Mariners Win In Cano’s Return To New York


Apr 29, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; Seattle Mariners second baseman

Robinson Cano

speaks at a press conference before the game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

There were boos. “You sold out,” chanted the fans who benefit more than any other from players’ tendency towards taking the best offer. That was just the start of the fun, as the Seattle Mariners went on to beat the New York Yankees 6-3 on Tuesday night. As you hoped, Robinson Cano contributed to the winning effort in his first trip to the Bronx since becoming a Mariner. Glory.

We laugh when Robinson Cano is booed by fans of the New York Yankees. Cano left “for the money,” just like Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia and so, so many countless other Yankees. But we cheer for Cano as hard as we booed Alex Rodriguez, and ultimately the obvious lesson here is that fans just want to love the players who play for their team.

If a player used to play for their team, but no longer does, their lack of contributions are magnified. Cano contributes as little to the Yankees as Shin-Soo Choo, but the big difference is where they started out. Ellsbury was a Red Sox (Red Sock?) his whole career, until he was a Yankee. New York fans love him now, of course, because he’s an especially good Yankee. From afar, none of it makes sense. But way up close, it all makes sense. Fans boo because of what they used to have. Nobody’s great at dealing with loss, but sports fans are perhaps extra bad at it.

One could argue that Chris Young outpitched CC Sabathia, given their runs allowed totals. One could argue that Sabathia outpitched Young, given that Sabathia struck out six and walked zero while Young walked three and struck out three while allowing a Texiera dinger. Sabathia, one could note, was the victim of poor sequencing and bad BABIP luck. But Sabathia’s also been at least kind of broken for the last year or so, and Yankees fans can only be so comforted by his strong K/BB numbers when his ERA is over five, a season after his ERA was almost five. Young’s running a 3.04 ERA with plenty more walks than strikeouts.

By ERA, Young looks awesome and Sabathia looks broken, but looking past ERA the exact opposite appears to be true. By FIP, Sabathia’s been better on the year and was certainly better last night. This game is a prime example of why team-dependent stats like ERA don’t tell you nearly enough about a pitcher to be of much use on their own. In this case, Chris Young‘s ERA essentially says that the Mariners won last night. Which they did. Which is great.

Enough about fielding independent pitching, this is a game recap of a game in which the M’s beat the Yanks in New York while starting Robinson Cano at second base. New York was leading 2-0 by the third off of Texiera’s solo shot and a stolen base turned throwing error. Cano, of course, opened the Seattle scoring with an RBI groundout in the fifth. Corey Hart plated two immediately after with a double, and Justin Smoak singled him home. There’s that sequencing for you – three singles, strikeout, RBI groundout, RBI double, RBI single. “The big inning.” Sabathia’s strikeouts were nice, for him, but a four-run fifth proved insurmountable for his team. Okay, now enough about ERA/FIP stuff. Back to the M’s winning.

Cano’s only hit on the day came in the seventh, when he led off with a single against former top prospect turned reliever Dellin Betances. A couple of strikeouts later, Dustin Ackley successfully pinch hit for Cole Gillespie, scoring Cano, who had stolen second base. Mike Zunino singled to score Ackley, and speaking of Zunino, he went four for five on the day. We all know how he’s been super aggressive, and these are how many pitches he saw in each of his five at bats: three, four, two, four, four. That’s…a lot more than I would have expected, but still not great! He swings a lot. He’s rarely on base. But he’s powerful, and his defense behind the plate is at times unreal. Zunino may already be a good major league ballplayer. A little power certainly goes a long way when you frame and block the way he does.

There will be no Yankee Stadium fun tonight, as rain happened and the field isn’t going to be playable. Rain is expected to keep happening all night, so a double header tomorrow seems out of the question. It appears, for the time being, that the M’s may have to find a way to revisit the Bronx at some later date in order to play what should have been today’s game. Roenis Elias was scheduled for tonight, and he’ll simply be pushed back a day. The Yankees are going to skip David Phelps in order to get Hiroki Kuroda on the mound Thursday. Series finale is set for 4:05pm, barring worse weather. Fingers crossed for sun! In other news, Hector Noesi is starting for the White Sox tonight. Haw-haw. So watch that, if you hate having fun.

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