The Tampa Bay Rays saw two Javier Vazquez's tonight.
In innings one, two, three, and five, they faced a pitcher whose velocity and command made him difficult to hit. The Rays went down in order in the first, third, and fifth, and couldn't score off Vazquez after putting two men on base to begin the second.
During those four innings, Vazquez fanned five Rays, who simply couldn't hit the ball hard against the right-hander.
Innings four and six didn't go nearly as well for the Yankees' newest addition to the pitching staff. Vazquez's control was inconsistent, and the Rays, taking advantage, scored eight runs on seven hits and two walks.
By the end of the sixth inning, the Yankees trailed 9-2. Vazquez had been pulled with two outs, and his final stat-line read: 5.2 innings, eight hits, three walks, five strikeouts, and eight earned runs.
Worst of all, the Yankees faced the daunting task of overcoming a seven-run deficit against David Price, who had his way with the Bombers until the eighth inning.
Vazquez took the Yankees out of the game and deserves the "0-1" that appears next to his name. There's no denying that. However, he doesn't deserve the imminent bashing by members of the New York media, fans who doubted him, and Yankee-haters.
The media will make a big deal about how Vazquez cannot handle New York. They'll say that 2010 will be a continuation of the second half of 2004, in which he went 4-5 with a 6.92 ERA. Be prepared for all those moronic story-lines that are apparently validated by one bad outing.
Fans who doubted his abilities will only use this start as proof that Vazquez won't be able to mow down the opposition like he did in the National League, and Yankee-haters will scoff at Brian Cashman, who they'll say wasted effort to acquire Vazquez.
However, this one start doesn't indicate anything and critics shouldn't jump the gun.
He's a No. 4 starter for the Yankees, but he has No. 1 stuff, which he displayed in innings one, two, three, and five.
Two bad innings? Let the critics say what they want.
One start in April is nothing to be concerned about.
Follow Ari Kramer on Twitter for more on Yankee baseball.