Mark Teixeira can relate to Javier Vazquez. After a dismal month of April, the Yankees seemed to have a bust on their hands. Vazquez wasn’t locating his pitches, he wasn’t winning games and he wasn’t even giving the Yankees innings, one thing he had reliably done throughout his career. Vazquez was so bad that loyal Joe Girardi skipped him twice in the month of May.
Since then, he’s been one of the Yankees best pitchers, and tonight he was outstanding through seven innings. He allowed just three hits, and when he had 92 pitches through five innings, Vazquez got through the sixth and seventh on just 18 total pitches.
“Had a tough month, but there are a couple of other guys who had a tough month in April,” Teixeira said. “That’s baseball. You’re not going to be successful all season long. You’re not going to be successful every time out. The best players bounce back from adversity.”
At 7-7, Vazquez is a .500 pitcher again, and his 4.89 ERA is less than half what it was on May 1.
“I think his confidence is back,” Francisco Cervelli said. “And everybody is going to see the good Javy the rest of the season.”
• The reason for Vazquez’s early pitch count was obvious. “They were hitting a lot of foul balls,” Cervelli said. “He threw a lot of good pitches. If they didn’t hit so many foul balls maybe he could have thrown a whole game or one more inning. He became more aggressive in the last few innings and the guys put the balls in play.”
• Speaking of foul balls, Cervelli took one off his chest. With Jorge Posada unavailable, Joe Girardi went to the plate to check on Cervelli and joked with trainer Steve Donohue that Donohue needed to get the gear on. “We don’t have anybody else, you’re out there,” Girardi remembered saying. Cervelli, of course, says he’ll be fine. “100 percent,” he said. “150 percent.”
• Girardi didn’t completely rule out using Posada tomorrow. “He told me it felt a lot better today than he thought it would,” Girardi said. “Hopefully it feels a lot better tomorrow than he thought it would too.”
• In a two-run game, Girardi got Dustin Moseley loose in both the sixth and seventh innings. That seemed significant because Chan Ho Park didn’t pitch last night. This might be the kind of role Moseley is ready to step into right away.
• Very good eighth inning from Joba Chamberlain. “Joba has had some hiccups, there’s no doubt about it,” Girardi said. “People talk about the hiccups, especially when they’re late in the game because a lot of times there’s no recovery time. But he was very good tonight.”
• What’s the difference when Chamberlain pitches well? “A lot more strikes,” Girardi said. “Not long counts. Getting ahead of hitters.”
• Couldn’t agree with Teixeira any more: “I like to play two hours and 40 minutes,” Teixeira said. “Have a great pitching outing like we had from Javy, play good defense, get a couple of big hits and call it a night.”
Associated Press photos of Vazquez and Granderson.