Apr
26

Javy’s struggles continue in loss to Angels

By

For three innings it looked like Javy Vazquez might grind his way through a decent start. His fastball command wasn’t there yet again, but the Angels didn’t get much off him the first turn through. By the fourth, though, everything caught up with him. He wasn’t throwing many fastballs, he was nibbling with his secondary stuff, and eventually he hung a critical pitch or two. The offense had its own struggles outside of the second inning, but after his fourth straight not-so-good start, Vazquez once again finds himself the center of attention.

Biggest Hit: Jorge avenges Cano

Photo credit: Christine Cotter/AP

Scott Kazmir started the inning with two straight inside fastballs to Robinson Cano, the last of which caught him square on the backside. Two years ago that might have stung a bit more, but now Kazmir tops out at 90. The HBP to Cano crossed at 88. Kazmir went back to his fastball on the first pitch to Posada. This one clocked 89 mph, but more importantly caught all of the plate. Jorge did what any good hitter would do, sending it over the center field fence to give his team a 2-0 lead.

The second was the only good inning the Yankees put together. A batter after Jorge homered, Marcus Thames hit a shin-high changeup to the wall, Granderson sacrificed him to third — and nearly got himself on base — Cervelli walked, and Jeter eventually scored Thames on a fielder’s choice. Those three runs felt big at the time, like they were just the beginning. Kazmir got a handle of the game, though, and wouldn’t score again until the sixth.

Biggest Pitch: Wood gives the Angels the lead

Photo credit: Christine Cotter/AP

Through the first three innings it looked like Vazquez might get through the start without any serious damage. After recording the first out in the fourth, Vazquez allowed a single, hit a batter, and gave up another single. That put the Angels on the board and set them up with runners in first and second with one out. That turned into a bases loaded situation six pitches later, after Vazquez walked Mike Napoli.

The good news: hey, it’s Brandon Wood, and he’s barely hitting .100. The bad news: oh look, hanging curveball. The Vazquez pitch stayed high in the zone, and Wood smacked it to left. Marcus Thames tried to make a play, but just couldn’t get to the ball in time. It fell right in front of him, then got behind him. Two Angels scored, giving them their first lead of the game.

Thames has hit well in his role as lefty masher this year, but he gives bak plenty of that production in the field. This is the second big run-scoring play that Gardner would have fielded. This is why defense matters. If Gardner makes that play, the Angels are held in check and the Yankees leave the inning with a lead. Of course, Thames had scored after a double earlier in the game, so it’s not a universal positive. But Gardner has been far from a liability on offense lately.

Honorable Mention: Morales’s blast

Photo credit: Christine Cotter/AP

There seemed to be a bit of confusion to start Kendry Morales’s at-bat in the seventh. Francisco Cervelli stood up and held out his arm, signaling for an intentional walk. This seemed like an odd maneuver. Morales hit well in the series, but he’s a much weaker hitter from the right side. Runners stood on first and second, so to walk Morales would give the Angels another runner in scoring position.

Apparently Girardi changed his mind after the first ball and let Marte pitch to Morales. That seemed like the right decision. They needed just one more out, and it’s probably not a good idea to walk the bases loaded when it forces two runners ahead. Marte didn’t hold up his end of the bargain, though. After two fastballs outside to put Morales ahead 3-0. The dugout warned Cervelli that Morales will swing 3-0, but he went back to the fastball anyway, this time one in the zone low and away. Morales, guessing fastball all the way, laid into it and crushed it over the center field wall to ice the game.

After the game Girardi said that he screwed up, but I think the only thing he’s guilty of is indecisiveness. I do not, however, think that an intentional walk was the right call.

Vazquez’s issues continue

Photo credit: Christine Cotter/AP

Vazquez threw 78 pitches through 3.2 innings, and only 29 of them were fastballs. This isn’t necessarily a bad strategy, since Vazquez does sport a good secondary repertoire. But it appears that his fastball velocity is a bit down this year, and he clearly isn’t commanding the pitch. Until he works out those issues we’ll just have to hope for non-disastrous starts. I do have confidence that he can find what’s wrong and correct it, as long as that problem doesn’t require medical attention.

