Via Tyler Kepner –
The decision not to use Vazquez in Boston, then, is a stinging indictment of a pitcher the Yankees privately believed would perform like a No. 2 starter. Instead, Vazquez will pitch Monday at Comerica Park in Detroit, against a Tigers team that has hit much better than the Red Sox. It reinforces the notion that he cannot handle a big stage.
“When you’re struggling like this in a market like this, it’s louder and it’s harder,” General Manager Brian Cashman said. “It just is. No one’s going to run from it. It bothers him. It hurts. He wants to do right by everybody, and he’s fighting himself to keep doing it.”
Vazquez did not make himself available to reporters Monday, but Girardi said Vazquez told him he wanted to start at Fenway. Girardi said that he understood but that he told Vazquez he believed he would benefit from extra days off.
By starting his second New York stint with a 9.78 earned run average, highest in the league among pitchers with five starts, Vazquez has called into question his stomach for pitching here. It is safe to say the Yankees believed they were past that.
Vazquez is a genial person, but staying hidden from reporters before Monday’s game was not a good sign.
But the Yankees are convinced that Vazquez is so lost that he could not win on the road against a Red Sox team that looks strikingly ordinary. A victory at Fenway could boost Vazquez’s shattered confidence. By not giving him the chance, the Yankees revealed just how worried they are.
“Unfortunately, there’s a clear recognition that there’s some major struggling going on here,” Cashman said. “It’s an opportunity for us to show we’re going to do everything we can, in our power, to fix this on the run.”
You know, at the end of last season, Big League Stew said that “Vazquez’s worst ERA+ years — with the exception of his first two seasons — all came with contenders: the ’04 Yankees, the ’05 D’Backs and the ’06 and ’08 White Sox.”
Maybe the Yankees should have considered that?
Me? Well, when the Yankees made the trade for Vazquez, I wrote:
But, the big thing with Vazquez is: Can he pitch in the American League? If you look at his career, in terms of his component skills, Vazquez is pretty consistent. Yet, for some reason, his bubble-gum card stats, outside of 2007, are much better when he’s in the N.L. than when he’s in the A.L. (where the Yankees play). In the Senior Cicuit, he’s a Cy Young contender. In the Junior Circuit, he’s a league average pitcher. Perhaps it’s the A.L. ballparks that do him in? (By the way, his lifetime ERA while pitching in the Bronx is 7.09 over 6 games.) But, even at his worst, Javy should be good for close to 200 innings pitched and somewhere around 12-14 wins.
And, I really meant that – in that I thought it was fair to expect 200 innings pitched and somewhere around 12-14 wins from this guy in 2010.
Of course, that could still happen…but the clock on that hope is ticking fast…because it sure sounds like Javy Vazquez is one messed up little dude.