A good chance for Vazquez to get back on track


It’s no secret that Javy Vazquez has underwhelmed in his first two starts this season. Not only has he allowed 12 runs in 11 innings, but he’s only thrown 58.8% first pitch strikes and has gotten just 7.6% swinging strikes, both well below his career averages. Javy will make his third start of the season tonight, and the good news is that there’s going to be a lot working in his favor.

Photo Credit: Kathy Willens, AP

The A’s have started the season well with a 9-5 record and +15 run differential, though they’ve spent a lot of time beating up on the punchless Mariners and awful Orioles. As a team they hit a fair amount of fly balls (37.2%) despite not really having any homerun threats in the lineup, and they make contact on 84.1% of the swings they take, one of the best rates in the league. Their offense is built a lot like the Yankees in that they make a ton of contact and hit lots of balls in the air, but they don’t put as many men on base (8.7 BB%) and they certainly don’t have the same kind of power.

Oakland’s home park is rather spacious with an infamous amount of foul territory. Over the last three years it’s suppressed homers and doubles to about 91% of the league average, though it’ll certainly beef up the number of triples hit. Three-baggers are kind of a special case anyway, because they usually require an exceptionally fast runner and/or an outfielder misplaying a ball to happen. Anyway, Javy’s going to have the advantage of facing a team without much power in a park that already suppresses extra-base hits, something you couldn’t say about his last two starts.

Some of his struggles have been attributed to mechanical issues, but there’s bound to be some confidence issues here as well. How could there not be after getting smacked around in two starts and getting booed off the mound at home? A strong outing and a win could go a long way just toward restoring an measure of normalcy to Javy’s baseball life, which could have a big effect going forward.

No one expected Vazquez to come in and be the pitcher he was last year in Atlanta, but we all certainly expected him to be better than he has been thus far this season. That said, it’s still just two starts. If he put two outing like that together in the middle of June, no one would care, but because they happened in his first two starts of the year, well it’s the worst thing in the world. April has this strange way of magnifying things. The matchup tonight features an impatient and power deficient lineup in a pitcher’s park, so everything’s working in Vazquez’s favor.  It’s a good opportunity for him to go out, toss up some zeroes, and walk away with a win and a boost his confidence.

And you know what? If he doesn’t, that’s not the end of the world either. His season will be just nine percent or so complete by this time tomorrow. There’s lots of time left.

Categories : Pitching
  • mike c

    boo, etc.

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    As much as I like CC/AJ/Andy, I really look forward to the Javy/Hughes starts. Hopefully tonight is the beginning of the turnaround for Javy.

    • YankeesJunkie

      Once Javy gets going, his starts should be fun to watch with his mix of all his pitches, high K rates, and low BB rates.

  • YankeesJunkie

    The quicker that Javy can “right” the ship with his numbers the better. Hopefully he can dominate the A’s lineup for seven innings along with a Yankees assault on Gio Gonzalez.

  • Jammy Jammers

    Could they hook him up with Cervelli?

    • YankeesJunkie

      Not this start since it is coming off an off day.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      If Javy makes his pitches, I can catch for him.

      If Javy doesn’t make his pitches, it doesn’t matter who catches for him.

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ pete

        eh, you’d probably have to be a pretty damn good catcher to be able to actually catch MLB-caliber pitches. Especially since Javy has pretty good breaking stuff.

        • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

          Come on, I can at least catch as well as Posada!

          But it doesn’t matter who Javy is pitching to. Hell, AJ, according to the MSM, absolute cannot pitch to Posada, yet has given up 2 runs in his last 14 innings, pitching to Posada. Javy’s problems so far have 0 to do with who’s catching him.

  • Ansky

    I’m sure Javy will be fine. I just hope he gets a “W” tomorrow so that we can get a break from the 2004 rants.

    • andrew

      He’s pitching tonight, but yea, wouldn’t mind the W.

      • Dirty Pena

        Not with the way the weather is shaping up…

        • bexarama

          is there bad weather out in California?

          • Dirty Pena

            Yes, and a 60% of rain at gametime, and throughout the night there.

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ pete

        by the time the game ends, it will be tomorrow.

        /east coast’d

  • http://pda.88000.org/wallpapers/48/Pikachu_Dressed_as_Hitler.jpg Do Not Feed The Trolls!

    Which one of you guys was x-raying Vazquez’s bottom half?

  • Rose

    The Yankees have lost 3 games all season. 2 of them were due to Javier Vasquez.

    The other loss? The Red Sox’ only other win at home on the season so far.

    • PaulF

      I’d say 1 loss was due to Vazquez. The other was due to not being able to hit Joel Pineiro. Javy gave up 4 runs, which isn’t good, but the Yankees usually score enough at home to win that game.

    • http://www.soxandpinstripes.net JGS

      For what it’s worth, there were three people (Posada, Tex, and Granderson) whose WPAs were worse than Javy’s last time. He wasn’t good, but it also wasn’t the clearly attributable to him clunker that his first start was

      • CS Yankee

        Good point!

        Being 9-3 with little value bat-wise from the 2, 3 & 4 hitters is amazing.

        The bats will arrive, as long as the SP stays strong…Yankee haters will be working overtime.

        • Mike HC

          Nick Johnson has been on base over 40% of the time so far. And A-Rod has a triple slash line of .295 / .415 / .523.

          I mean, I would not exactly call those numbers of “little value.”

