The New York Yankees went into last night’s game against the Baltimore Orioles with a 16-8 record and have essentially gotten nothing from Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, Nick Johnson, and Javier Vazquez.
I guess that might be all relative because they have gotten some unreal production from guys like Francisco Cervelli, Marcus Thames, Andy Pettitte, and Brett Gardner. But going back to the players who have struggled, perhaps the biggest concern for the Yankees in the long run is Vazquez.
To say Vazquez has been brutal so far in five starts is the understatement of the century. In five starts, Vazquez is 1-3 with a 9.78 ERA. I am thinking he should never be allowed to pitch in the American League again.
Things have gotten so bad for Vazquez that the Yankees will skip his next start in Boston against the Red Sox. Manager Joe Girardi said he wants to give Vazquez a “couple of days to catch his breath.”
That is AKA for “We have zero confidence in his ability right now and we can bury the Red Sox this weekend and Vazquez can’t help us do that at all.” Vazquez will make his next start against the Detroit Tigers on Monday.
So now that the Yankees have skipped his start, what has been Vazquez’s biggest issue this year?
First and foremost his velocity is down. Last year, Vazquez averaged about 91 mph on his fastball. This year, his fastball is down to about 88 mph. If you are right-handed and throwing 88 mph you better a) hit your spots 95 percent of the time and b) know how to trick people.
Vazquez hasn’t learned how to do either this year.
Second, Vazquez is not throwing groundballs. His groundball rate is around 34 percent, which is the lowest of his career. Coincidentally, Vazquez is throwing more flyballs (47 percent) this year than any other point in his career.
If almost 50 percent of the balls hit against you are flyballs in that joke of a stadium in the Bronx then you are going to be in for a long season. There is no way Vazquez can continue his current flyball rate and be successful.
The Yankees will give Vazquez every opportunity to turn things around. But if his velocity and groundball rate don’t improve, Yankee fans might boo Vazquez right out of the Bronx.
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