On Wednesday, in his second start of the year, Javier Vazquez nibbled a bit too much and, when it was all said and done, the right-hander gave up four earned runs over 5 1/3 innings to the Angels. It wasn’t a bad start, by any means, but it wasn’t a good start either, as Vazquez, who had a very effective Spring Training, is struggling with his pitch command now that the regular season is underway (he has given up twelve earned runs in two outings). While that is a problem, the tide will eventually turn, and Vazquez will demonstrate why Brian Cashman obtained him (twice).
Yankee fans, however, appear to have soured on Vazquez rather quickly, booing him yesterday after he gave up just two earned runs, although I suppose lingering doubts from his last stint in pinstripes six years ago remain and spurred the jeering (or at least made it easier for some to boo). To that, and to those fans who booed, I say, get over it, as what occurred in 2004 has little bearing on what will occur now. Rather than scolding fellow fans as some already have, all that needs to be done is a quick recitation of the number 16.5. That is how many wins above replacement Vazquez has been over the past three seasons (2007-2009) and should tell you enough about his talent (only six other pitchers – Sabathia, Halladay, Lincecum, Haren, Greinke, and Beckett – have been more valuable). Sure, I have noted this in the past, but, given Vazquez’s shaky start and fan reactions to it, I figured it was necessary to mention once more.
Basically, my point is, let’s not Chan Ho Park him (i.e., condemn him prematurely). Let’s give Vazquez a real chance.
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