Saturday, May 22, 2010

Vazquez steps up when Yankees need it

What pressure? Javier Vazquez showed New York Yankees fans what he can do, justifying his team’s faith in him with a brilliant performance against the cross-town rival Mets.

Going into this weekend, Friday night's game would have been the last one picked as the potential pitchers’ duel, but it turned out to be exactly that with Vazquez mowing down the Mets one by one and Hisanori Takahashi returning the favor. It was truly a fantastic game, one of the better ones I've seen in a long time. I just wish the Yankees could have gotten at least a sacrifice fly to knock one of those stranded runners in and give Vazquez some breathing room, not that he really needed it.

The main problem with last night was that Joe Girardi's interleague nightmare of one of his pitchers getting hurt came true. Although it doesn't appear that the injured finger Vazquez suffered will keep him out for an extended period, the Yankees manager said he would be frustrated for Vazquez if it caused him to miss a rotation turn when he is on such a good roll. Girardi must also be in agony at the thought of Phil Hughes, who hasn't hit since high school, stepping up to the plate tonight, even if it is just to bunt. I doubt the manager even got any sleep last night. This is why baseball needs to implement the designated hitter for interleague games in National League parks, including in the regular season.

But Vazquez the pitcher is the main story. This is his third straight strong outing and yes I'm including him getting Kevin Youkilis out the other night because that was a key part of the comeback victory. The guy people were afraid would wilt pitching against the Boston Red Sox proved oblivious to the pressure of the Subway Series and stepped up to give the Yankees exactly what they needed and end their mini-losing streak. After struggling in the first weeks of his second tour of duty with the Yanks, who would have thought Vazquez would be their most important pitcher this week? Well done, indeed.

Thanks to sillygwailo via Wikipedia for the photo.

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