The always opinionated Curt Schilling was at it again yesterday, this time with our very own Javier Vazquez in his cross hairs. Appearing on ESPN radio’s Colin Cowherd show yesterday, he made some comments addressing Javier Vazquez’s slow start in pinstripes, and brought up some commonly heard tags on Javier that I think don’t hold much water. Here’s what he said, courtesy of the Daily News:
“I never, ever thought the move to New York the first time was a good one, and I didn’t think this (move) was good as well. I don’t think he suddenly learned how to pitch when he went back to Atlanta and dealt last year,” Schilling said. “It’s hard to say this without sounding disrespectful, and I don’t mean it that way – the National League is an easier league to pitch in, period, and some guys aren’t equipped to get those same outs in the American League. And he’s one of those guys.”
“(Vazquez) thrived in Montreal and he thrived in Atlanta, and those are both second-tier cities from a baseball passion perspective. He’s not a guy that I’ve ever felt was comfortable in the glow,” Schilling said. “… You’re seeing what you’re gonna get from him consistently all year. Having said that, he could turn around next week and throw a one-hitter with his stuff. I just don’t see him being a consistent winner in the American League.“
Finally, onto the ‘can’t pitch in the glow’ nonsense. Refresh my memory, but didn’t he pitch well in the first half of the season back in 2004? Wasn’t that in New York? He did, he went 10-5 with a 3.56 ERA and a 1.154 WHIP. His SO/BB rate was almost 3-1 and he gave up just 105 Hits in 118.2 IP. He was so good, he was named to the All-Star team that year. He wasn’t just bad in the playoffs and World Series that year, he was equally bad for the entire 2nd half, when he says he was pitching hurt. Also, its important to remember that when he gave up the famous Johnny Damon blast, the runners on base were Kevin Brown’s, not his. He was working out of the bullpen in a situation that he had rarely done before, in what was a desperation move by manager Joe Torre, who regrets starting Brown to this day. I’m sure Curt would hate to have his entire career summed up by one bad pitch, yet that’s precisely what he’s doing to Javier.
All of that being said, I don’t doubt that Javier’s confidence is down right now. He’s had trouble getting into a groove so far this year and his results have been horrendous. But he’s been too good of a pitcher for too long not to snap out of it eventually. As an ex-pitcher, you would think that Curt should understand that.