After starting the year off horribly, Javier Vazquez seems to have righted the proverbial ship. Four of his last five starts have been absolutely great and in those five starts, he’s put up this line:
32.2 IP, 19 H, 10 ER, 12 BB, 31 K, 3 HR, 2.81 ERA, 0.9627 WHIP, 2.58 K/BB.
While this isn’t what we expected from Javy, it’s certainly a lot more like him than the awful start he had to the year.
Yesterday, we saw Javy at his best this season–despite the four walks–and he was able to mix his pitches well. He threw 43 fastballs (32 four seam, 11 two seam), 21 changeups, 16 sliders, and 26 curveballs. No one pitch dominated his pitch selection and he was able to use all of those pitches effectively.
The best part about the start yesterday was that Javy was able to get 10 swinging strikes on his changeup. This tells me he was keeping Toronto’s hitters way off balance and had them looking fastball. For Javy, who’s seen a dip in his velocity this season, his changeup is likely to be his biggest pitch going forward. His average fastball velocity yesterday was under 90 MPH (89.48) and his maximum velocity was 91.7 MPH. But, his changeup had an average velocity of 79.30 MPH, more than a ten MPH difference from his fastball. That difference is exactly what we like to see out of a pitcher. If Vazquez can keep that changeup working, he’ll continue to be successful. It will also help improve against lefties, who’ve given him trouble thus far in 2010.
With cautious optimism, I’m thinking that Javy has definitely turned a corner. From here on out, it’s very likely that we’ll see the Javy we thought we’d be seeing when he was acquired in the winter. Hopefully, this string of mostly great performances by Vazquez also means the end of the booing at home. This guy’s a very talented pitcher who hit a rough spot to start the year. Now, he’s getting himself right and the Yankees will reap the benefits.
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