Open Thread: The problems with Javy


A fourth-inning sight all too familiar to Yankee fans. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

Mike will post a full recap of the Yanks’ disappointing 7-6 afternoon loss to the White Sox later tonight. I wanted to take the open thread to delve into one former scout’s take on Javier Vazquez‘s struggles over his first five outings of 2010. The Yankees have lost eight games, and he has pitched in five of them. Something clearly isn’t right.

For many amateur psychologists among us, Javier’s problems are mental. He can’t pitch in New York they say. His body language and demeanor on the mound foretell that fate. There is more than a little bit of confirmation bias going on there. Because he’s struggling, his mound demeanor isn’t great, but that simply means he’s not pitching well now. It doesn’t mean he’s not equipped to succeed in New York.

But something isn’t right with Javier. His pitches have no bite and no location. In the early goings, his velocity has been markedly lower than where it was last year. To me, this suggests either an injury or a mechanical problem. FanHouse’s Frankie Piliere, a former Texas Rangers scout, thinks Vazquez’s problem is one of mechanics. I’ll excerpt at length:

For the most part, pitchers need to stay on top of the baseball to be successful and it’s especially crucial for a guy like Vazquez who relies heavily on fastball movement, not raw velocity, and the action on his big curveball. Not being able to get on top of his pitches is the simplified version of why the beginning of this season has been such a nightmare for him…

Where he’s going wrong in his delivery surely isn’t a mystery to Vazquez, but fixing it isn’t as simple as identifying it. Vazquez’ delivery requires him to have his arm and lower half in sync perfectly. Right now, that’s not happening. Everyone is ready to jump on the fact that he is collapsing on his back side and that’s why he’s struggling. Well, not so fast. At this stage with a 33-year-old, you are probably not going to revamp his mechanics when he has been working from this delivery his entire career. The manner in which he collapses on his back side and drifts toward the plate do make him susceptible to funks like the one he is in now, but at the same time when his mechanics are clicking he’s quite effective. So let’s stop short of revamping a big league veteran’s entire delivery.

However, it can’t be said enough that timing in Vazquez’ delivery comes into play perhaps more than any pitcher on the Yankee pitching staff. If he’s early with his lower half and stride toward the plate, like he is right now, he’s going to have a lot of trouble. So far, his lower half has been far ahead of his arm and he’s getting too far out in front to generate any decent leg drive. He’s going to have to stay back longer over the rubber and allow his arm to catch up.

The way he’s delivering the ball, he’s throwing against his front leg, rather than driving over the top of it and getting on top of the baseball. Again, Vazquez always has and more than likely always will collapse on his back leg and drift toward the plate. But, recently it’s just gotten away from him. Because he’s unable to drive over that front leg and get on top, he’s forced to rotate around his torso and shoulders, creating more of a side-to-side effect than a downhill effect.

Piliere goes on to discuss how Vazquez’s front shoulder is flying open, and from watching the first and second innings of Javy’s outing against the White Sox today, it’s easy to see how Piliere’s analysis seems to be spot on.

The former scout says it’s a tough issue to correct, and the Yankees are going to have to adjust on the fly. Vazquez’s next start comes after an off-day and is slated to take place in Boston on Friday. Because of that off-day, the team could start Phil Hughes, CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett on regular rest and wouldn’t need Vazquez until they arrive in Detroit. The spacious confines of Comerica may be the confidence booster Javier needs, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them hold him back a few days.

For now, though, the team has a problem with its fourth starter and the luxury of a 15-8 start which allows them plenty of leeway to fix that problem. Time for Dave Eiland to work some magic.

* * *
Beyond that, we have some bad news on Curtis Granderson. He’s out with a Grade II groin strain.

This is your open thread. The Rays and Royals are under way, and the Red Sox/Orioles affair starts at 7:05 p.m. The Canucks take on the Blackhawks on Versus at 8 p.m., and the Celtics and Cavaliers play Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals also at 8 p.m. on TNT.

Categories : Open Thread


  1. Today’s game sucked more than most because the Yankees came al the way back..and then blew the lead.

    I HATE games like that.

  2. JobaWockeeZ says:

    I was at the game and it was brutal. The booing pissed me off. I even scream out “SHUT UP!” when the boobirds sang. And when he came off the field I even gave him a standing ovation for the hell of it.