His next start doesn’t come until Saturday, so he’ll have a five-day breather between now and then. I doubt he’ll miraculously round into form between starts, but he has to be better than yesterday, right? At least next weekend he won’t have to face Bobby Abreu.

WPA Chart

Ug-lee.

Next Up

The Yanks take tomorrow off to fly back east. They’ll be in Baltimore on Tuesday, with Phil Hughes taking the mound. Kevin Millwood goes for the Orioles.

Categories : Game Stories

58 Comments»

  1. Drew says:

    I was so pumped after the HBP, then Jorge juiced one. I was happy as hell. I really didn’t see the implosion coming.
    Both Marte and Vazquez need to get their shit together.

    On a side note:
    Is it just me, or does it seem like Marte and Cisco really aren’t on the same page? Two games ago they were seemingly arguing out on the field, then today in the postgame, Marte kept referring to him as “the catcher,” rather than his name. I’m picking up on a bit of a riff, hopefully I’m wrong.

  2. Dirty Pena says:

    Can we release Nick Johnson, demote Granderson to Charleston, and execute Javy at dawn tomorrow?

  3. bexarama says:

    As you said, Javy just cannot command his fastball with any sort of regularity right now and it doesn’t have much velocity. Hopefully that’s just cuz it’s early and it’ll fix itself. I really hope he isn’t hurt and trying to hide it, or anything like that.

    I had absolutely no problem bringing in Marte to face Abreu/Hunter/Matsui/Morales. Abreu is really struggling against LHP this year and is notably weaker against them in his career. Marte is not just a LOOGY, so he can handle Hunter. Matsui against lefties makes me nervous, but throughout his career, he has been worse against them. Morales is weaker against lefties. But WTF @ the way that at-bat to Morales was handled. At least Girardi admitted he messed up. He won’t do that again.

    • YankeesJunkie says:

      Better to mess up in an April game than an October game. The Yankees have been cruising so far until this little rough stretch and have a 12-6 record so everything is fine right now. However, Javy is beginning to be concerning. Coming into the season I thought he would be a guy that would take control of that #2 spot of the rotation or at least pitch like it. Obviously, there is still plenty of time and he could still do that, but the fastball has not really been there. Today was the first day where I saw his FB consistently get above 90, but even then it was only 91 where as he should be in that 90-94 range on a consistent basis. The strike zone for Javy was tight and that did not help him either, but he has to put away batters and not get beat up every five days. I can’t see this trend going for much longer as Javy has had spurts in each of his starts where he does very well, he just needs to put it together and hopefully by the end of May we are talking about how the numbers are skewed by the first four starts of the season.

      • bexarama says:

        eh, I don’t think losing two out of three in Anaheim coming off a very recent, what was it, six-game winning streak? is a rough stretch exactly.

        Other than that, I agree with everything you said here. Except it didn’t look like his FB was consistently getting above 90 today. In Oakland, it started to do that around maybe the fourth or so.

  4. Dirty Pena says:

    I just want to re-emphasize a stat I brought up a little late in the open thread about how early it is and how small of a sample we are talking about.

    CC Sabathia’s first 4 starts in 2008:

    18 IP, 32 H, 27(!) ER, 14 BB, 14 K

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.c......sabathia/

    “There are all sorts of theories going around as to why Sabathia has been so awful. Most of them involve messed-up mechanics and an utter lack of command.”

    • mike c says:

      for some reason i’m more confident in cc sabathia than javier vasquez

      • Dirty Pena says:

        Given that he has over 2500 IP in the majors, I’m the exact same amount of confident that each will pitch near their career norms.

      • OldYanksFan says:

        Too true… except we needed CC to regain Ace form, while JV just needs to be a tad bit above league average. JV is/was overhyped by the MSM, but he is not a dog. He will be fine for us.

