Monday, May 17, 2010

Yanks work to put a good spin on Vazquez skip

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi laid out all the reasons why the team will skip Javier Vazquez in the rotation tonight against the Boston Red Sox: they want CC Sabathia to pitch in a National League ballpark with no designated hitter, they want Andy Pettitte pitching against lefty-dominated lineups in his next two starts.

But the Yankees are really trying to put a good spin on the real reasons the righty won't get the ball tonight or tomorrow: Phil Hughes has surpassed Vazquez in the rotation to become the #4 starter, they want their best pitchers going in a big game against the Red Sox (which are always big despite the disparate records) and that they don't have a lot of confidence in Vazquez even as they work overtime to get him straightened out.

It's the right call for the Yankees to skip Vazquez against the BoSox. Ideally, it would make sense to send him out against a struggling team and hope that a good outing would boost his confidence. But Yankees-Red Sox at the stadium is intense pressure under the best circumstances and no one would say that Vazquez has overcome his struggles despite his solid effort last week.

In skipping Vazquez, Girardi is trying to protect him from what will be a very hostile crowd if he doesn't do well. Of course, Vazquez probably doesn't see it that way. He's going to have to figure out a way to manage his disappointment and focus on preparing to pitch well his next time out, whenever that comes.

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