    The game was fun to watch but ugh at the result.

  3. Andy_C_23 says:

    I posted this in off-topic, but nobody responded.

    I need fantasy help, is this a good trade:
    Jorge and Howie Kendrick for Gerald Laird, Jeff Keppinger and Ellsbury

  4. I’m just going to speak for the trolls:

    Wow I am so brilliant and smart for saying Javy sucked a few weeks ago and Cashman is an idiot! Waddya know?!?! He’s sucked! Doesn’t that make me so smart?!? Javy is an NL pitcher who should be sent to Japan- or the moon- I don’t care! Sergio Mitre pitched good today so he should be the starter! If I was at the game today, not only would I have booed, I would’ve thrown things at Javy! I sure know how to express my feelings about a 15-8 team that’s won the World Series since this guy’s mistake 6 years ago (half the time I’ve been alive)! Go Yankees!

  5. Granderson a Grade 2 Groin Strain, 15 day DL.


  6. CNight_UP says:

    Melancon recalled…

  7. poster says:

    Reposted from game thread:

    Ha, I feel lucky…I stopped watching (had to go, didn’t want to) right after Swisher hit the HR and I missed all the suckiness. Who blew it? Robertson? Joba? Mitre?

    Not that it matters, really, since we’ll win the series tomorrow anyway.

    • Drew says:

      A combination of Robo and Marte, Girardi had some unconventional maneuvering sprinkled in there too.

      • poster says:

        Hmm, in what way was Girardi’s “maneuvering” “unconventional”?

        Since I missed all the FAIL I’m probably in much better spirits than evrybody here. For example, I feel fairly confident that we’ll win the game tomorrow, and thus the series.

        • He put the go-ahead run on base via the IBB and then called upon Marte for the LHP/LHB match-up with Pierzysnki. It backfired.

          Then, he used Al Aceves for 1.2 innings in the 8th and 9th after going to Robertson over Aceves in the 7th. It was strange.

          Bottom line: Yanks had a lead with 7 outs left, and their two best relievers didn’t make it into the game.

        • Drew says:

          He walked the go ahead run with 1st base open so Marte could pitch to the lefty. If Marte did his job it wouldn’t be a big deal but.. watevs.

        • Dirty Pena says:

          I don’t think anybody (sane) is too down in spirits about anything except the Granderson injury. Hopefully it’s like a 30% tear as opposed to like a 90% tear. One could be three weeks, the other could be three months. But at the very least, we’ll be fine short term, and I suspect long term too.

    • JobaWockeeZ says:

      Marte with I think Robertson’s runners. But the management today sucked with the bullpen.

  8. Dirty Pena says:

    Dice-BB with a fitting start to his season.

  9. Johan Iz My Brohan says:

    That picture makes me feel sorry for Javy.

  10. Drew says:

    I wonder if Mel being called up is just a temporary thing since Ace and Mitre are unavailable tomorrow.

  11. James says:

    You know how you shut up the idiots booing??

    You Pitch well. The End. Its that simple.

    The kind of fan i am, i’m not going to boo. That’s not my style. i find it to be very childish. But i’m sure as hell not going to turn around to another fan and say, “hey stop booing the guy with a 9.50 ERA that can’t get out of the 4th inning. He’s trying his best!”

    i mean come on now. Fans are entitled to voice their displeasure by booing. Javy is pitching like crap…whether mechanical or mental or he didn’t have the right glove on…whatever. i don’t care. Until he starts pitching better he’s going to continue to hear boos. And if he can’t handle the boos and they are really playing a large role in his not pitching well…then the nutjobs that say he can’t handle NY might be closer to right then we sane folks are.

    • poster says:

      Well what do you think booing accomplishes? Like you said, it’s childish and just highlights your lack of patience.

      • poster says:

        Also, if we agree that he’s trying his best, what are we booing him for? I mean, we know he’s trying his hardest to pitch better.

      • James says:

        what does booing accomplish?

        for me? nothing because i rarely boo something at a ballgame. but overall…if someone boos they are saying they don’t like something. They are letting that be known to whoever the booing is directed at. Thats it.

