Cano and the Yankees have plenty to be happy about after last night’s big win. But the real baseball season begins now and they hope to thrive off the confidence boost they received in the final game of the season.
With playoff positioning hanging in the balance of last night’s match-ups between the Yankees and Red Sox, as well as the Orioles and Rays, both teams did what they had to do, win. But the Yankees victory was most meaningful, as it laid out the final blueprint for the 2012 MLB playoffs, and they made a statement in the process too.
Even though they let it come down to the final game of the season to determine whether they’d guarantee themselves a spot in the ALDS or if they’d have to scrap it out in a one game wild-card, they were well aware of what they were playing for last night and made plenty of noise while clearing up the playoff picture.
With a loud 14-2 win over the Red Sox, the Yankees did more than grab their 13 AL East title in 16 years, they also secured home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, which may be their biggest ally this October. Playing in the comfort of their home confines in the Bronx has been the strong suit of the club in 2012.
When comparing their 51-30 record at home, with their 44-37 road record, things seem pretty even across the offensive line, with a slight edge at home in batting average, runs, and RBIs. But the one area they really excel in on their turf, is the long ball. Of their league-best, 245 home runs, the Bombers sent 138 of them out in the Bronx. The short porch in right, perfectly matched up with a lefty-dominated lineup, makes the Pinstripes a force to be reckoned with at home when a championship is on the line.
Pitching has also been at their best when their on familiar grounds in New York. They have a lower ERA (3.67) and much lower batting average against (.239), when compared to away games, (4.04) and (.266). With a totally healthy starting rotation now, and hopefully a sturdy bullpen to rely on late in games, the Yankees will need this to continue as well.
All of these aspects were working right in sync last night as the Yankees put quite the exclamation point on the regular season last night. Robinson Cano led the offensive onslaught, by going 4-4, with two booming home runs and six RBIs in the game. Cano is as hot as they come in they batter’s box right now, riding a nine-game hitting streak in which he’s accumulated 24 hits, three homers, and 14 RBIs to help carry the team to a division crown.
Hiroki Kuroda also pitched well last night, as he has for much of the season, especially when he gets solid run-support like that.
All the pieces of the puzzle seem to have been falling into place for the Yanks over the final stretch of season, just in time for this postseason. They currently sit back and wait for their opponent to be determined on Friday after the one-game playoff between the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles. But regardless of their opponent, the Yankees will certainly be coasting into the ALDS on the confidence boost provided by last night’s huge win.