RHP Javier Vazquez (1-3, 9.00)
Career vs. White Sox
WHITE SOX (9-14)
LHP John Danks (3-0, 1.55)
Career vs. Yankees
TIME/TV: 1:05 p.m./YES Network
UMPIRES: Mark Wegner HP, Dan Iassogna 1B, Dale Scott 2B (crew chief), Jerry Meals 3B.
WEATHER: Sunny and hot, with highs around 90. Light winds that will increase to 10-15 mph by mid-afternoon. There is not a cloud in the sky and it’s already 80 degrees here.
SECOND TO NONE: I stole the Yankees’ headline for this note because it is so appropriate. Robinson Cano leads the Majors with a .400 average (34 for 85) and is second in the bigs with 21 runs scored, a .765 slugging percentage and 65 total bases and is tied for second with 34 hits. According to Elias, Cano became the first Yankee to lead baseball in batting average in the month of April since Paul O’Neill in 1994 (.448). Only Cano, O’Neill (’94 and ’96), Clete Boyer (’62) and Willie Randolph (’76) have batted over .400 in April during the expansion era.
IS TODAY THE DAY?: Derek Jeter needs just one double to surpass Don Mattingly for the third-most in club history. He tied Mattingly on Wednesday in Baltimore with his 442nd double. Also, Alex Rodriguez is just one home run shy of Frank Robinson for seventh place on baseball’s all-time list (586).
NOT YOUR AVERAGE JONES: We know Javy Vazquez is off to a terrible start. It may not help for him to see Andruw Jones today. Jones has absolutely tattooed Vazquez throughout his career. He is 20 for 51 with meaty stats all around: seven doubles, five homers and 13 RBI. He has a 1.270 OPS.
UPDATE, 12:30 p.m.: It is a gorgeous day here at Yankee Stadium — hot but not humid and perfectly sunny. And it’s an interesting pitching matchup to be sure, with Vazquez trying to find his mechanics and a groove and having to do so against one of the top lefties in the AL. Danks currently ranks second in the AL in wins and ERA.
The big news from the morning is that Posada will return to the lineup. Joe Girardi said he was encouraged on Friday when Posada hit in not one, but two groups during BP. He just wanted to check on Posada today to ensure the swelling had continued to diminish. Obviously it had because Posada is in the lineup and catching.
The other pregame talk focused on the two guys struggling the most: Vazquez and Teixeira. Girardi expressed confidence that Tex will turn it around; he just wasn’t sure when. He believes Tex has begun hitting the ball with more “impact,” so there’s that. The manager sounded less confident and more curious about Vazquez. It’ll be interesting to see how the right-hander is greeted.
The only other note is a non-note: Girardi had no new information to share on Chan Ho Park. Hopefully, the club will share something during today’s game.
Here’s the audio from Girardi:
UPDATE, 1:05 p.m.: No boos for Vazquez, not when he walked onto the field, nor when they announced his name in the starting lineup.
UPDATE, 1:08 p.m.: Vazquez gets a ground out to start the game. He threw three fastballs — 89, 89, 90.
UPDATE, 1:11 p.m.: Javy has it up to 92 so far. Not bad. Too bad Andruw Jones continues to batter him. Jeez. 1-0 White Sox.
UPDATE, 1:17 p.m.: White Sox lead 1-0, middle 1st, after a solo homer by Jones. Vazquez looked fine. Even though he has been tortured by Jones, that was not exactly a second-decker. Javy threw almost exclusively fastballs in the inning and ranged between 89-92. The last time the club was here Vazquez said he likes to operate between 91-93, so he’s close.
UPDATE, 1:25 p.m.: The Yanks had four good swings, hitting the ball hard each time, but they end the first down 1-0. Teixeira had a hard-hit single. He now has a hit in four of his last five games.
UPDATE, 1:32 p.m.: If you’re not watching at home, Vazquez’s afternoon just got a whole lot tougher — and only by the length of Teixeira’s big toe. Cano made a nice play going to his right and threw across his body. The throw pulled Tex off the bag by an inch or two, so there are not runners at first and third with nobody out. Vazquez walked Quentin on four pitches to lead off the inning and moved him to second on a wild pitch.