        • poster says:

          So you’re voicing your displeasure at what? We’ve established that the players did the best they can do. If you don’t like the results, you’re disappointed and you handle it maturely. No need to boo.

      • mike c says:

        it’s gratification for a day where you spent hundreds of dollars in supporting the yankees and got rewarded with a turd of a performance in return

        • poster says:

          But we’ve established he didn’t try to pitch a turd; he did his best for you. Therefore, what are you booing? Bad results? Well that’s unfair, considering he did his best.

      • mike c says:

        also, we wouldn’t boo if we didn’t care. if suddenly the audience stopped booing when players played like javy is currently, i would be really worried because now the fans have stopped caring. this isn’t baltimore or tampa, its NY and we love baseball

        • poster says:

          I love baseball. I love the Yankees. I’ve followed them pretty devoutly for years. I miss, on average, maybe two games a year and no playoff games. It’s 11:00 at night and I’m on a Yankees blog after a loss.

          I don’t boo.

          And I care.

    • Tom Zig says:

      I agree with all of this.

    • V says:

      “i mean come on now. Fans are entitled to voice their displeasure by booing”

      Entitled? Really? Why? Because they’re ‘owed’ wins? No, they aren’t entitled.

    • Zack says:

      Yeah, and the fans at YS have also booed Jeter, Mo & ARod. I’m sure Andy’s been booed too. Dont remember if CC/AJ/Tex were booed last year, but I’m sure they will if they have a bad stretch. Oh, and Joba and Hughes will probably get their day too.

      That’s why people get annoyed with booing, because the fans at the stadium boo everyone, so the whole “booing to voice your displeasure” becomes less and less apparant, and it just turns into the cool thing to do.

      • bexarama says:

        Tex got booed all through April last year, more than anyone else. Oh, and there was a lot of “he’s a bust” talk.

      • James says:

        i see what you’re saying…but those guys didn’t get booed when they did something well.

        they got booed when they did something…well…not good. So it’s still voicing displeasure for something that happened. At the core thats what booing is and thats what it always will be. Whether fans boo a home player once…twice…or on every out.

        • Zack says:

          I understand that.
          But really, fans are going to sit there and boo Mariano Rivera? I dont care if he blows a 10 run lead in Game 7 of the WS, it’s Mariano Rivera.
          Now I’m not putting Javy on Mo/Jeter/Andy’s level; but how can you take those fans seriously if they’re going to boo every single player? It becomes stupid after awhile.

          • Dirty Pena says:

            but how can you take those fans seriously if they’re going to boo every single player? It becomes stupid after awhile.

            This. It’s becoming completely devalued, and we are reacting to our own players the same way we react to Kevin Youkilis.

      • The Big City of Dreams says:

        “Oh, and Joba and Hughes will probably get their day too.”

        joba was booed at times last yr and I remember games from 2 yrs ago where hughes was booed off the mound

    • JoeyH says:

      Spend significant money on a ball game and seemingly having your team out of the game in the 5th inning(who knew they’d come back) and then you can say whether or not booing is productive or not. I was there, I spent 150$, I booed.

      • poster says:

        So you found the booing productive? Really? What did it accomplish?

        In fact, we know it didn’t accomplish anything because the team lost.

        Actually, the fact that you figured they were out of the game down four runs in the fifth is pretty ridiculous.

  12. Michael Kay but not THE says:

    I feel bad for the guy, pitching at home should be the ideal scene to cure what ails you.

    I just think getting the fans behind him won’t ever be accomplished by scolding fans that boo with Stephanie Tanner “How Rude!”‘s. Yeah its crappy to see fans booing a 4th (5th) starter at home, but sorry people get booed.

    It also isn’t helping when the YES & Francesa rebuttals always begin & end with “He was so good in Atlanta!”. This has been the case with a lot of pitchers that left Atlanta to not meet the same success in their next venue and just more than anything will piss people off more that he’s not pitching well for The Yankees.

    I hope they don’t skip Javy next weekend in Fenway. Mowing them down for 6-7 innings would be the perfect antidote to get him back to good. Plus if he bombs, it can’t get any worse.

    • Dirty Pena says:

      Plus if he bombs, it can’t get any worse.

