By the end of the fifth inning last night, the Yankees had hit five home runs to jump out to a 10-1 lead over the Blue Jays, the team leading the majors in homers by quite some margin. Mark Teixeira and Jorge Posada collected four hits (including a home run) each; Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter, and Marcus Thames also went deep; and Dustin Moseley earned his fourth win with six solid innings. It really wasn’t much of a contest.
More interesting, perhaps, was Joe Girardi’s pregame announcement that Monday’s starter, Ivan Nova, will stay in the rotation for its next turn, and Javier Vazquez will, for now, pitch out of the bullpen. (We hate to bring up 2004, but it’s hard not to remember his second-half struggles from that year when he’s been pitching to a 6.69 ERA since the All-Star break and a 8.10 ERA in August.) For now, Girardi’s not saying what he’ll do beyond the next turn through the rotation, though he did mention that skipping Vazquez earlier in the season “kick-started” him.
He did, however, hint that Vazquez could be used to keep Phil Hughes’s innings limit down, either by skipping the young righty at some point or by lifting him from a game early. Vazquez will be available tonight out of the bullpen, and sure enough, Phil Hughes gets the start. The Yankees, who skipped Hughes once back in June, have said all along that they have a plan for Hughes. So perhaps phase two of that plan begins tonight.