UPDATE, 1:35 p.m.: And that’s why Juan Pierre stinks. He went after the first pitch with the bases loaded after Vazquez showed he couldn’t throw a strike. Bases juiced still with one out.
UPDATE, 1:37 p.m.: Considering the bases were loaded with no outs, not a bad escape for the Yanks, who trail 2-0 after a sac fly by Vizquel. He hit the ball to center. Tex cut off Granderson’s throw and tagged out Pierzynski as he tried for third. 2-0 White Sox, middle 2.
UPDATE, 1:46 p.m.: 2-0 White Sox after two innings. Vazquez, Girardi and the umps are meeting along the first-base line right now. Not sure what’s going on.
UPDATE, 1:48 p.m.:
Stunning. Vazquez is done. He just went to the bench. … Wait, let’s just see.
UPDATE, 1:50 p.m.: Apologies. Vazquez is back on the mound. It appears to have been an equipment issue, but I wonder why the umps were involved?
UPDATE, 1:54 p.m.: It appears Vazquez had to switch his glove. The model he is wearing now is a solid color. The one he started the game with was two-toned. Colin Stephenson of the Star-Ledger pointed out the difference with a photo.
UPDATE, 1:57 p.m.: Jones v. Vazquez is up there with Jordan v. Knicks, Federer v. Roddick and Secretariat v. the field. It’s 3-0 White Sox now after a solo homer — yes, another one — by Jones off Javy. It is Jones’ seventh of his career vs. Vazquez in 53 at-bats.
UPDATE, 2:00 p.m.: Ya know, Vazquez has pitched in far bigger games than this. He really has. And I think the fans and reporters make a much bigger deal about starts like this than the players. That said, I agree with people who said Vazquez is nervous. He just misplayed a ball in the field. Every time something bad happens, he falls behind the next hitter immediately. He simply looks uncomfortable. Agree?
UPDATE, 2:21 p.m.: White Sox lead 3-1 through three innings. After Swisher grounded into a double play with two on, Tex scored Gardner from third on an infield single. The ball was stopped on a dive by Teahan, but he couldn’t secure it. Teixeira would likely have beat the throw to first anyway. A-Rod followed with a single but Cano stranded the runners when he struck.
As a side note, who is your AL player of the month in April: Cano or Konerko? They are awfully close. Konerko has more homers (11 to eight) and a higher slugging percentage, Cano has gotten on base more and has a higher batting average. Their OPS’ are almost identical.
UPDATE, 2:27 p.m.: I should’ve mentioned earlier: Danks is at 71 pitches through three innings.
UPDATE, 2:29 p.m.: Has a team ever started five hitters who were batting under .200 this late in the regular season? I mean, that’s pathetic. And their up 5-1 now after the two-run homer by Kotsay, who pulled a 2-2 pitch into the second deck in right.
This is another horrendous start for Vazquez, who has now been touched for three home runs. That one came on a two-strike pitch that was reminiscent of Chan Ho Park’s fastball to Cal Ripken in the All-Star Game.
UPDATE, 2:35 p.m.: That’s it for Vazquez, who left after walking Pierre on four pitches and surrendering a bloop single to Vizquel. He had his head bowed as Girardi walked to the mound. He looked lost. The fans booed him lustily as he left the field.
This is not the shortest start of Vazquez’s Yankee career. He only recorded four outs against Cleveland on 8/31/04 and pitched just 2.1 innings in Baltimore on 9/10/04. The loss to Cleveland was at the old Yankee Stadium and was the infamous 22-0 game.
UPDATE, 2:50 p.m.: Yanks avoid further damage in fourth. They trail 5-1, middle of the fourth. Danks hasn’t been sharp, so this is certainly not over.
UPDATE, 2:59 p.m.: Many of you asked a legitimate question: Do you skip Vazquez in Boston on Friday? It’s possible because of the off-day on Thursday, which would be Javy’s day to pitch. However, it only throws a band-aid on the problem. Vazquez would then have to pitch next at Detroit on May 11, but the team doesn’t have another off-day until May 24. So he’d also have to start against Minnesota at home on May 16 and at Citi Field against the Mets on May 22. Those wouldn’t be ideal situations for someone with shaken confidence and Vazquez seems in need of more than a quick fix.
I’m sure the Yanks will skip him next week, but it could just delay the misery unless they do something seriously effective to fix him.
