For the first time since 1939, each of the Yankees five starters has six wins through the first 62 games of the season.
That’s true only because Javier Vazquez has won his past three starts. This season, he’s pitched 12 times.
The first six outings: 1-4 with an 8.10 ERA.
The past six outings: 5-1 with a 3.00 ERA.
“I see when he gives up a base hit or a run scores, he stops it,” Joe Girardi said. “It’s not carrying over like it was before. He just puts it behind him and he goes and makes another pitch.”
Today, Vazquez’s fastball sat in the upper-80s. That’s certainly not the slowest it’s been this season, but it’s also not particularly close to the velocity Vazquez hit just a few years ago.
“If I’m locating, I know I can win with that, throwing 88, 89, 90,” he said. “Obviously I would love to get back to what I was last year and years in the past, 90 to 94. If it’s there, it’s great. I feel good, so I think it’s going to be there soon, hopefully. If not, I know that I can win with that.”
Girardi said he believe Vazquez’s velocity might climb a little bit. The Yankees had him at 84-85 a few times earlier this season, so he’s clearly getting better, and Girardi pointed out that the team has seen CC Sabathia’s velocity rise lately. A increase wouldn’t be unheard of, but it might not be necessary either.
“He’s throwing strikes with all his pitches,” Derek Jeter said. “We know from facing Javy that when he’s doing that, he’s got so many pitches he can throw that he keeps you off balance.”
• This was Jeter’s reaction when he was told he had tied Rickey Henderson’s franchise record for career lead-off home runs: “Rickey was only here a year maybe, so it’s not as good as it sounds. You have to keep things in perspective.” Henderson actually spent four and a half seasons with the Yankees, a total of 596 games. Jeter has hit leadoff for the Yankees 656 times.
• Girardi on Jorge Posada’s reaction upon learning he would catch tomorrow: “There was a nice little smile there,” Girardi said. “He’s been champing at the bit here. It’s nice the way it works out. We’ve got a game tomorrow and then we’ve got a day off, so I felt like it was a good day to start.”
• Girardi on using Brett Gardner today: “After he took BP today, he was available to us. Our plan was to start him tomorrow, but he was available to us if we needed him today.”
• The latest on Alex Rodriguez: “He felt better today,” Girardi said. “We’ll evaluate him day to day and we’ll put him in when we feel that he’s ready. Obviously it’s good to hear that he felt better. That’s encouraging to me.”
• Robinson Cano took a hard foul ball off the shin, but he seems to be alright. “He’s got a heartbeat in his lower shin, but I think he’ll be OK,” Girardi said.
• Posada on his place among the great catchers in the game: “History is important to me, but I want to think about that later.”
• Speaking of Posada, he struck out in his first at-bat today and saw a ton of curveballs, including strike three. When he hit the grand slam, it was another curveball. “You don’t hit 250 home runs and drive in as many runs as Jorge has if you don’t know how to make adjustments,” Girardi said.
• The Yankees have hit five grand slams this season. They hit three all of last year.
Associated Press photos of Vazquez and Jeter.