If the Yankees can pull off a victory in this afternoon’s game they’ll finish 4-2 on their mini West Coast trip. That seems to be the theme of the season so far: two out of three. It would also give them a 9-3 record during their recent tour of the AL West.
Their chance will come against a familiar face, the lefty Scott Kazmir. It’s hard to believe that this is his sixth full season in the majors. He originally got the call in 2004, just after his trade to the Devil Rays, and since then has pitched at least 144 innings in each season. Things went well until last year, when his ERA ballooned to 4.89 and the Rays traded him to Anaheim in August.
Kazmir, who has generally pitched well against the Yankees, struggled during his first start against them this year. In four innings he allowed eight hits and walked three, leading to six Yankee runs. The three home runs did not help his case. He recovered a bit with a good start against Detroit, but even then he had to leave the game after 5.2 innings and 99 pitches. His seven strikeouts to no walks in that game bode well, but the Yankees feature a lineup much more patient than the Tigers.
It has been a tumultuous return trip to the Yankees for Javy Vazquez so far. With each start he’s gotten a little bit better, though, so maybe today he puts it all together. We know what Vazquez can do — he’s been a solid, durable starter throughout his career, second half of 2004 notwithstanding. Part of his problem has been with command, particularly with his fastball. It seems like Jorge has to move the mitt on every one of them. This has led to eight walks in 16.1 innings for Vazquez, a mark far above his normal rate.
Cervelli gets another start behind the plate while Posada moves into the DH spot. Brett Gardner gets a day off, which is kind of baffling after his last couple of days. I’d be more inclined to catch Jorge and DH Thames, but apparently Girardi wants to get Cervelli in there against Vazquez, whom he has not caught yet this year.
And on the mound, number thirty-one, Javier Vazquez.