Albeit in a losing effort, Javier Vazquez’ return to the rotation was a success. Unlike his past failed efforts, Vazquez established his fastball in the early going and then kept coming back to it. In total, he threw 59% fastballs (57 of his 97 pitches), which was a significant step up from the 50% rate he had exhibited over his previous starts. His velocity was still lacking, but Vazquez did seem more confident in the pitch, and perhaps that is why he was able to exhibit better command.
Vazquez’ only hiccup occurred in the sixth inning, when leadoff hits by Austin Jackson and Johnny Damon preceded an RBI ground out by Magglio Ordonez and a run scoring single by Miguel Cabrera. Each of the hits in the inning was yielded on an off speed pitch (curve or change), while all three outs resulted from contact made on a fastball. It will probably take more than one start, but the Yankee brain trust needs to drive this point home. Still, by giving up only two runs in eight innings, Vazquez exceeded any reasonable expectations. If he can maintain a similar approach, there is no reason why he can’t be a productive member of the rotation.
With one problem seemingly on the way toward being solved, the Yankees offense has cropped up as a concern. Whether by accident or design, batter after batter in the lineup swung early and often in the count, which allowed Rick Porcello to pitch seven innings. In his previous six starts, Porcello has pitched through the fifth inning only once, but against the Yankees he looked on top of his game.
The Yankees did, however, have a few scoring chances, but each time Ramiro Pena was retired to turn back the threats. In total, Pena stranded six runners, including a bases loaded situation in the second inning, echoing Monday’s game when Randy Winn, the ninth batter in that game, left seven men on base. The only other real scoring threat occurred in the third inning when Brennan Boesch made a leaping catch at the wall on Alex Rodriguez’ opposite field drive to right.
After Porcello left the game, the Yankees were only able to muster one walk against Ryan Perry and Jose Valverde, and thus were once again forced to bear witness to the theatrical gyrations of the Tigers closer.
Over the last two games, the Yankees offense has started to crack under the weight of recent injuries. Nick Johnson and Curtis Granderson are not due back anytime soon, so unless reinforcements are on the way, the rest of the lineup will have to pick up the slack. In particular, the Yankees need Derek Jeter to revert to his more selective self and resume getting on base at a more normal rate. Without Jeter setting the table, the Yankees offense seems sure to stagnate. Hopefully the Captain can turns things around in the nightcap as the Yankees seek to avoid a sweep.
- By losing the first two games to Detroit, the Yankees failed to win a series for only the second time in 11 tries.
- The Yankees were shutout for the first time all season. It was also the first time the Yankees failed to score a run since September 4, 2009 against the Blue Jays and Roy Halladay.
- The last time the Yankees were shutout by the Tigers was in a 16-0 loss on August 27, 2007. In total, the Tigers have now pitched 54 shutouts against the Yankees.