Javier Vazquez gets rocked; commence freakout

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Vazquez Yankees.jpgThe early returns on Javier Vazquez’s to pinstripes? Deja vu all over again. He was torched for eight runs on eight hits — including two home runs — a 9-3 loss to the Rays on Friday night. I’d show you the back pages of the New York tabloids panicking and overreacting, but they are too busy talking about some Tiger guy right now.

Vazquez told the New York Daily News that Friday’s failure was a direct result of his failure to execute.

“The first three innings I was making good pitches, but after that I
wasn’t making good pitches,” Vazquez said. “With men on base I was just
rushing too much. Bottom line is I didn’t make my pitches and when you
don’t make pitches and you get the ball in the middle of the plate
they’re going to hit you hard and that’s what happened.”

I love how there’s this belief that Vazquez’s success last season was some creation of the National League East. Granted, he should see some regression with a move back to the American League, any pitcher would, but remember that Vazquez was 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and a 30/9 K/BB ratio in five starts against the Phillies last season, and they’re hardly chop liver. Expecting a repeat of last season’s results would be silly, especially with his flyball rate, but I have a feeling he’s going to be just fine.

Steven Souza Jr. exits game after injuring his hand on a hit by pitch

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Rays’ right fielder Steven Souza Jr. left Saturday’s game after getting hit on the left hand by a pitch from Blue Jays’ right-hander Joe Biagini in the seventh inning. The pitch appeared to hit the top of Souza Jr.’s hand, causing the outfielder to crumple at the plate and requiring assistance from assistant athletic trainer Paul Harker as he exited the field. Postgame reports from the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin revealed that Souza Jr. sustained a left hand contusion and is scheduled to undergo further evaluation on Sunday.

While the diagnosis isn’t as bad as it could be, it’s still a tough break for the right fielder, who missed 40 days of the 2015 season after sustaining a fracture in his left hand on another hit by pitch. The team has yet to announce any concrete timetable for Souza Jr.’s return, though manager Kevin Cash indicated that they’ll be taking things day to day for the time being.

Souza Jr. is batting .326/.398/.543 with four home runs and 17 RBI through 104 PA in 2017. He went 1-for-2 with a base hit and a walk prior to his departure during Saturday’s 4-1 loss.

Video: Brett Gardner goes deep for his first and second home runs of 2017

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It’s been a slow start to the season for Yankees’ outfielder Brett Gardner, who entered Saturday’s matinee against the Orioles with a .188/.316/.234 batting line, three doubles and five stolen bases in his first 76 PA of the year. That all changed in the first inning of Saturday’s game, when Gardner skied a leadoff home run to right field:

Orioles’ right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez couldn’t find his footing against the Yankees in the second inning, either. Gardner returned for his second home run of the season, a three-run shot to lift New York 5-0 over Baltimore:

Measured at 411 feet in the right field bullpen, the left fielder’s blast marked the seventh home run hit by a Yankee this series. According to the club’s PR department, it’s also the first multi-home run game Gardner has recorded since September 2015. The Yankees currently lead the Orioles 7-0 through four innings.