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Hasn’t and Can’t

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Alex Rodriguez heard the taunts, and he knew he had the numbers to back them up. One of the best players in the game had been dreadful in the playoffs, and he seemed to be taking the Yankees down with him. 

Until 2009.

“It was good because I was so tired of hearing that,” Rodriguez said in a YES Network interview [2]. “I mean, it was exhausting, to be honest with you. It was so frustrating to go in every postseason with all the expectations and ambitions to do well, and three, four games (later) and we were right back in Miami and to our (respective) homes. It was frustrating, painful.

“For me, I was just so tired of the whole ‘unclutch’ thing. It was just very annoying, but to come over and be part of a championship team and get some of the biggest hits of my career and to deliver for my teammates when they needed me, that certainly feels really good and I’m very relieved.”

As Jay pointed out this morning, that’s the difference between “hasn’t” and “can’t.”

Javier Vazquez has pitched 15.2 innings in the playoffs, and the results haven’t been pretty, but Vazquez has been a pretty good pitcher in his career. As fourth starters go, he’s been terrific. More than clutch, the Yankees need Vazquez to be available and reliable. They need him to bring stability at the back of the rotation, something that was missing through much of last season.

If he helps the Yankees get to the playoffs, or if his turn in the rotation falls on key dates, the Yankees will have to take their chances that Vazquez can do what Rodriguez did and quiet the naysayers.