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.
Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.
Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.
Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.
Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.