Saturday, May 1, 2010

Game 23: Whipping Post

The Yankees did what they were supposed to do last night and took the first of three from their guests from Chicago. The pitching matchup clearly favored the home team yesterday, but today's pairing will make for more of an uphill battle.

This afternoon, the White Sox send John Danks to the mound. Danks is off to a tremendous start this year, having given up just five earned runs in four starts, spanning 29 innings. The Texas-born righty has allowed 6 hits and two walks per nine innings while striking out eight. He's only given up three extra base hits in four starts and is about as hot as any pitcher in the league. His last outing was an eight inning effort against the Mariners during which he gave up two runs didn't walk a batter. Before that, he pitched eight one run frames to the Rays, allowed just two hits and struck out nine.

While Danks looks to put together another strong performance, Javy Vazquez is still waiting on his first. The best of his previous four starts was a 5 1/3 inning, 3 run effort in Oakland, so it's not like he's set the bar very high for himself. He's going to have to do significantly better than that if he wants to get the fans off his back during his second start at Yankee Stadium this year.

The crowd was restless the first time around, booing him as early as the third inning, and the leash figures to be even shorter this time following Javy's poor outing in Anaheim. This time he'll be lucky if he makes it through the pre-game introductions without a few Bronx cheers coming out. And this afternoon, he'll have added (perceived) significance because he'll be pitching in front of Ozzie Guillen, the manager who gave credence to what many people already thought when he said that Javy wasn't a big game pitcher.

This isn't a make or break start as far as his season is concerned, but it means a lot in terms of fan perception. Javy held his head high after his last start, but the longer he goes without putting forth a representative effort at the Stadium, the more the vitriol is going to snowball. A strong effort today could go a long way towards earning some respect from his detractors.

Yankee fans can be unfairly harsh, but they won't hesitate to applaud a strong performance if they are treated to one as well. One way or another, there are going to be plenty of fuckheads just waiting for a chance to voice their displeasure this afternoon and Vazquez will have nowhere to hide. He has to get off to a good start and continue it or else he's going to hear it from the hometown "faithful". No pressure, dude.

Drown myself in sorrow, and I look at what you’ve done,
But nothin’ seems to change, the bad times stay the same,
And I can’t run.

Sometimes I feel, sometimes I feel,
Like I been tied to the whipping post,
Tied to the whipping post,
Tied to the whipping post,
Good lord, I feel like I’m dyin’.
[Song notes: This is some fairly rare footage of the Allmans playing together when Duane was still alive at the legendary Fillmore East.]

Lineups? We won't be providing that service today as both Matt and I will have more pressing things to tend to when they are posted. But you know where to get them. Enjoy the game.