Javier Vazquez: Yankees Unlikely Hero

August 2, 2010   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

The 2010 Yankees are a team full of talented and special baseball players.

They are locked, loaded and ready to take the AL East by storm.

Lance Berkman, Kerry Wood, and Austin Kearns, all newcomers, have filled holes that the Yankees had, notably the bridge to Mariano with Wood. All three were great moves, and Brian Cashman deserves credit for getting these guys without giving up a major piece of the farm.

On the offensive side, Robinson Cano is having the year of his life, batting .331 with 21 home runs and 71 RBIs. He is also playing gold glove defense. Alex Rodriguez has even said that Cano is the MVP of the league.

Nick Swisher is also having a tremendous year, batting .300 with 20 home runs and 63 RBIs.

Many may call this a down year for Alex Rodriguez, but he has 85 RBIs, only six behind league leader Miguel Cabrera. Sure, his power is down, but A-Rod has had some big hits for the Yankees this season.

The starting pitching for this team has clearly been its strength all year long, even with AJ Burnett’s struggles and inconsistencies this season.

CC Sabathia is having a typical Sabathia season, going 13-5 with a 3.19 ERA. He is leading the team in innings pitched with 158, showing that he is the horse at the top of the rotation the Yankees can count on.

Before he got hurt, Andy Pettitte was having a tremendous season, going 11-2 with a 2.88 ERA. Andy has been “dandy” this year, and he is even ahead of schedule in recovering from his injury.

Phil Hughes has emerged as the pitcher the Yankees have always thought they were getting, going 12-4 this year in 117.1 innings pitched. He hasn’t been as dominant of late, but he has still been a formidable pitcher.

And Mariano Rivera is Mariano. Nothing more needs to be said about the greatest closer in the game. “The one pitch wonder.”

Back to the title of the article, “Unlikely Hero.” This next player has not had a walk off home run, and he even hasn’t thrown a complete game.

He struggled mightily at the beginning of the season and lately he has turned it up to a level that the Yankees knew that he had.

Javier Vasquez is a well liked member in the Yankee clubhouse. Suzyn Waldman has said that the players “love Javy.” Javy had a dismal, awful, horrendous start to the season. His ERA in April was 9.00 in April, and in his first start, he gave up eight runs in only 5.2 innings pitched.

The instant thought was that he wasn’t made for New York, with flashes of that horrific game 7 in the 2004 ALCS when Javy served up Johnny Damon’s grand slam. He hasn’t recovered from that. He can’t handle playing in New York, some Yankee fans said.

May could not have gotten worse for Javy. He was moved to the bullpen because he could not be trusted to pitch against Boston.

But, with his manager and teammates behind him, Javy turned the corner. Turning up his game in June and July, he has since been a reliable pitcher for the Yankees. The Yankees have been 8-3 in his starts since June 10th, and he has always given the Yankees a chance to win, giving up only four runs in his three losses since June 10th.

Javier Vazquez has not gotten the credit that he deserves. He has been what the Yankees wanted from him. Yes, one cannot forget his dreadful start to the year. But guess what? That was a long time ago. The Yankees are entering the month of August now in first place, and Javy must continue to throw well, especially with Andy Pettitte missing time.

Will Javy continue to get it done? Only time will tell, but it is a safe bet that he will keep the Yankees in the game when he starts. He’s done it all year long.

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