    • YankeesJunkie says:

      Yeah, I remember the start he got good again versus the Yankees. The Yankees won 1-0 with a better start by Wang. Oh how I miss Wang.

    • bexarama says:

      CC looks like he just wants some Doritos or something in that accompanying picture. Maybe that was the issue.

      /obvious joke’d

  5. Cecala says:

    The Yanks have a 2:1 win ratio, I do not know why people are getting crazy over a loss. Baseball is the only season where you can lose 62 games and have an amazing season. There is a huge margin of error, and at this pace, the Yanks can win 106 games…

    • YankeesJunkie says:

      I think the big thing is the very slow start for Javy in combination of what he did in 2004. The same could be said about Nick Johnson in his relationship with Matsui. However, everything will tend to go back to average and both of these players should put up two very nice seasons.

      • Cecala says:

        It is just annoying because if 2004 never happened, this would be a completely different story in terms of fan reaction.

        • bexarama says:

          Seriously. I hate feeling bad for professional athletes. They make a whole hell of a lot more money than I likely ever will. And I really shouldn’t feel bad for them when they’re on my most beloved team and not doing their job very well.

          That said, I feel bad for Javy Vazquez right now. Every goddamn start is some question about his character and when he doesn’t succeed he’s a wimp and a loser who should personally apologize for putting the poor Yankee fans through so much abject torture. Jesus.

          • Cecala says:

            It is easy to tell why he has no confidence in himself, he opens up the paper in the morning to read about how much he sucks. Maybe Girardi was being a sneaky bastard like he did last season when he got himself thrown out on purpose, and made a dumb choice in order to take the heat off of Javy.

          • Mike HC says:

            I feel bad for Javy too. Because I’m sure he wants to succeed at his job, but just physically can’t do it right now. Has to be frustrating no matter how much money you have

          • Jake says:

            But his stats in Atlanta were so good?

        • Mike HC says:

          While not quite in the same league, that is like saying if only 1986 didn’t happen for Bill Buckner it would be a completely different story. He was also a productive player who had one play define the way Boston fans react to him. And Javy didn’t only have the one grand slam, he completely fell apart down the stretch. I don’t see why fans should forget that.

  6. Phranchise says:

    there’s still hope for a turnaround but javy really hasn’t looked good. this may be kinda off topic but should i trade him for wandy rodriguez in fantasy straight up?

  7. dark side of the goon says:

    I’ve been a “Joba as starter” and “Javy will do fine” person and now both my b-jobber friends and Vasquez sucks friends are giving me grief. Although in a lot of instances, they’re one and the same friend.

    • your “b-jobber and Vazquez sucks” friends are probably also ” it’s only April but we’re reading way too much into this” friends so I wouldnt really worry yet.

    • Mike HC says:

      You can’t always be right. But it is better to be wrong in April, than October (well, hopefully Joba is not starting in October or something will have gone wrong).

  8. larryf says:

    If Javy can’t get the outside fastball called for strikes, it is gonna be a 1 year and out for him. Middle of the plate and in-unless it is VERY in, is not gonna work.

  9. Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

    I hope Javy will get the benefit, next time out, of the 1st team defense. I wonder how much yesterdays start, and the start against Tampa, would have been different with Gardner in LF instead of Thames.

  10. steve s says:

    The Yanks have had a tough early schedule mostly on the road and are 12-6 and I certainly would have signed up for that kind of start on opening day. Based on an 18 game sample of performance, though, it is not unfair to say that the vast majority of the Yankee off-season moves haven’t exactly worked out as planned and those that left (other than Melky) are clearly outperforming their replacements.

  11. Jammy Jammers says:

    Why is anyone surprised about Marte? Wasn’t he mostly a disappointment as a Yank except for October last year?
    Maybe I’m wrong.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      He was injured basically all of last season. It happens.

