Bob Klapisch shares the following today –
Javier Vazquez spoke in long, seamless sentences, sticking to his what-me-panic script after a horrific outing against the Mariners on Saturday. But the longer he spent at his locker, the more obvious it became that neither Vazquez nor the Yankees have any idea what’s happened to what was once an elite right-hander.
Vazquez was lifted after three innings, having given up four runs on eight hits. Vazquez faced 18 batters in three innings, 12 of whom hit the ball hard — including three home runs. He continues to live in a pitcher’s purgatory, stripped of his fastball, unable to locate his secondary stuff, glancing over his shoulder after every hit, as if Joe Girardi was on his way from the dugout.
“Man, I wish I knew. We’ve been talking about this for a long time,” Vazquez said wearily when asked for an explanation.
“I’m not locating; I’m not getting ahead; I’m behind in every count,” Vazquez said. He’s right, of course, but there’s more. Vazquez’s bad counts are attributable to his fear of throwing strikes, which stems from fear of contact. That’s what happens to pitchers who’ve lost their confidence.
While no one has suggested Vazquez is hurt, his trendclearly is disturbing club officials. It’s not just the fastball that’s shrunk from its peak 92 mph to 88 mph a month ago to its current lower 80s. It’s the way hitters are loading up against him.
Reading this, all I can think about is all those who wrote, before the start of this season, about how this is not the “Javier Vazquez of 2004″ we were going to see this season; and, about how many, during this season, have opined about Vazquez being a “representative 4th starter” and exactly filling the expectations of what the Yankees had for him this season.
Well, to me, if sure looks like Javy Vazquez, this season, is the same turkey who was pitching for the Yankees in ’04. And, if this is what you expect from your 4th starter in a big league rotation, then I have a used “Brian Moehler” that I would like to sell you…