Curt Schilling, former Red Sox ace, current ESPNBoston analyst went on ESPN Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowheard” and blasted Yankees starter Javier Vazquez as somebody who can’t pitch in New York or the American League.
Schilling on Vazquez not being good enough for the AL: “I never ever thought the move to New York the first time was a good one [for Vazquez]. And I didn’t think this [move] was good as well,” Schilling said. “I don’t think he suddenly learned how to pitch when he went back to Atlanta and dealt last year. He’s a phenomenal National League pitcher. It’s hard to say this without sounding disrespectful and I don’t mean it that way — the National League is an easier league to pitch in, period. And some guys aren’t equipped to get those same outs in the American League, and he’s one of those guys.”
Schilling on Vazquez not being able to handle the media: “[Vazquez] thrived in Montreal and he thrived in Atlanta, and those are both second-tier cities from a baseball passion perspective. He’s not a guy that I’ve ever felt was comfortable in the glow,” Schilling said. “You’re seeing what you’re gonna get from him consistently all year. Having said that, he could turn around next week and throw a one-hitter with his stuff. I just don’t see him being a consistent winner in the American League.”
Thoughts: Schilling certainly isn’t trying to win any popularity contests in New York, although with Vazquez’s popularity these days maybe he is.
These statements fit into what a lot of people have been saying or are going to start saying about Vazquez. Although it really isn’t that simple. Vazquez’s struggles right now are beyond simply a switch the the AL. The media attention hasn’t caused his fastball to lose its velocity. The AL hasn’t caused him to miss the strike zone at about double the rate from his career averages.
No, these are easy jabs at a much more complicated problem. It certainly is possible that a switch to the AL will effect his numbers, but he isn’t going to go from a ERA in the 3.00 range to a 9.something range. No, his problems, at least for right now, are mechanical. That may have something to do with pressure, but to say that the media and league switch have turned this guy into a terrible pitcher is just cheap analysis.