The middle of the Yankee lineup, specifically, has been one of the areas of the team most decimated by injuries with Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Nick Swisher all needing to miss various amounts of games. So far this season, the team's best player has managed to stay on the field, hit better than anyone in the lineup, and play strong defense at second base to help the Yankees battle through stretches without some of their most prolific sluggers.
In his most recent two games against the Baltimore Orioles, Cano went 3-6 with two home runs, one being a grand slam, and six RBI to help the Yankees avoid being swept using a lineup that they are not used to being forced to resort to. The team will need Cano to keep hitting the way they know he can until Teixeira is back to 100% and A-Rod's hand heals to hold down the middle of the order and, as one of the best players in the game, there should be little doubt that he will hold his own.
Everyone expects Cano to produce offensively, but he has also come through in the field, making only four errors this season. With injuries come replacement players who aren't necessarily used to making web gem plays on defense for an extended period of time. That kind of uncertainty at various positions around the diamond necessitates the regular players to step up and play their best defense. Playing strong defense in the playoffs, and really at any point, is extremely important for not allowing good teams to have extra chances to score runs. The Yankees need all the help they can get in that department and Cano has shown he can do just that, regardless of whether the lineup is complete or not.
Prior to his two big games this week, Cano had fallen into a bit of a slump, but it looks like he's breaking out of that at just the right time to help keep the Yankees in the win column against the Seattle Mariners, who will visit the Bronx for a series beginning tonight. If there's a big spot in the game right now, it would be hard to argue against wanting him up at the plate because of the success he's enjoyed in 2012. When he's on a tear, little can be done to stop him. That's exactly what you'd expect from one of the best players in baseball and there are a lot of reasons to believe he won't disappoint.