UPDATE, 3:15 p.m.: Great at-bat here by Tex, who drew a walk. He also pushed Danks over the 100-pitch count in the process. Danks is now at 107 pitches with one out in the fifth and the bases loaded. It’s still 5-1, but Danks is on the ropes. A-Rod could break out here in a big way — and save Vazquez in the process.
UPDATE, 3:21 p.m.: 5-2 White Sox after an RBI fielders choice by A-Rod, who beat the double-play throw to first thanks, in part, to a nasty slide at second base by Teixeira. However, Mark Kotsay just fooled us all. Cano scorched a high liner to right. The way Kotsay reacted at first it appeared to be a game-tying homer. Instead, it was another fly out. So Danks escapes having allowed just two runs in five innings despite allowing — gasp! — nine baserunners. That’s luck.
UPDATE, 3:24 p.m.: Boone Logan is warming up in the pen.
UPDATE, 3:31 p.m.: Logan has stopped throwing. Now Dave Robertson is up.
UPDATE, 3:35 p.m.: Here are the pitching lines —
Vazquez: 3+ IP, 7 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 3 HR, 83 P (46 S)
Danks: 5 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 118 P (65 S)
UPDATE, 3:40 p.m.: A big RBI single for Gardner but more bad news for the Yanks. Granderson pulled up lame after he hit the bag at second. He dragged himself to third but appeared to be in serious pain in his left leg. The replay show he stepped on the second base bag awkwardly.
I’ll get you an update as soon as possible. Randy Winn is now running at third. 5-3 White Sox with two men on and one out with Jeter at the plate.
UPDATE, 3:48 p.m.: That was a big, big home run for Swisher, whose two-run shot to right gave the Yanks their first lead, 6-5, and took Vazquez off the hook. They still lead 6-5 at the end of six.
UPDATE, 3:49 p.m.: Yanks are going with Robertson here. Winn stays in the game and will play left. Gardner moves to center. And for how long is the question…
In other news, appreciative fans in the bleachers just greeted Swisher with loud applause in right.
UPDATE, 3:51 p.m.: Great job by Sergio Mitre, who tossed three hitless innings. He allowed just two baserunners — both walks — and retired the last six men he faced.
UPDATE, 3:55 p.m.: Damaso Marte warming in the pen.
UPDATE, 4:02 p.m.: Marte is in with two on and two out for Robertson.
UPDATE, 4:05 p.m.: Marte couldn’t get it done. He served up a two-run double to Piersynski, so the White Sox lead 7-6 heading into the bottom of the seventh. Stunningly, Ozzie has left Linebrink (1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER) on the mound. Curious decision.
UPDATE, 4:08 p.m.: * INJURY UPDATE * Granderson left the game with a left groin strain. He will go to Columbia Prebyterian for an MRI.
UPDATE, 4:11 p.m.: Someone named Randy Williams is on to pitch for the White Sox.
UPDATE, 4:13 p.m.: Joe West would not be happy about this one. We’re at 3:08 and it’s only the bottom of the seventh. Shame on the White Sox for getting so many hits. Shame on the Yankees for being patient and clawing back into the game.
UPDATE, 4:18 p.m.: JJ Putz pitched in NY for the first time since last May 31. Of course, he was supposed to come back last August. He and everyone else. Poor Mets.
UPDATE, 4:33 p.m.: I’m with you guys (and girls). Why pinch hit Johnson for Winn, a switch hitter, and not Thames? With Winn out, they’ll have to either scrap the DH or put Pena in LF.
UPDATE, 4:39 p.m.: We’re headed to the ninth. The Yanks still trail 7-6. Putz was unhittable there, recording four outs with ease. It looks like Bobby Jenks is warming in the bullpen. Aceves will stay on for the Yankees.
UPDATE, 4:40 p.m.: The Yankees have lost their DH after putting Thames in the OF. The pitcher will bat in the No. 8 spot in the order.
UPDATE, 4:48 p.m.: Apparently, Girardi is confused. He thinks this is November 1st.
UPDATE, 4:50 p.m.: Boone Logan was throwing gas. He threw four fastballs to Teahan: 95, 95, 95, 97.
UPDATE, 4:58 p.m.: Cano taps out to the mound with A-Rod on first to end the game. Yankees fall, 7-6. Linebrink is the winner.