Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland told Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com that Javier Vazquez is dealing with a dead arm.
Vazquez struggled in Friday’s loss to the Red Sox, allowing six runs — three earned — while walking four and allowing two home runs. After the game, Yankees manager Joe Girardi expressed concern in the right-hander’s failure to reach 90 mph with his fastball.
Vazquez entered Friday’s contest with a 3.29 ERA over his last 90 1/3 innings dating back to early May, but his velocity has been down for most of the year. He has averaged 88.9 mph on his fastball this season, compared to 91.1 mph with the Braves last season, according to Fangraphs.
The Yankees don’t believe anything is seriously wrong with him, however Vazquez thought the team may evaluate him further. In an effort to get Vazquez through the dead arm period, Eiland said the team will cut down on his workload between starts.
It’s not like a pitcher having a dead arm is uncommon — heck, even Roy Oswalt is going through it right now — but this is hardly good news for a team that currently holds a razor thin lead in the AL East.
Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller left Sunday’s start against the Dodgers after four-plus innings due to tightness in his right forearm, the team announced. He’ll be reevaluated tomorrow. Needless to say, though, a forearm injury is very concerning. In his four innings, Miller gave up three runs on four hits and five walks with three strikeouts, raising his ERA to 4.09.
Miller, 26, has had a nightmare of a time since joining the Diamondbacks in December 2015. Last year, he made 20 starts and posted a 6.15 ERA. He suffered a finger injury suffered from scraping his hand on the pitcher’s mound with his follow-through, and he was also demoted to Triple-A during the summer as well.
Pirates starter Ivan Nova has been outstanding in his first three starts of the 2017 season. He yielded only five earned runs in 20 innings for a tidy 2.25 ERA. But even more impressively, Nova didn’t issue a walk in any of those starts.
That changed on Sunday afternoon against the Yankees, but in a most peculiar way. Nova had struck out the side in the first inning, notched a 1-2-3 frame in the second, and got two quick ground outs to begin the third inning, bringing up Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery for his first major league at-bat. Montgomery never batted in the minor leagues, either, so Sunday’s AB against Nova was his first since his senior year of high school in 2011. Montgomery took the first two pitches for balls, then a called strike, a ball, and another called strike to even the count. Nova came in with his sixth consecutive fastball but it missed low, walking the Yankees’ pitcher for his first free pass of the 2017 season.
Nova got out of the inning without any further issue. He wound up going seven innings, giving up a lone run on four hits and a walk with seven strikeouts, lowering his ERA to an even 2.00.