Friday, April 9, 2010

Vazquez redemption tour starts tonight

Javier Vazquez can go a long way toward starting to make things up to New York Yankees fans with a good outing tonight on his way to a strong season as the Yankees #4 starter. One game would not dispel the memory of Vazquez giving up the grand slam to Johnny Damon that buried the Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox, but he has to start somewhere.

That moment against the Red Sox was so brutal, so dispiriting that it's impossible to imagine that he will be forgiven completely. Unless, of course, he helps the Yankees beat the Saux on their way to another World Series title.

A lot has changed for Vazquez since that moment. He's no longer a young kid expected to be a star in the Yankees rotation. With CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Andy Pettitte ahead of him, the pressure is off. And he has learned to be a solid starting pitcher in the major leagues, becoming a serious Cy Young contender last year with the Atlanta Braves.

It's critical for Vazquez to get off to a good start and not just tonight. If he has a couple of rough outings in April, Yankee fans will be all over him. He's going to have to start pitching in Yankee Stadium beginning next week and will be on a tight leash, not from Brian Cashman or Joe Girardi or his teammates who all have expressed confidence in him, but from the fans.

The redemption tour starts tonight.
Thanks to Kevin.Ward via Wikipedia for the photo.

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