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Shoppach’s hit on a 1-0 pitch off the big lefty fell cleanly in front of left fielder Brett Gardner.

Joe Girardi immediately came out of the dugout to remove Sabathia, who walked two and struck out five. The left-hander threw 69 of his 111 pitches for strikes and benefited from spectacular defensive plays by Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano.

David Robertson pitched the final 1 1/3 innings to complete a combined two-hitter. Ben Zobrist doubled off the reliever with two outs in the ninth.

Cano hit a two-run homer off Tampa starter Wade Davis in the fourth inning, and the Yankees scored two more in the fifth on Derek Jeter’s run-scoring single and Teixeira’s RBI double. After going 0-17 for the first time in his career, Tex got three straight hits in his final three AB in the game.

Every Yankee starter got a hit except Nick Johnson, although he reached base on a walk. Tex led all Yankees with three hits in four plate appearances, followed by Brett Gardner with 2 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs. Curtis Granderson went 2 for 3 with two walks and one RBI. In his first game this season, catcher Francisco Cervelli earned a two-run double in the 8th inning.

The Yankees loaded the base in the top of the 9th and Gardner generated a walk to bring home Ramiro Pena, who had pinch run for Alex Rodriguez.

The Yankees go for the rubber match on Sunday afternoon, sending AJ Burnett to the mound for a 1:40pm start against Jamie Shields and the Tampa Bay Rays.

(AP photo by Mike Carlson)

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The Yankees opened the 2010 season on a good note, hitting back to back home runs to give them a 2-0 lead, which they squandered in the 7th inning and lost to the Boston Red Sox tonight in Fenway Park, 9-7.

CC Sabathia pitched 5.1 innings in his start and his counterpart Josh Beckett struggled, allowing five runs, eight hits, and only struck out one in 4.2 innings. Sabathia had six hits, five runs and four strikeouts.

Jorge Posada and Curtis Granderson hit back to back home runs in the second inning, for the first Opening Day back-to-back jacks since 1983. Posada went 3 for 4 on the evening, with two RBIs. That home run was Granderson’s only hit. Robinson Cano came up big tonight, getting two hard-hit balls, going 2 for 5 with one RBI. Everyone in the Yankees’ lineup except Nick Johnson and Mark Teixeira had hits. Derek Jeter and Brett Gardner were the only other Yankees to get multiple hits. Jeter went 2 for 5 and Gardner hit .500 with one RBI.

There was one brilliant play in the fourth inning when a double-steal happened when Jeter dashed for second base and Gardner sped home and stole home from third base. That was a payback for Jacoby Ellsbury stealing home last year. Brilliant play by the Yankees there.

While CC Sabathia did not earn the decision tonight, he was good for the first five innings, but outfield mental errors by Brett Gardner gave the Red Sox an opportunity to tie the game. It was Gardner’s first game in left field, but he definitely acted that way, not making good jumps on the ball and at one point missing the cut off man and throwing it past Jorge Posada at catcher.

Granderson, however, made an excellent back-to-wall catch in the second inning and he may be a nice asset for the Yankees in centerfield. Only the rest of the season will tell if he’s a good fit than he was in Comerica Park.

The Yankees’ bullpen imploded after Sabathia exited. David Robertson entered the game and allowed a hit, but it was Chan Ho Park, formerly of the Phillies, that allowed three runs, giving the Red Sox the advantage. Park earned the loss for the Yankees tonight. Joba Chamberlain entered in the 8th inning and wasn’t effective allowing two hits and walking one while throwing 33 pitches for 1.1 innings.

Yes, the Yankees may have lost tonight, but keep in mind the Yankees lost eight straight to open the season against the Red Sox, but look at who won the World Series last year.

Both teams are off tomorrow, and the second game is on Tuesday and it features AJ Burnett vs. Jon Lester.

Even with their “B” team, the Yankees were still able to easily defeat the Royals 8-2.

Chad Gaudin started and picked up his sixth win of the season. In 6.2 innings pitched he allowed 2 runs on 4 hits, walked 2, and struck out 5.

Ramiro Pena hit his first career homer, which was greeted by the silent treatment in the dugout, then a flurry of back slaps and high fives came afterwards. He got the WWE championship belt also. He also drove in a second run later in the game with an RBI single in the seventh.

The big blow of the game came off the bat of Robinson Cano, a grand slam in the seventh to blow the game wide open and give the Yanks an 8-2 lead. With his RISP struggles this year, it was great to see. It was Cano’s 25th homer of the season. He also doubled in the game, his 48th of the year.

Erick Hinske and Shelley Duncan also had RBI singles.

The bullpen did a good job tonight. Damaso Marte retired the only batter he faced, and Alfredo Aceves threw two perfect innings.

It was the Yankees 101st win of the season, three more wins would give them the most they’ve had since 1998. Here’s an interesting fact I didn’t know until reading other bloggers and checking it online myself: Besides that 1998 season they’ve only won more than 103 games in the last 46 years, and that was in 1964.

Boston lost again, 11-5 to the Blue Jays. Sometimes I wonder if they’re trying to throw away the Wild Card?

The opener of that big four-game set between the Tigers and Twins was rained out. They will play a day-night doubleheader today.

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