Vazquez grinds it out against D-Backs

Thank Mo for Yanks win
Possible trade target: Ty Wigginton
Photo Credit: Ross D. Franklin, AP

Last night’s game was so ugly and frustratingly long that by the time Curtis Granderson gave the Yankees the lead and Mariano Rivera pulled his Houdini act, everyone had pretty much forgotten that Dontrelle Willis and Javy Vazquez started the game. Willis was simply dreadful, throwing just 27 of his 66 pitches for strikes and eclipsing the 88 mph plateau a whopping five times. I haven’t seen any of his other starts this year, but the last thing he looked like on Wednesday was a Major League caliber pitcher.

Vazquez didn’t pitch too well himself, though he looked like Cy Young compared to Willis. The former Diamondback let Arizona off the hook just as much as the Yankees’ offense did, surrendering a pair of runs in the bottom of the 1st after walking the bases loaded. It probably would have been more if not for some dreadful baserunning (theme of the night, apparently). A dozen pitches in, he finally threw a pitch over 88.

But then Javy settled down for a bit. He retired the side in order in the 2nd on a dozen pitches, and did the same in the 3rd on seven pitches. Miguel Montero led off the 4th with a single, then moved to third on a Chris Young double. Adam LaRoche plated two with a single, giving Arizona the league, but otherwise Vazquez would retire the next three batters to escape the inning the next six batters he faced overall to end his night. He wasn’t terribly efficient, needing 85 pitches (exactly 60% of which were strikes) to record 15 outs, and he only recorded five of those 15 outs via strikeout or ground out.

After the game, Michael Kay said something to the effect of “Vazquez regressed back to where he was in April,” which on the surface probably seems true. He allowed six hits and four runs in just five innings and walked two guys compared to a lone strikeout. Following his seven start stretch of brilliance, this game certainly had an April feel to it. At the same time though, it didn’t.

The early season version of Javy Vazquez couldn’t stop the bleeding. A one run inning turned into a two or three or four run inning in the blink of an eye, and the game was out of reach by the time he hit the showers. That’s not what happened last night, he pitched around some defensive miscues (namely Frankie Cervelli on that rundown) and managed to hold the D-Backs to two two run innings when they easily could have been worse. What Javy did last night was something people say only about Andy Pettitte or Phil Hughes or other fan favorites: he grinded it out (“ground” sounds weird in this situation, no?).

The first inning was obviously the worst of the night. Vazquez walked leadoff hitter Kelly Johnson on four pitches before falling behind 3-1 on Stephen Drew. Just six of his first 19 pitches were strikes, and he hadn’t even recorded an out by then. It was clear he didn’t have his best stuff going, and that it was going to be a battle all night long. Yet in the end, four innings later, he was lifted for a pinch hitter after retiring 12 of the final 15 batters he faced and the Yankees were still in a game. That’s not April Javy, that’s a veteran starter bearing down and keeping his team in it on one of those days when he didn’t have it working.

No pitcher will be on each time out, and Javy is no different. It was just a bad start, not a regression to Bad Javy or a sign that all the progress he made recently has stalled. There’s no reason to hold Vazquez to a different standard and think every start has a deeper meaning that it does. He’s just a pitcher that struggled on a random Wednesday night in the desert. That’s all.

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Thank Mo for Yanks win
Possible trade target: Ty Wigginton
  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    What Javy did last night was something people say only about Andy Pettitte or Phil Hughes or other fan favorites: he grinded it out.

    When I worked in retail, training managers on how to manage, I told my leaders-in-training that while they shouldn’t become pushovers or softies, they should make a conscious endeavor to just be liked.

    When you like your boss, you tend to overlook his shortcomings and focus on his strengths. When you don’t like your boss, you instead minimize his successes and focus on his weaknesses. Managers who are liked get the benefit of the doubt. Managers who are disliked get picked apart and hypercriticized.

    • Jobu

      So this is why nobody will call Jim Riggleman out for continuously batting Christian Guzman in the one or two hole (or playing him at all for that matter).

      . . . I hate that Christian Guzman!

    • A.D.

      Yup, we see it on this blog everyday.

  • Nick

    So…Mediocre Javy then

  • CountryClub

    Yeah, it was just him having an off night. Michael Kay annoys me.

    • http://www.lessthismorethat.com/author/ddarrell Jamal G.

      I agree with this. I have always felt that Kay was criticized a bit too harshly, but whatever changed for me or him between 2009 and 2010,the guy is now nearly unbearable to listen to.

      • Jobu

        Not that I am a huge fan of Kay but it could be worse. I recall a few years ago, in the dark ages of mlb.com (before you could select your broadcast), I was watching a Yankees at White Sox game and got my first exposure to Hawk Harrelson. I was enraged the entire game. After the game I called a friend who lives in Chicago to ask him why the hell there was a hill billy screaming about cans of corn on the White Sox broadcasts.

        • pounder

          The Hawk announced for us too, back in the day.Yes he was annoying then also,but fortunately for us…he gone.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            Fortunately for us, he was never our GM.

        • http://ballcraft.blogspot.com Zanath

          Speaking of the Hawk, I’m watching the White Sox game on MLB Network. He really is that awful. Out of all the announcers out there, he might be the worst. He’s such a raging homer, too.

      • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

        Seriously, what happened? I never minded Kay (and I still think he’s way better than most announcers) but his negativity is driving me utterly insane this year.