    • Frank says:

      You are not wrong. Marte is an erratic pitcher; yesterday proved it. Notwithstanding Girardi’s admission that he goofed by not walking Morales, Marte simply can’t groove a FB down the middle on a 3-0 count against the hottest hitter on that team in a 1 run game. Plus, he failed by walking Abreu and hitting Hunter. He just did a poor job all around.

      As for Vasquez, this guy is an average pitcher who does not belong in the AL east. I have no confidence in this guy whatsoever and watching him pitch, you cant help but feel he doesn’t have much confidence in himself. This Saturday’s start at the Stadium will be huge- if he lays another egg, his stay in NY could be a nightmare. Send him back to the NL- give me back Melky or some other OFr who is an upgrade over Winn. Slide Aceves or Mitre into the rotation and call up Melancon.

      • Dirty Pena says:

        Really? This is your solution? Trade for a guy hitting .153 with 2 XBH, put Sergio Mitre in the rotation, and call up a guy who has been struggling in AAA the past week or so. You really want to trade our #4 starter for a marginal upgrade at 5th OF? Completely ridiculous after 20 bad innings.

      • Mike HC says:

        He definitely looks shaken confidence wise, but who wouldn’t be after the start of his season. I think the beginning of the season has just dampened expectations (to say the least). People thought he had a chance to be ace like or pretty close to it. That is basically done now. He can still be average though, as you stated, which is good enough.

    • Mike HC says:

      Yea, I don’t think many people are surprised Marte is struggling. It is more of the same from him since joining the Yanks. Plus, he is getting up their in the age department now too. But he can easily turn it around. He has only pitched 4.1 innngs and last night was the first appearance he gave up any runs. So there is hope there.

  12. Mike HC says:

    I still have faith in Javy, not that I was ever that big a fan of his, and I enjoy all the booing he receives on some level. Putting on a Yankee uniform is like Kryptonite for this guy or something. Too bad we couldn’t watch Joba do the same (based on his bullpen performance). I guess the Yanks have found their biggest problem now. It wouldn’t be fun without em, right?

  13. Klemy says:

    My expectations for Javy has lessened now. I know it’s early, but he’s not inspiring any confidence in me at the moment. I can’t help but have bad feelings every time he goes to the mound. I hope he straightens things out, but right now it feels like a loss once the 3rd inning rolls around.

  14. cheddar says:

    I like Javy, and think he’s very talented. But this is exactly what I feared when Cashman reacquired him. You knew that rightly or wrongly (I say wrongly), a lot of the fan base would jump on him if he got off to a bad start, and I’m afraid this may snowball from here. The guy is going to feel a tremendous amount of pressure in each of his next few starts at a minimum, despite being on a team that is doing quite well otherwise.

  15. Mark says:

    I’m actually not as mad at yesterday’s start as most people. Why? Well, if you watched the game, it was clear that the ump wasnt giving any close pitches on either side. I mean both javy and kazmir had to literally throw the ball down the middle to get a called strike and correct me if im wrong but most if not all of the strikeouts were swinging. i no the blame the ump card is old and overused, but when a hitter knows that the pitcher doesnt have his best stuff and the ump isnt going to call a strike, u have to feel pretty confident at the plate. in the napoli at bat that loaded the bases, there were about three pitches that 95% of umps wouldve called a strike. was javy at his best? no, but i think he wouldve been able to get through 5 or 6 innings if the ump called a normal strike zone.

    • Tank the Frank says:

      but i think he wouldve been able to get through 5 or 6 innings if the ump called a normal strike zone.

      Or a catch by Marcus Thames on a routine line drive hit right at him.

      Seriously, I’ve seen enough. This team has enough offense. If you can’t DH Thames, don’t play him. Nick Johnson looks like he’s going to need at least one day off a week anyway.

      Randy Winn needs to be DFA as soon as possible. I think I see Kevin Long vomit a tad every time he swings. It should have been Jamie Hoffman out of Spring Training all the way, but I digress…

  16. Jake says:

    Does Kei Igawa need a roomy?

  17. cuponoodles says:

    Ivan to the rotation!

    (I kid….kind of)

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