Javier Vazquez stood there and tried to explain why he finds himself so lost five starts into his second stint as a Yankee. Somehow, his unsightly ERA soared even higher today after allowing five runs on seven hits and four walks in just three-plus innings.
Vazquez is now just 1-3 with a 9.78 ERA and he remains determined to correct that. But how? That he couldn’t quite say.
“It’s tough. I can’t hide that. It’s tough. But I promise everybody I’m going to keep working hard at it and battle through it,” he said.
Vazquez said he had mechanical issues before but found the resolve to execute quality pitches. Not today. He allowed three homers for just the 15th time in his career. He has never allowed more.
The obvious question was about Friday night in Boston, when Vazquez would be scheduled to pitch next. Joe Girardi wouldn’t touch that topic, not with more pressing questions — what’s wrong with Curtis Granderson, how serious is his injury, who will play the outfield, and who is available to pitch out of a taxed bullpen — left to be answered.
“There’s no doubt about it right now that he’s scuffling,” Girardi said. “We have to find a way to get him back on track. But my concerns right now is tomorrow and the next day and how we deal with some of the things we’re dealing with right now.”
Of course, the Yankees will have the luxury to yank Vazquez from the rotation for a turn because they have Thursday off. But he’d be called to pitch in Detroit on May 11th, at home against Minnesota five days later and at Citi Field five days after that. The band-aid may not fit for long.
Although Vazquez’s confidence is shaken, his mechanics all stirred, he continued to insist the jeers of the home crowd do not deter him any more than his pitching.
“When you do bad you expect to get booed. It’s something I’m clear on. When you do bad, you’re going to get booed. For me, really, that’s not even a question right now,” he said. “When you’re not doing good, they’re going to boo you. I really have to turn it around and hopefully the boos will turn into cheers.”
Girardi compared Vazquez to Damaso Marte, who struggled mightily, was booed and went on to become a World Series hero as Ryan Howard’s kryptonite. But no one seems to have a solution for Vazquez other than to offer him support.
“It is what it is, you know?” Jorge Posada said. “You have to stay positive with him. I know what he’s capable of doing so I’m going to stay positive.”
If you want to hear Vazquez in his own words, here’s the audio:
— Posada said he felt “good” after returning to the lineup. He missed two games after being hit on the right knee by a pitch from Jeremy Guthrie on Wednesday. Posada finished the game 0 for 4 but caught all nine innings.
— Mark Teixeira went 2 for 4. It was his second multi-hit game of the season. The last was 4/10/10 at Tampa.
— Girardi said he will use Brett Gardner in center with Granderson out. Marcus Thames, who has now reached base in each of his eight starts, and Randy Winn will play left.
— Sergio Mitre tossed three hitless innings in relief of Vazquez. Alfredo Aceves added 1.2 innings of hitless ball. Girardi doesn’t expect either will be available tomorrow, hence the promotion of Mark Melancon from Scranton.
— The guy who gets overshadowed with all of today’s craziness is Nick Swisher. He snapped an 0-for-22 skid with a single in the fifth and later struck for a two-run homer in the sixth that gave the Yankees the lead, 6-5.