I think it's time we accept that Javier Vazquez might just be gutless bitch who can't handle New York or the American League. After today's stinker, the goat of 2004 is now 1-3 with an ERA of 9.00, and clearly the weak link of the 2010 New York Yankees. Am I being too harsh? Possibly, but for now I think my criticism is well deserved. Hopefully he turns things around, bit I'm having a hard time believing he will.
Today was his fourth bad start in four chances. In just 3.2 innings, the pathetic right-hander allowed five runs on five hits, walked three, and struck out three on his way to his third loss of the year. And once again it was a game where the Yankees handed him a lead which he couldn't hold.
The Yanks jumped all over Scott Kazmir early, giving themselves a 3-0 lead after one and a half. Jorge Posada got the Yanks going with a two-run homer, his fourth of the year. Derek Jeter drove in run number three when he grounded into a force. But as I, and everyone around me watching the game expected, the three runs were nowhere near enough with Javy on the mound. By the time the fourth inning was over the Angels had a 5-3 lead and Vazquez was done for the day.
It wasn't only his fault. Marcus Thames did a good job of showing why he should never play left field for this team when he turned a line out into a two-run double by Brandon Wood, which gave the Angels a 4-3 lead at the time. If you don't think his defense was a problem go watch this play and tell me that Brett Gardner wouldn't have come up with the ball. Pay attention to how bad of a jump he gets on the ball.
As I said, the double turned a 3-2 Yankees lead into a 4-3 deficit and allowed the inning to continue--an inning that saw the Angels eventually score one more to make it 5-3. This platoon BS has to stop and Garnder needs to be this team's everyday left fielder, even if it's for his defense alone. Don't be fooled by Thames' .500 average. He's done nothing with men on base and he's been a butcher in left. His value comes as a late-inning pitch-hitter when the opposing team brings in a lefty, otherwise he should do nothing but warm the bench.
The Yankees might have had a chance down the stretch of this one, but in the seventh Damaso Marte served up a three-run homer off the bat of new Yankee-Killer Kendy Morales in the seventh to put the game away for the Halos.
It was an odd inning for the Yankees and specifically Joe Girardi. Girardi admitted that he "screwed up" the inning. The game was still within reach; the Yankees trailing 5-4, but the Angels had runners on 1st and 2nd and Morales at the plate, with Marte on the mound. For some odd reason, Girardi told Marte to intentionally walk Morales, which would have loaded the bases. He was then going to bring in David Roberston to face the right-handed Juan Rivera. Whether you agree with that move or not isn't important, what happened next is.
Marte begins the intentional walk and throws ball one. Girardi then popped his head out of the dugout and started to make his way to the mound. According to the manager, his plan was to take Marte out now and bring in D-Rob to finish the walk and then pitch to Rivera. I have no idea why he would make this move, it makes no sense at all, and by the time Girardi reached the mound Girardi must have felt the same way because he changed his mind. This time the plan was to have Marte go after Morales. Eventually, he fell behind 3-0, and Morales launched the next pitch into the seats and the Angels were up 8-4.
I don't like the intentional walk with runners on first and second, but with the way Morales has been hitting I can understand it, but by the time the count was 2-0 and especially 3-0, it was really a no-brainer. Either way, the game was now out of reach and the Yanks faced their first series loss of the season.
"I probably should have stuck with my first instinct," Girardi said.
"He got to 3-0 and I could have put four (fingers) up again," he said. "I probably should have put four there."
So the two things we learned today is that when Vazquez pitches expect the Yankees to need at least eight runs for a win, and when Thames plays left expect bad things to happen. If they like his splits against lefties so much start him at DH and sit Nick Johnson. The Thames problem is easily fixed, all the Yanks have to do is stop starting this bum in the field. As for Javy, that situation is much harder to deal with. They can't stop using him since it's just four starts, but with an 89-90 MPH fastball the guy will continue to get lit up in this league, especially against teams that lay off of his mediocre breaking stuff.
On to the positives of the game: Robinson Cano hit his team-leading fifth home run of the season. It was his third homer off Scott Kazmir this season. Jorge Posada hit his fourth. Boone Logan, Alfredo Aceves and Sergio Mitre each had nice outings out of the pen. Logan threw a scoreless inning, Aceves followed that up with 1.2 scoreless, and Mitre added a scoreless frame of his own. Mark Teixeira went 0-for-2, but hit the ball hard a few times and did walk twice. He may not be out of his slump yet, but by the looks of things he's getting close.
The Yanks have an off-day tomorrow before they begin a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. Phil Hughes starts the opener for the Yanks on Tuesday, and he will be facing veteran right-hander Kevin Millwood. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. and the game will be on MY9.