This is a game the Yankees should win easily, considering the Orioles have been the bottom feeders of the AL East for the past decade and are the owners of baseball's worst record.
But for Javier Vazquez, this is not only a game he should pitch well in—it's also a must win.
That came last Thursday in Minnesota, where he was shelled for five runs on eight hits over 5.2 innings pitched. Javy had a chance to step up and deliver the Yankees a sweep, but he failed the Yankees again.
After last Thursday's game, Javy now stands at 3-5 with a monstrous ERA of 6.86. He has only 36 strikeouts, which is not sufficient for him to pitch at a high level, because they have always been a major part of his game. He is known for consistently being in the top 10 in strikeouts every year, no matter what the league.
He will again be under a lot of pressure tonight as he takes center stage back home at Yankee Stadium, where he has been booed by the home faithful. I have a feeling that the boo birds will strike again tonight if Javy gets off to a rocky start.
A loss tonight might be all that Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi can stand. Sergio Mitre, who has been pitching well this year, could replace him in the rotation. The Yanks could shop Vazquez around or release him. Either way, a lot of money will be changing hands, with Vazquez being owed $11.5 million coming into the season.
Tonight's game is of extreme importance for Javy to try to re-establish himself on the mound and with the fans. A loss could spell his end in pinstripes.