        • pounder

          Jodi Applegate happened to him.he’s getting laid.Maybe.

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUvg7Empjfg Captain Jack

        You have to realize that Kay is just doing it for the LULz.

  • RL

    Certainly not the worst Javy we’ve seen. After his recent string of good starts, he gets a pass on this one. Definitely pulling for him going forward.

  • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

    What Javy did last night was something people say only about Andy Pettitte or Phil Hughes or other fan favorites white guys.

    • mike c

      oh come on, seriously?

      • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

        Mostly kidding.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Only mostly, though.

          • pounder

            Well, he was in Arizona…..

            • mike c

              zing!

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUvg7Empjfg Captain Jack

            Pedro Martinez was the only pitcher of color in my life time that I can remember being a “grinder” prior to my existence I am told Bob Gibson did the same (I’ve met him, nice guy…at least now anyways). Both pitchers drilled the fuck out of hitters, I think if you’re a pitcher of color you need to drill batters in order to be considered a grinder.

    • A.D.

      Eh, pretty sure people say CC grinds it out sometimes.

      • Paul Canales

        Yea I saw GGCC (Gritty Gutty CC) like twice this season.

      • Jobu

        CC had to grind it out after his last start but in the end he was able to decimate the post game spread in a way that would make Sir Sydney proud.

    • Rose

      “What kind of peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children – not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women – not merely peace in our time but peace for all time. So, let us not be blind to our differences – But let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”

      John F. Kennedy
      Commencement Address at American University
      Washington, D.C.
      June 10, 1963

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        “There are a few killers who want to stop the peace process that we have started, and we must not let them. I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers.

        Thank you. Now watch this drive.”

        George W. Bush
        Morning Golf Course Press Corps Q&A Session
        Kennebunkport, ME
        August 4, 2002

        • Jobu

          “I have already contacted the Players Association to confirm if this report is true. I have just been told that the report is true. Based on the way I have lived my life, I am surprised to learn I tested positive.”

          David Ortiz
          Commenting in regard to testing positive for steroids
          New York Times
          July 30th, 2009

          • http://www.soxandpinstripes.net JGS

            “I’m pissed off now, Jobu. Look, I go to you. I stick up for you. You don’t help me now. I say “Fuck you,” Jobu, I do it myself.”

            Pedro Cerrano
            Cleveland, OH
            September 1989

            • jsbrendog (returns)

              “I am still looknig for the real killer”

              OJ Simpson
              Last week from holding

              • Thomas

                You know that robbery was all an elaborate ploy for OJ to get into prison and get information undercover. Where better to search for a killer than in a building filled with murders and other criminals?

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            “Both teams played hard, my man.”

            Rasheed Wallace
            DAL-POR Playoffs, Game 4 Postgame Press Conference
            Portland, OR
            April 28, 2003

            • jsbrendog (returns)

              man i loved the jailblazers

        • Rose
          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            That’s not safe, Rose.

            • Rose

              You’re right…ever since “The Patriot Act”, nothing is.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUvg7Empjfg Captain Jack

            This, I enjoyed.

      • pounder

        Beautiful,and thank you.He did this speech sans tele-prompter,unlike Bush and Obama.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Meh, if the teleprompter had been widely available in the 1960s, JFK would have used the f#$% out of it.

          Most good speakers do. I fail to see what’s so horrible about reading your speech from a prompt as opposed to memorizing it.

          • pounder

            Kennedy was able to speak and speak eloquently and with wit.Cannot imagine Obama so glib and Bush,well…..he was just plain embarrassing.

            • Rose

              The Kennedy’s, it seems like every single one of them, not only had a way with words – but knew how to illustrate them through speeches to the point where they sounded sincere and believable. The same way Martin Luther King was. Those speeches had so much feeling and emotion in them that they unfortunately played a role in getting them all killed.

        • Rose

          Another amazing speech was by his younger brother, Bobby.

          His speech on the Mindless Menace of Violence in America with Vietnam and all of the murders and assassinations going on in the country. He was assassinated himself almost 2 months to the day after he made that speech.

          But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    Javy Vazquez, 2010 splits:

    April – 4 starts, 9.00 ERA, 1.800 WHIP, 1.64 K/BB, .309/.398/.580 allowed (.345 BABIP)
    May – 5 starts, 4.91 ERA, 1.455 WHIP, 1.64 K/BB, .266/.344/.494 allowed (.283 BABIP)
    June – 5 starts, 3.00 ERA, 0.909 WHIP, 2.70 K/BB, .174/.246/.313 allowed (.190 BABIP)

    • RL

      Love the way that looks. Hope it continues in that direction!

      • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

        By September he’ll have a 0.38 ERA and -0.45 WHIP!

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUvg7Empjfg Captain Jack

      .190 BABIP and only a 3.00 ERA? Hate to say it, but uhhh….wow.

  • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

    Totally agreed, this wasn’t the Javy we saw in April that pretty frequently gave his team very little chance of winning the game. He just had a meh game. Hopefully he gets it together again for his next few starts and I have little doubt that he will. The haters were all back, though, of course. Super lame.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUvg7Empjfg Captain Jack

      No HRA though, I am concerned about the low BABIP but less than average results…ultimately though, he’s the fifth starter and he’ll log innings. As long as he doesn’t have many more epic pants shitting moments I’m good. Though I do hope he pitches well so that they can offer him arb and have a good chance of getting picks.

  • A-Rod’s Hip

    very well put article Mike