          • CS Yankee

            The point with Nick is the low BA, as the walks will likely dry up a bit as they challenge him late in the count (due to the low BA).

            Arod finally got his first dinger and is playing steller D, but I feel his best is yet to come.

            Once Teix gets going, one can only imagine the runs delta…guessing 950 scored, maybe 725 allowed; which would be way scary.

    • CS Yankee


      L1 was due to Park-rea,the rest of the pen & timely hitting by the Sox.

      L2 was due to Javy

      L3 was due to maybe 1/3 Javy, 1/3 Thames, & 1/3 sleepy bats.

      Don’t forget, a few unexpected wins so far as well.

      We need Javy, expect him to be decent to dominate against our foes.

    • Rose

      True. I definitely worded it wrong. What I should have said was “2 of them were started by Javier Vasquez”

      Either way. I’d take 9-3 to start any season. Javy should shape up at some point though. When? Nobody knows.

  • CS Yankee

    He’ll be fine, pitchers are usually streakie anyways…his location is off but the skill set is still there.

    Good that Zach is pitching great in SWB as it gives solid options if a starter goes down. If these 5 SP stay healthy, it could be a runaway train for the season. This is the best set of players on paper that I have ever seen.

  • http://highteawithchurls.blogspot.com Matt on Earth

    I think Javy will be alright tonight. While I’ve never been a huge fan of his (regardless of the team), there is no doubt in my mind he won’t be a perfect middle of the rotation guy for the Yanks by the time the dust settles.

  • YankeesJunkie

    Four of these starting pitchers can average at least six innings and go 200 innings if they all stay healthy.

  • http://twitter.com/Cnight_UP Cnight_UP



    • bexarama

      you stole my comment ;_;

      • http://twitter.com/Cnight_UP Cnight_UP

        i try

  • Erik

    Javy’s splits are worse in the first half and in away games. Furthermore, his career ERAs aren’t very good against the A’s and worse still in their home park. There’s a lot working for him, but there’s a lot working against him too.

    I have him benched on my fantasy team today; drafted him 10th round. I believe in him but I’m not convinced tonight’s the night the ship gets righted.

    • Mike HC

      This Oakland team will have completely different hitters than the previous matchups. I’m not saying whether Javy will have a good start or not, but I don’t think his career numbers against Oakland are that great of an indicator.

      And his latest start there in 2008 (and only time in 2008), he pitched 8 innings with 8 K’s, 4 hits and one earned run.

    • bexarama

      he can’t handle the bright lights of Oakland!!!

      • http://None Jake

        Yea, this is really funny, but this joker is our problem because Cash Man decided this was a good time to prove that he was right all along about Vazquez.

  • http://deleted Richard Deegan

    Any chance of GGBG against at least one of the lefties? Nice place for him to run around in, and not looking forward to Thames roaming that OF

  • Mike HC

    That LoHud article about Javy said it all. And Girardi is right, this is a relatively big start for him. I hope he gets his fastball back up to around 93 if that is where Javy thinks he needs it to be effective. He looked terrible these past two starts, apparently due to him rushing his delivery, and he should be able to correct that in the spacious Oakland ballpark.

  • http://twitter.com/Cnight_UP Cnight_UP

    If this is truly a big start, this makes the decision to stick a certain young pitcher in the bullpen look even more ridiculous. But I really don’t think this is a big start for anyone but the fans.

    • Mike HC

      Just because it is a big start does not mean he is pitching for his job. You don’t want to start the season with three consecutive bad starts. Whether it is fair or not, you don’t want the fans booing you. And after they identified his problem as a mechanical flaw, that should be easily fixable.

      As far as regular season starts go, this is relatively important one for Javy.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      I agree. Is Jon Lester’s next (4th) start for the Sox a big start? No, even with their terrible record.

      • http://www.soxandpinstripes.net JGS

        Sox fans can also think back to just last year when Lester’s ERA was over 6 through his first 10 (!) starts before he proceeded to bulldoze the rest of the league for his next 22 starts (2.31 ERA, Sox were 17-5).

        Never mind that it was six years ago or that he got Cy Young votes last year, all Yankee fans can remember about Javy is 2004

      • http://None Jake

        Lester has a ring. He’s earned the benefit of the doubt.
        You can’t compare a proven winner with a vagina like Vazquez.

  • Evan NYC

    Should be interesting to see how Girardi plays the OF tonight and Thursday against the LHP. I would imagine that he will sacrifice the offensive spot in the lineup to prevent more runs defensively. With Gardy and Granderson in the OF, they can cover quite a chunk of space out there. Hopefully Vazquez will rely on his fielders to make the plays behind him and go deep into this game tonight!

    • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

      why not play winn? he can play good def lf and is a switch hitter no?

      • Evan NYC

        That would work also. I was more interested to see if Thames (offense) gets the start tonight or Garner/Winn (defense). Would we ever see Garner, Granderson, Winn and let Swisher DH out of the 2 hole?

        • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

          why sit nick johnson?

          • mike c

            Gardner > Winn

    • A.D.

      Yeah don’t like the idea of Thames patrolling the OF in Oakland.

  • http://www.bronxbombersbeat.com/author/bcapozzi Brian

    I like this for Vazquez. He has had a dismal two starts, and this is a great opportunity for him to get his feet below him and pitch like he is capable of pitching. The Coliseum has always been a pitchers park… this is his chance. Hope he jumps on it.

    • http://None Jake

      He could be on his way to Scranton if he doesn’t man up.