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Yanks Rays- What we Learned?

Well this weekend was a roller coaster.  The Yankees and Rays showed why both teams are the best in the majors and the Rays have made things interesting by pulling into one game of the Yankees.

What did we learn this weekend?

1) Well for one, Robinson Cano isn’t disappearing when the game is on the line.  The last couple of seasons have been stressful for the Yankees, watching Cano constantly having bad at-bats with runners in scoring position and with the chance to get a big hit late in games.

Cano came up in the ninth inning with Rays Soriano (who we’ll get to later) coming into a tie game.  Cano hit a monster shot off Soriano and Mariano came in to calmly close out the game.  It was huge for the Yankees and Cano.  The Yankees regained their two-game advantage until they lost Sunday, and it showed that Cano is really an MVP canidate that will have to step up when October comes around.

2) Joe Girardi really wanted to play with his new toys.  Lance Berkman played in both games since joining the club, and played first base on Sunday (which hopefully never happens again) and Austin Kearns was put into the outfield which gave Brett Gardner the day off.

Berkman struggled offensively, which is understandable since he hasn’t played in a pennant race in what feels like in forever, and must of been nervous since he is now a Yankee.  We did learn quickly though, that Berkman is no Teixeira-and may not even be a Giambi- at first base.  He couldn’t pick a ball out of the dirt, and looked lost going after a bloop base hit that brought in a run.  Look for Berkman to DH when he’s in the lineup.

3) More about Girardi.  He is going to be under intense pressure to get all these veterans on the club at-bats, and one that may cause some problems is how he’ll handle getting Posada in the lineup.  Posada had DH’d when Cervelli has started at catcher but will now be on the bench now that Berkman looks to be the full-time DH.  Girardi is going to have to find ways to get him more at-bats because Posada can still hit even though his defense isn’t what it used to be.

Girardi will have to keep everybody happy, and I rather have Posada as the DH, more then Berkman.

4) A-Rod is really struggling now.  When he first started going after 600 A-Rod was still having good at-bats and getting on base.  He was even getting hits with RISP and was bringing runners home.  Now, he’s getting under every pitch and fouling everything off.  He’s had more pop-ups in the past week then I’ve seen from him all season.

A-Rod was handling 600 well in the beginning of his journey, but it’s now hurting the offense.  He needs to get it over with quickly because the offense needs to start clicking again.

5) For the Rays, they are feisty and are not scared of anybody, not even the big bad Yankees.  They seemed really annoyed getting asked questions about the players the Yankees have acquired.  They even made it sound like the Yankees got Pujols and Roy Halladay.  I guess they’re just tired of the Yankees always making moves.

Nevertheless, the Rays keep pitchers and defenses on their toes and Joe Maddon is not scared to take any chances.  They even bunted with a runner on third and with two strikes.

What has really changed things for them is Rafael Soriano.  He has a 1.90 ERA on the season and has only given up three home runs all season long.  He’s not overpowering, but he throws strikes, and only has nine walks in 42 innings pitched this year.  Soriano solidifies their bullpen, something that has been their weakness in past years.

The Rays are here to stay and they’ll make things interesting in September.

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