Do you believe Javier Vazquez (pictured) has turned the corner? Some Yankee fans think he has and others are still skeptical.
Well see tonight as the Yankee righty (3-4, 6.69 ERA) opposes Minnesota righthander Nick Blackburn (5-1, 4.50).
After a hellacious start to the season, Vazquez has rebounded quite nicely. He allowed just one hit over six innings in his last start, a 2-1 win over the Mets at Citi Field on Friday. In his last 13 1/3 inning, he's allowed just two runs on six hits and four walks with 14 strikeouts.
Could his problems simply be in the Bronx? In his successful 13-year career, Vazquez is 145-143 with a 4.23 ERA. But at the old Yankee Stadium he was 9-6 with a 4.68 ERA in 18 starts, and he hasn't fared much better in the new Stadium with a 9.35 ERA in three appearances thus far this year. Javy insists the Bronx isn't the problem, but the numbers sure disagree.
He is 6-6 against the Twins in his career with a 5.11 ERA (the second highest against an American League foe other than the Yankees). Here are the current Twins' career numbers off him, led by Justin Morneau, who is 14-for-40 (.350) with six homers and 13 RBIs off the righty.
As for Blackburn, he leads Minnesota with five wins, including victories his last four starts. He's gone at least seven innings in all four, including a May 16 win over the Yankees. His recent hot streak comes after he took time away from the team due to a family emergency.
Said Blackburn to MLB.com: "It may have cleared my mind and helped me to relax."
Blackburn's had startling consistency in his first two full seasons in the majors, going 11-11 in 33 starts in 2008 and 2009. His ERA was 4.05 in '08 and 4.03 in '09. But he's hittable, as opponents are batting .303 off him this season.
Here are the Yankees' numbers off Blackburn, led by Mark Teixeira, who is 8-for-10 with a homer and six RBIs off him. Blackburn is 3-0 with a 3.49 ERA in four home starts.