      I actually really like this logic. He can’t go anywhere but up, right? Even if they skip him, he’s gonna have to pitch the next series in Detroit. Skipping him for any reason other than actually working on things (like mental makeup) seems illogical since you’re just making him seem like a bigger headcase by skipping him.

  13. jeffon says:

    why the hell did we trade austin jackson away.

  14. Alex S says:

    So did you guys see the new Call Of Duty game trailer? looks interesting

  15. Rey22 says:

    Fantasy question guys. Who do you think will be better at SS going forward this year, Ian Desmond or Alcides Escobar?

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Probably Escobar. He’ll hit for average but not much else. Desmond will hit for more power but not average. It’s kind of a lose-lose.

      • Rey22 says:

        I know. Sad part is, picking them up from FAs is actually a step up from what I had. I had Brendan Ryan there first. My fantasy team = fail.

  16. dkidd says:

    i love that picture. girardi is doing his best to keep javy’s head up, but everyone else looks like they’re standing around someone with terminal cancer

  17. bexarama says:

    So I think for M&A this week I’ll work on some post evaluating BBWAA’s MVPs and Cy Youngs of the 2000s. So… what are some particularly bad choices?

    I was brainstorming and I thought:
    Morneau’s MVP
    Rollins’ MVP (not AWFUL, but not deserved)
    Clemens’ 2001 Cy Young
    the 2005 AL CYA (insert horrific screaming here)
    Ichiro in 2001 wasn’t the best choice either.
    Tejada over A-Rod in 2002

  18. Hey ZZ says:

    I’m sure I wrote some intemperate things about Bay’s defense this winter, because of his execrable UZR. I don’t know, maybe I was smart enough to couch my opinion with a bit of uncertainty, because I know that weird ballparks like Fenway can gum up the works. But I believe my skepticism about Bay — and ultimately my mild criticism of the Mets — was influenced less by Bay’s UZR and more by the Red Sox’s apparent reluctance to invest a huge amount of money in him.

    Because in the end, about the only thing I trust more than Mickey Lichtman and his methods is the collection of brilliant people who run the Red Sox.

    Yes, those brilliant people who have assembled what looks to be a 3rd place team filled with bad FA signings, a bloated payroll, and a commitment to run prevention centered around a 38 year old CF with the defensive statue that is Bill Hall to back him up. Not to mention a lineup built around one elite hitter who can be pitched around.

    The brilliant run prevention scheme also comes with an average at best defensive SS, 2 catchers that cannot throw anyone out, and pitchers who are not taught how to hold anyone on at first.

    And then there is the vaunted Red Sox farm system we have heard so much about. So much talent down there that 2 of their starting OFs went down and were replaced by 2 no names in Van Every and Mcdonald. Not one, but 2 DHs who cannot hit, yet no internal solutions whatsoever at that position either. And no catcher in the system that can be called up and be an adequate back up.

  19. Salty Buggah says:

    Still pissed about today’s game but if the Sox and/or the Rays lose, I’ll feel a bit better. So, go Orioles and Royals!

  20. Rey22 says:

    Cue Dice-K implosion!

  21. Hey ZZ says:

    Is there a new filter or something? I just hit submit on a post and nothing showed up.

  22. mike c says:

    i do like the idea of not pitching him in boston. he should take the time and get his mechanics straight if it’s as straightforward as it is explained here. another performance like this, in boston no less, might be the last nail in the coffin for this guy

    • Dirty Pena says:

      But he would have to pitch three days later in Detroit. If it’s truly something mechanical, I don’t see that being fixed in three extra days.

      • Rey22 says:

        I’d rather see him try his hand with poor mechanics against the Tigers than the Red Sox though. Granted, ideally he gets his shit together.

  23. yankees=warriors says:

    I don’t hate Javy because he has sucked so far, but I’m intentionally skipping all the games he is starting. I feel like it’s only a waste of time and energy to watch him right now, and I’m definitely not sacraficing my beauty sleep for him…

  24. Hey ZZ says:

    “I’m sure I wrote some intemperate things about Bay’s defense this winter, because of his execrable UZR. I don’t know, maybe I was smart enough to couch my opinion with a bit of uncertainty, because I know that weird ballparks like Fenway can gum up the works. But I believe my skepticism about Bay — and ultimately my mild criticism of the Mets — was influenced less by Bay’s UZR and more by the Red Sox’s apparent reluctance to invest a huge amount of money in him.

