In a very casual way during yesterday’s post game press conference, Joe Girardi announced that Javier Vazquez would once again have his spot in the rotation skipped. Girardi explained the decision by stating last Tuesday’s rainout created a “pickle”, resulting in Sergio Mitre having to take the ball today against the Twins. Of course, that line of reasoning does not explain why Girardi didn’t simply push everyone back by one day. Had Vazquez been pitching well all season, that’s undoubtedly the approach the Yankees would have taken.
Our guys have been throwing great and we believe we’re getting Javy back to where he needs to be,” Joe Girardi said. “Javy was supposed to start tomorrow. We got in a little bit of a pickle because of rain and things we had to go through, so Serge has to make that start now. And we’re just going to move Javy to Friday. – Joe Girardi, courtesy of LoHud Yankees Blog
A closer look at the schedule, however, reveals what may be the true motive behind the decision to push Vazquez back: delaying his next start in front of the somewhat hostile fans at Yankee Stadium. By moving him back to Friday, Vazquez will miss the entire home stand and instead return to the mound at CitiField. His next start after that would then be against the Twins at Target Field, meaning Vazquez won’t toe the rubber in the Bronx until facing the Orioles on June 1. By that time, the Yankees are probably hoping Vazquez will have three solid starts under his belt, at which point the home crowd might be more welcoming.
For many reasons, the logic behind the decision to skip Vazquez makes a lot of sense. Despite his strong outing in Detroit, Vazquez remains the weakest link in the Yankees rotation, so by slotting him against the Mets, Girardi was able to line up his four best pitchers to face the Red Sox and Rays. A poor outing at home against a division rival could have been a major back for Vazquez. Instead, he will now get the chance to build upon his recent success by pitching in the familiar surroundings of the National League against a heavily right-handed Mets team that has been struggling to score runs. If Vazquez can pitch well against both the Mets and Twins, his June 1 return to Yankee Stadium, which would be his first home start in exactly one month, will have a much more positive vibe.
Make no mistake about it…Javier Vazquez’ start is being skipped. The decision was not one borne of weather created logistics. In fact, the Yankee rotation would probably have benefitted by getting an extra day of rest. Still, this decision could go along way in effecting the complete rehabilitation of Vazquez’ season, even though it will undoubtedly be portrayed as another blow to his psyche.