The Yankees went 4-0 at home, but then a funny thing happened in Canada -- they were narrowly swept by the Jays, but pulled out the win in game three. Meanwhile, the Mets had their usual struggles on the road, but turned it on again once they got back to the friendly confines of Citi Field to take all three games versus the Marlins.
Alex Rodriguez grand slammed his way to the early led in the Player of the Week sweepstakes, Jeff Francouer streaked by A-Rod, then Drosselmeyer came out of nowhere down the home stretch. All the week's stats were put into a computer, using my secret formula (carry the two, divide by three, add a pinch of Budweiser), and the winner is ... we know it's not Hisanori Takahashi or Ryota Igarashi, as they gave up 18 runs in 10.2 innings this week ... so, this week's winner is ... (OK, you already know because it's in the title) ...
Robinson Cano: Not since the early 1990s, when, for years, Peter Gammons used to tell us every other week how many MVPs Gary Sheffield would eventually win (which turned out to be zero), or maybe we can go all the way back to the 1970s when each time Joe Rudi stepped up to the plate in a nationally televised game he'd be labeled "the most underrated player in baseball," have we heard a player branded so relentlessly like we're seeing with Robinson Cano, the MVP Candidate.
Sure, he is an MVP candidate and deserves the accolades, but do we need to hear it every day? And starting way back in April? Are they saying the same thing in Minnesota with Justin Morneau? Or Detroit with Miguel Cabrera? Maybe. Cano's answered any questions about filling the number-five spot in the Yankees order, though, and has been consistently great all season long. His recent hot streak is really more of the same old, same old from him. He hit .366, with two home runs, eight RBIs, two doubles and scored five runs in seven games this week. His 17-game hitting streak was snapped on Friday, but it ties Jorge Cantu's streak for the longest in the majors this season. And he drove in the winning run in the eighth inning of yesterday's game to avoid a sweep.
Jeff Francoeur: Cano just edges out Francoeur because the Yankee had more extra-base hits and scored more runs (hey, that's what the computer print-out told me). The toothy right fielder is absolutely on fire. He has a 10-game hitting streak going, and his bat is even producing when he's not using it -- Ike Davis borrowed it and went 4-for-4 on Saturday. In the six games the Mets played this week, ol' Frenchy batted .457, blasted a homer (the game-tying three-run job yesterday), drove in seven and even walked twice. Sure, one was intentional, but still, it's Jeff Francoeur we're talking about. We knew he would heat up, didn't we? When he was hitting .211 with a .273 OBP, we knew he wasn't that bad. Right?
David Wright: Mr. Strikeout ended up batting .500 for the week, with two home runs, five RBIs and four walks. He now has 10 dingers for the year, tying his total for all of last season. And in six games this week, he only struck out four times, and had four K-less games. That's progress for the third baseman.
Alex Rodriguez: OK, we now have plenty of evidence that walking the bases loaded to get to A-Rod is like stirring up a hornets' nest. And the hornets may have 'roid rage. The Yankees third baseman blasted his 20th grand slam of his career on Monday, which places him third on the all-time list, behind Lou Gehrig and Manny Ramirez, which also moves him up to second on the all-time steroid-aided list. His detractors call him phony, narcissistic, a cheater and make cheap jokes like he's "second on the all-time steroid-aided list," but he's caught fire the last week or so and is now close to the top of the AL RBI leader board. For the week, he batted .354 with two long balls and eight RBIs.
Javier Vazquez/Andy Pettitte/Phil Hughes: Vazquez pitched two gems this week (14 total innings, only three runs allowed, 14 Ks, five BBs), and even took a no-no into the sixth inning of yesterday's game. Pettitte tied Whitey Ford on the all-time career win list on Monday with his 236th victory. He's now exactly 100 games over .500 for his career, and he also pitched 7 2/3 solid innings in a no-decision in Saturday's extra-inning loss. And Hughes? Seven innings, seven Ks, one run and one walk in a win on Wednesday. Just the norm for him these days.
R.A. Dickey/Mike Pelfrey/Johan Santana: Dickey makes this list because of his hitting: Two hits and an RBI single in his win on Friday. On the mound, he's not dominant, he's not great, but he competes and just keeps on winning. He makes adjustments as the game goes on with his fastball and does enough to win. Maybe he's the Mets' starter of the future they've been looking for. He's only 35 years old, which in knuckleball years gives him about 12 more seasons in the big leagues. Pelfrey just keeps on cruising, earning his eighth win of the year on Tuesday, throwing eight impressive innings. And poor Santana continues to throw shutout inning after shutout inning, but just can't pick up a win. As the saying goes, if he didn't have bad luck, he'd have no luck at all.