Javier Vazquez, Retaliation

When It’s Clearly Not Intentional

Javier Vazquez hit three batters in a row last night against the Rays, and didn’t draw a peep of protest.

Why? Well, despite decent control (he’d previously hit only four batters this season, over nearly 150 innings), Vazquez isn’t good right now.

Also, because he’s been demoted to the bullpen and desperately needed a good outing.

Also, because he’s in danger of not making the playoff roster, let alone the starting rotation.

Also, because two of the pitches in question were breaking balls, one at 67 mph, and the other thrown softly enough that it bounced off the helmet of Kelly Shoppach and didn’t even stagger him.

Also, because the first two HBPs (Desmond Jennings and Willie Aybar) followed a leadoff walk to Ben Zobrist, so the third HBP (Shoppach) drove in a run. (Watch it here.)

Clearly, this wasn’t what Vazquez had in mind.

He became the first Yankee to hit three straight batters, and only the eighth player in history to do so. (Jeff Weaver did it last, pitching for the Dodgers in 2004.)

How do we know the Rays didn’t take it personally? Alex Rodriguez led off the following inning for New York; despite Tampa Bay’s 10-3 lead (a perfect situation for retaliation, if that’s what one’s after), reliever Mike Ekstrom put his first pitch over the plate, and A-Rod grounded to short.

Discussion over.

– Jason

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