Never take the talent of Major League ballplayers for granted. Some players put up poor statistics or look overmatched and yet they are still better than but a fraction of the playing-world’s population. That’s how crazy this game is. The most horrific and heart-bending scene is when a player loses it – ‘it’ being any resemblance of a grip on his talent – during a game. Right there, naked in front of the world.
I’m not sure that Javier Vazquez lost it last night, but he forced the issue. He settled down and his final line looks respectable: three innings, one hit, two earned runs, two walks, three strikeouts, and the highlighted number in the column: three hit batsmen. During his first inning, Vazquez was straight-up pyridine, possessing flammable and odorous qualities reserved for a colorless liquid, like the sweat beads dripping down his face and stinging his vision.
Trailing by six in the seventh inning, the Yankees held a win expectancy under 5% when Vazquez entered. He walked Ben Zobrist on six pitches- not an unusual result. He then hit Desmond Jennings’ numbers with an erred curveball. Willy Aybar would then take a ball to the shin to load the bases. A pitch later, a blundering curve that never stood a chance of crossing the plate hit Kelly Shoppach in the upper back. Just like that, a run scored.
At that moment, the television cameras began to focus on Jay Z leaving the stadium. The image of which caused a startling juxtaposition between the humored, if not enthralled, rap mogul and the enthralled, if not humored, mound gull. Dan Johnson took advantage of Vazquez’s misfortune with a sac fly into right field, allowing a runner to score. B.J. Upton walked, and then, well, then Vazquez did something completely unexpected. Recorded an out, yes, but via strikeout. Carl Crawford followed with a catchable flyball to right field.
Vazquez headed off to regain his breath and spirit after avoiding a complete meltdown.