    Because in the end, about the only thing I trust more than Mickey Lichtman and his methods is the collection of brilliant people who run the Red Sox.”

    Ah yes, those brilliant people who have assembled what looks to be a 3rd place team, with a bloated payroll, filled with bad FA signings, and a commitment to run prevention centered around a 38 year old CF whose backup is the defensive statue that is Bill Hall.

    This brilliant run prevention idea also comes with an average at best defensive SS, not one but 2 catchers that cannot throw anyone out, and a staff full of pitchers who have never been taught how to hold anyone on at 1st base. Not to mention a lineup with only 1 elite hitter who happens to have zero protection behind him.

    And then there is the vaunted Red Sox farm system these brilliant minds have assembled that we hear so much about. 2 of your starting OF’s go down and 2 no names are called upon to replace them. You have 2 DHs that cannot hit, but there is no one down there who can produce at the DH spot. 2 abysmal defensive catchers, yet no one in the system that can come up and help. And finally, an awful bullpen to the point where Scott Atchinson is making nightly appearances, but no internal solutions to fill the holes.

    How could I not see the brilliance at work here. It must be so vast and so great that is blinding.

    • Hey ZZ says:

      To the powers that be at RAB,

      Sorry about submitting this post more than once. Never had a post here not show up so was not sure what happened.

    • Dalelama says:

      An accurate analysis but our moves to date have been almost as bad…a DH that can’t hit, a center fielder who can only hit righties and is now lame, and a #4 pitcher who has started in 5 of 8 losses. To boot we gave up the WS MVP, one of our two best prospects, and a borderline HOF candidate with 2 WS rings, all 3 of whom are kicking butt with their new teams. I think it is still too early to pass initial judgment on either teams moves until the end of the season.

  25. Rey22 says:

    Wigginton has been a golden fantasy pickup off the scrap heap at the beginning of the year for me. HR #2 of the day.

  26. Alex S says:

    fantasy advice….Do i sit Colby Rasmus this week? The Cards are facing 3 lefties but he has been on a tear. I Do have Carlos Gonzalez on my bench who is on a great streak, but will he continue?

  27. Bondarri says:

    Third generation Yankees fan. Javy needs to go!! I’m tired of seeing his lame performances already. I wasn’t big on Damon and was glad to see him go but Granderson isn’t an upgrade and I don’t think him being hurt is going to negatively affect the team. Wish we could send Javy back to Atlanta and get Melky back. Javy just can not pitch in NYC. On a positive note Cano is looking really good. The play he made in short left field behind 2nd base against the Orioles was unreal. Hope he can sustain his hitting. I’ll never understand why Tex can’t hit in April? On the other hand he is absolutely the best fielding 1st baseman I’ve ever seen. He makes some unreal plays in the field and also makes all the routine plays.

    • Hey ZZ says:

      You do realize how bad Melky is playing in Atlanta right?

      Not to mention him being here would have taken away at bats from Gardner and Thames so far this season who have been great. Hell, Thames may not even be on the team is Melky is here.

  28. Salty Buggah says:

    Good Mo, Orioles. You had a 7 run lead, that’s down to 4. Don’t fuckin blow it.

  29. Alex S says:

    Just traded Jose Reyes for Grady Sizemore (I already have Tulo, and needed another OF’er)

    Tell me Grady will bounce back. I’m a believer

  30. Dirty Pena says:

    Who should I follow on twitter? I got a bunch of RAB people, Neyer, Law, Ken Tremendous, NoMaas, Swisher, and Joba..

  31. Salty Buggah says:

    Royals! Now hold on that 2-run lead and win

  32. BklynJT says:

    I’ve been a javy supporter from the start but at some point, if it does not turn around soon, we have to stop being stubborn and maybe admit that all the javy haters were right and this trade was a big mistake. The numbers are the numbers, and yes they were great last year, but as we have seen with other free agents in the past, you have to evaluate more than just talent when considering bringing in a player to the yankees.

