Many fans, including this one, didn't expect much from Javier Vazquez today, but he surprised us all with his best start of the season by far. He pitched 7 innings for the first time all year and allowed just two runs on five hits, walked two, and struck out a season-high seven Tigers. Vazquez had his best stuff of the year and consistently threw strikes--66 of his 97 pitches were strikes. He worked quickly and looked confident on the mound, which is very good to see.
He had one bad inning, the sixth, when he allowed both runs and four of the five hits he allowed on the day. Austin Jackson started the inning off with a single. Another former Yankee, Johnny Damon, followed with a single of his own to put runners on the corner. Magglio Ordonez knocked in the Tigers first run with a fielders choice. Miguel Cabrera singled to put two on with one out and then Brennan Boesch singled to drive in the Tigers second run. That was it, and sadly it would be enough for the Tigers on this day.
That's because Rick Porcello was even better than Vazquez and held the Yankees scoreless through seven strong innings. He had the sinker working and induced 15 groundball outs. The Yankees had two innings where they could have scored, but both rallies ended on the bat of Ramiro Pena, who left a small village on the base paths. In the second he came up with the bases loaded and two out and flew out to end the inning. Then, in the fourth, he came up with first and second with two out and struck out to end that threat.
After Porcello, Tigers' relievers Ryan Perry and Jose Valverde held the Yankees off the board for the final two to close out the win for Detroit.
The biggest thing for the Yankees today was the performance of Vazquez. He looked like the pitcher the Yankees thought they were getting when they traded for him this offseason. Hopefully, he can keep it up, and hopefully, next time the Yankees offense shows up.
The Yankees look to avoid four losses in a row with Phil Hughes on the mound in game two tonight. He will be facing off against Tigers right-hander Jeremy Bonderman. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. and the game is on YES.