Hard to imagine anyone being more disappointed in Javier Vazquez’s first four starts than the guy who had to answer questions about them this afternoon.
“I’m not doing a good job out there,” Vazquez said. “And it’s kind of embarrassing the way I’m throwing the ball.”
Vazquez was fine through the first three innings this afternoon. He wasn’t great, but he did enough. Bobby Abreu has owned Vazquez in his career, so the third-inning homer was hardly a surprise, but Vazquez otherwise struck out the side that inning. Then came the ugly fourth inning when he hit a batter, walked a batter, allowed two singles and gave up a two-run double.
“At times he gets under the ball, and that’s something that we’re working on correcting,” manager Joe Girardi said. “When he’s on top he’s very good. To me it’s more mechanical than anything.”
Girardi said he doesn’t believe it’s a mental issue with Vazquez. He sees Vazquez lowering his arm angle — not staying up top — and that’s causing a lack of control and velocity on his fastball.
“I’m not locating at all,” Vazquez said. “That’s been my most important pitch my whole career.”
Here’s Vazquez talking about today’s start and his rough first four starts this season.
• Robinson Cano has five home runs this season. Three of them have come off Scott Kazmir, who he’s faced six times.
• Speaking of Cano and Kazmir, Girardi said he didn’t think the second hitting HBP was intentional. “I don’t necessarily think he was trying to hit him,” Girardi said. “He might have been trying to make him uncomfortable.”
• After a double and a walk this afternoon, Marcus Thames is hitting an even .500 with an .857 slugging percentage.
• And speaking of Thames, both Girardi and Vazquez indicated that the ball to left field — the Brandon Wood two-run double — was harder to catch than it might have seemed. It had some top spin on it, which made it drop quickly. Frankly, if he’s going to keep hitting .500, it’s probably worth the occasional defensive downgrade.
• Kendry Morales was 1-for-3 in his career against Damaso Marte. Juan Rivera was 1-for-1 in his career against Dave Robertson.
• Tomorrow’s White House visit includes only the guys who were with the team last season. The new guys won’t go. That’s Curtis Granderson, Marcus Thames, Nick Johnson, Javier Vazquez, Boone Logan and Randy Winn. Granderson said he’ll be doing regular “off day stuff,” including seeing some family in the Baltimore area.
• This was Francisco Cervelli’s first start without a hit.
Associated Press photos.