He has been booed, ridiculed, and probably threatened by some of the Yankee faithful this year. Sour images of Game 7 from the 2004 ALCS still sit dance in the heads of Yankee fans. Javier Vazquez (1-3; 9.00 ERA) needs to have a good start tomorrow against one his former teams, the Chicago White Sox, in order to win back the majority of the fan base. However, I view Vazquez’s start to the season in a different light…Here are four reasons why I’m not worried about Javier Vazquez.


Reason #1—The Season Is A Month Old: This may be a bit obvious, but he has only made four starts so far. A healthy major league pitcher will get roughly 35 starts over the course of the season. Even the best arms (Lincecum, Halladay, Sabathia) have bad outings. Sabathia did not win his second game with the Yankees until May 8th last season and he still finished with 19 victories. With Vazquez pegged to start against the Red Sox twice and on the road against the Tigers and Twins during May, he’ll pick up his game.

Reason #2–Javy Starts Slow, But The Strikeouts Are There: Historically, Vazquez has been a slower starter. During his Cy Young candidacy last season, Vazquez gave up 19 runs over his first six starts. He has given up 20 total runs through four this season. He only had a 6-7 record at the All-Star break. However, after the break, he went 9-3 with 112 strikeouts over 106 innings. Some pitchers are just slow starters and that seems to be the case with Vazquez.

So far in 2010, his K/9 is at 8.1, right in-line with his career average. The strikeouts are there, he just needs to locate his pitches better and have more confidence…

Reason #3–Javy Vs. Javy: Say you are fired from Company Y. You become very determined to go out and work extremely hard for your new employer in hopes of proving that Company Y made a mistake. Say Company Y wants you back a few years later. Wouldn’t you do everything in your power the second time around to prove the first time was a fluke? Maybe even obsess over it? Javier made it known this Spring Training that he never wanted to leave the Bronx after the 2004 debacle(He was traded to Arizona for Randy Johnson). He wants to prove that he belongs with the Yankees.

2009 Javy in Atlanta; Good explosion off the mound

This overall ‘obsession’ has somewhat flawed his mechanics in 2010(See Below). He is not driving through with his backside which keeps pitches up in the zone and has led to an uptick in fly balls (42.9% of batted balls in 2010 compared to 34.8% in 2009). It’s also hindering his average fastball velocity (88.9 MPH compared to 90 MPH average for his career) Once he corrects this issue, it will do him wonders.

Javer in 2010; Less follow through=Less explosion AP Photo/Christine Cotter

Reason #4–Yankee Rotation Depth: As Yankee fans, we want to win every game. Yes we are spoiled and obnoxious, but no team will ever win every game. However, if you have a talented, deep starting rotation, you give yourself the chance to be successful each game. As a whole, the Yankee rotation has been great so far. Andy Pettitte is one of the league leaders in ERA. Phil Hughes has had a solid start to the season. AJ Burnett and CC Sabathia are still the two horses. The Yankees are not dependent upon Vazquez’s production like the Braves were last season. At this point, he has hit rock bottom and any progression will be good for the team.

Baseball is such a mentally draining game. Players will beat themselves up when they get into bad slumps. This is what Javy is doing. He knows that he has good stuff and can be extremely successful in the Major Leagues. He just needs to believe in that.

Vazquez will be fine with the Yankees. When he comes around, he’ll start to shut some big mouth, ex-Red Sox that are running for government in Massachusettes(give me a break). It may take him a few starts to get his stuff completely right, but when he does, he is Cy Young good.

That’s something I’ll be patient for. How about you?