Yankees to skip Javier Vazquez's next start

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With the right-hander getting lit up because of a dead arm that has him looking more like a Triple-A journeyman than one of the game’s top strikeout pitchers, the Yankees are finally ready to do something about Javier Vazquez. He’ll have his turn skipped this week, and he’ll be available to work out of the pen beginning Wednesday.
Vazquez last pitched Saturday, when he gave up four runs over three innings in a no-decision against the Mariners. It was the third straight outing in which he failed to last five innings. He’s 0-2 with an 8.10 ERA and seven homers in 16 2/3 innings over four starts in August.
The Yankees will give 23-year-old Ivan Nova a chance to pitch in Vazquez’s place when he faces the White Sox on Sunday. Picked over Dustin Moseley then, Nova allowed two runs over 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Jays on Monday. It was his first big-league start after two relief appearances back in May in which he combined to pitch three scoreless innings.
We’re still probably a couple of weeks away from figuring out whether Vazquez can be written off for the rest of the season. The arm fatigue clearly wasn’t going away while he was starting every five days. Maybe some time off will help. But unless he regains a few mph on his fastball, he’s not going to be a part of the Yankees’ postseason roster.

The Japanese playoffs are super unfair

Hiroshima Carp
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I know a little about Japanese baseball. Not a lot, mind you. Like, I couldn’t hold my own with people who actually watch it or report on it or whatever, but I could explain some of the broad differences and similarities between the NPB and the U.S. majors.  I can say a few things about how the two leagues compare competitively speaking. I can name some stars and (I think) all the clubs. But there’s, quite obviously, a ton I don’t know.

A thing I did not know until today: the NPB playoffs are really messed up.

The NPB is divided into two leagues, the Central and the Pacific, with the winner of each league facing off in the Japan Series. Like the U.S. majors, they have preliminary playoff rounds in each league. Each league has three playoff teams, with the second and third seed teams playing a series first, and the winner of that series playing the top seed — the team with the best record in the league — in what is called the Climax Series.

Here’s the weird part: the higher-seeded team in the Climax Series — the team which won the league in the regular season — gets every single playoff game at home. What’s more, that team begin the Climax Series with an automatic 1-0 advantage. So, yes, it’s a seven-game series on paper, but one of the teams only has to win three games to advance to the Japan Series.

Oh, in Japan, they also have no problems ending a playoff game early if it rains. That’s what happened in the Central League Climax Series last night, where the lower-seeded Yokohama BayStars took on the league champ Hiroshima Carp. Here’s the report from Jason Coskrey of The Japan Times:

The rainy conditions in Hiroshima caused the umpires to stop play for over 30 minutes and ultimately call the game after five innings, minutes after the Carp put three runs on the board. Just like that, it was over. The Carp won 3-0, with Yokohama robbed of the four innings (at least) it would’ve had to try and rally.

Even better: as Coskrey notes, there are five days in between the end of the Climax Series and the beginning of the Japan Series, so there is no reason they could not suspend a game and resume it the next day. They just choose not to. The upshot: the Carp now have a 2-0 series lead despite the fact that they’ve only played five innings of baseball.

Imagine if that happened in the NLCS. Imagine if the Dodgers began the series with a 1-0 lead over the Cubs and played all of their games in Los Angeles. Imagine there was a freak L.A. storm and it ended one of the game in the fifth inning, right after Justin Turner hit a homer. I’m pretty sure people would riot.

Kinda makes our complaints about the replay system seem rather quaint, eh?