When the Yankees decided to skip Javier Vazquez against the Red Sox 2 Friday’s ago, I didn’t love the idea. It seemed like an overreaction and it also didn’t seem like the way to build a pitcher’s confidence.
Now, here we are 10 days later, and Vazquez is being skipped again. This time it’s because of last week’s rainout and consequent doubleheader against Detroit. Skipping Vazquez again will allow the Yankees to pitch everyone else on normal rest. Now I understand the logic here; it’s easiest to move Vazquez around since he’s been struggling. I can’t help but wonder if these moves are shortsighted however.
You can easily make the argument that Phil Hughes has been the Yankees’ best start so far this season and consequently the Yankees seem eager to get him starts and to keep him on a regular schedule. However, Hughes is on a slight innings limit this year – approximately 175 – and if he continues to get the ball every 5th day, he’ll reach that limit with a month left to go in the season. This could lead to another situation, like with Joba last season, where the Yankees are forced to put the brakes on Hughes and hope that it doesn’t hurt his performance.
Looking at the rest of the staff, Andy Pettitte has had some issues with a sore elbow and AJ Burnett and CC Sabathia are coming off of seasons where, thanks to the playoffs, they pitched a tremendous amount of innings.
What does all this mean? That moving them all back one day so Vazquez can pitch is not a terrible idea. When the Yankees signed Vazquez they did so because he had a track record of pitching well over a lot of innings. The guy is a workhorse. Clearly, the Yankees knew all this going in. Are they really going to let a few poor starts make them deviate from the plan, when Vazquez has a whole career worth of numbers to back the fact that he can pitch? Vazquez is on the team to pitch innings and take some of the stress off of the other guys and Hughes in particular. The Yankees need to let him do it.