August 31, 2010

Vazquez has Eiland to thank for recent success

Last night Javier Vazquez picked up his first win for the Yankees since July 26. Ever since Vazquez lost his spot in the rotation, he’s turned in two dominant long relief appearances (9 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K combined). Mike Mazzeo of the Star-Ledger reports pitching coach Dave Eiland made a minor change to Vazquez’s windup.

Vazquez’s fastball was regularly registering on the radar gun at 90 to 91-mph (last night), instead of its usual 87 to 88.

All it took was Vazquez moving his leg kick backward and in, which, in turn, allows him to have more momentum going forward. And, as a result, according to the right-hander, his ball doesn’t tail inside as much, because he’s throwing more over the top instead of dropping his arm slot.

I expected Joe Girardi to comment on the idea of reinserting Vazquez into the rotation. Last night he didn’t have much to say.

“As of now, we’re going to stay in rotation,” Girardi said. “But that could change.”

I think it should happen. The Yankees will probably keep Phil Hughes in the rotation the rest of the year to build his innings, so that leaves A.J. Burnett, Dustin Moseley or Ivan Nova as candidates to lose their spot.

The way Nova is pitching, I don’t think he’s going anywhere, especially as Moseley and Burnett are the ones pitching under par.

I say if Burnett delivers another poor start Wednesday, he should be moved to the bullpen. He certainly has bullpen-type stuff, as he’s a two-pitch pitcher and throws mid-nineties heat.

When (if) Andy Pettitte returns Girardi can change the rotation again to prepare for the postseason.

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