    • bexarama says:

      It’s not like he has the stuff he had last year and he’s getting lit up. He doesn’t have much of a fastball right now and he’s struggling to throw his other stuff for strikes.

      And what other FA?

      • BklynJT says:

        Randy Johson for one.

        As for the stuff, could his confidence possibly be affecting his stuff. I think Hughes was an example of this.

        • V says:

          I’m assuming you didn’t actually READ Ben’s post.

          • BklynJT says:

            Just cause one scout makes a claim doesn’t make it the reason javy is struggling. And I wasn’t responding to ben’s post, this is an open thread. Your just being stubborn and refuse to explore any option other than what you want to believe.

    • Dirty Pena says:

      How can you say the trade was a mistake when no one we traded away is doing well (unless you count Dunn)?

      And how do we evaluate someone on more than talent? Give them a polygraph and ask if they like NYC?

      • BklynJT says:

        I personally believe that only a certain type of character can succeed on the Yankees. This does not mean I don’t think that javy has this quality. But I do think that you have to consider more factors than just the numbers when exploring a deal for a player.

        I’m just posing the question which I believe is certainly valid giving the past signings of big name players that did not work out.

        • V says:

          This makes absolutely no logical sense.

        • Dirty Pena says:

          What I’m wondering is how you suggest we find these players? It’s hard to know much about a guy’s character in advance of signing him isn’t it?

          • BklynJT says:

            All I’m saying is a baseball player isn’t just his saber stats and we shouldn’t treat it like that. These are people putting up these numbers and you can’t deny that it’s more difficult playing for the Yankees. The last thing I want is for javy to fail all year and prove all the javy haters right. If javy isn’t injured, then what is the cause of this mechanical issue? Maybe confidence issues, but that happens to everyone I guess.

            And if you think what I’m saying makes no sense, don’t waste your breathe (V) and move on. I could care less about your statements if your not contributing to the conversation.

            • poster says:

              You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to deny that it’s more difficult playing for the Yankees. Frankly, I think it’s really probably extremely similar to playing anywhere else. So no, not more difficult.

  33. bexarama says:

    The Orioles have now won more games against the Red Sox than they did all last season. Good job, birdies!!!!

    (Tampa lost too.)

  34. While I’m not in the camp that thinks Vazquez ‘can’t pitch in NY’ or the AL (both of which are provably false) I would like to see him skip his next start. If for no other reason, just to clear his head and restart his season in a few weeks.

    Looking at the schedule, he could skip the Fenway start (off day on Thursday) and then you’ll need him for DET, MINN and the Mets since there are no more off days for a few weeks. Maybe skipping a start will make him stronger, and fix his mechanics and/or add some giddy-up to the fastball.

    Worth a shot.

    • Moshe Mandel says:

      Agreed. You going to write it up for tomorrow? Also, did you notice that you now have some weekend help? Stephen did a nice job.

      • Yeah, I was going to do a piece on Javier. He’s story #1, 2, 3 and 4 right now, despite the fact that D-Rob and Marte were (and have been) awful as well. Don’t worry, I’m sure there’s room for 2-3 pieces on him. I’ve got 3 tabs open already and I doubt I’ll fit it all in.

        BTW-Yes, I liked Stephen’s pieces. Good addition.

  35. Hangoverologist says:

    I know some people play MLB 10: The Show here, so I’m going to recount a tale that happened in my experiences thus far.

    So I’m drafted by the Giants, I have a great rookie season after toiling away in the minors for two years. The Giants trade me to the Rays, and apparently something clicked for my SP. He’s having a Greg Maddux-esque season. Here’s my character’s peripherals:

    2.46 ERA
    0.61 FIP (!!!!!)
    130 K
    14 BB (!!!!!!!)
    8.2 K/9
    0.9 BB/9 (!!!)
    9.28 SO/BB
    141.1 IP

    • JGS says:

      Maddux’s best FIP was 2.26. You must not be giving up any home runs at all

    • Rey22 says:

      Every single SP I’ve done in Career in all The Shows finish with 10 BB or less through the whole season. I’d rather pitch down the middle than walk a guy. Granted, I always finish with a low amount of K’s too.

  36. Tom Zig says:

    is anyone else having trouble with yahoo fantasy?

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