Today, Javier Vazquez had his fourth start against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
It was not pretty, it was sad to watch and Vazquez could not complete four innings.
Clearly, Vazquez is not himself.
Is he cursed in pinstripes? Could Yankees fans have gotten in his head?
The answer is irrelevant as it is due to a combination of reasons.
The fact is, Vazquez can pitch and has been successful early in the season. Just check out his Mar/April stats since 2006:
Javier Vazquez – Mar/April
Vazquez’s first struggles seem to be in walks (BB), home-runs and compared to 2008 and 2009 his strike-out totals are way below what he is capable of doing.
Sunday’s started out strong for Vazquez. Eventually, only making it three and a half innings, giving up five runs in the 8-4 loss to the Angels. The upgrade from his one win against the Oakland A’s is now a wash because today was his worst performance yet.
This is something to worry about because what seemed to be baby steps forward just took a unfavorable turn. Not only did Vazquez have a detrimental inning, he has not reached six full innings and the bullpen has to start early. Looking at video of past seasons, Vazquez seems to be hesitating with his pitches more than in the past. Also, when runners are on base, Vazquez panics as if a run has already scored.
Unfortunately for Vazquez, his next start is back in the Bronx, when the Chicago White Sox will be in town.
The White Sox have substantial bats with Alex Rios, Andruw Jones, Carlos Quentin and Paul Konerko. Quentin and Konerko are dominating against right-handed pitchers, so Vazquez will have his hands full if this continues.
Yankee fans are not going to take this lightly, so Vazquez has to be prepared mentally for a lot of heckling.
What should the Yankees learn about Vazquez?
Now, that Vazquez’s most recent start was by far his worst, it throws out any previous improvements he displayed.
One observation from today’s plight was when Girardi pulled Vazquez out of the game not one teammate went over to talk with him. I know it sounds pathetic, but something is eating at this guy. It was surprising to see Vazquez, head in hands, all by himself each time the camera was on him.
Surely the group is frustrated because today’s loss marked the first series defeat this season. It is so early on, but in the American League East one game can do all the difference regarding the post-season.
Fans should be confident that Girardi will help him out, and Vazquez will get fixed. It might be a little longer for Vazquez to gain the trust of the fans, but it is just New York and he should know this by now.
Let’s just hope Javier Vazquez can go back to the pitcher he has always been, unless he is cursed in pinstripes.