Tag: Esmerling Vasquez

Minnesota Twins: Pitcher Esmerling Vasquez Improving, but Is It Enough?

A three-strikeout first inning of Friday’s game indicated that Minnesota Twins starter Esmerling Vasquez had figured out his control problems and was going to go deep into the game.

A three-walk fourth revealed that the control problems are still there.

“He just kinda misfired,” said manager Ron Gardenhire after the 6-0 loss.

“He tried to get them to chase some pitches and they laid off some pretty decent pitches, close pitches, but ultimately he ends up walking in a run.”

Vasquez hit Chicago White Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis with a pitch in the first inning, a harbinger for things to come that night.

“He made some pitches,” continued the manager, “got through it.”

The pitcher already has 12 walks and only eight strikeouts in his 14-inning career with the Twins.

A 9-6 record (2.78 ERA) in Rochester, where he had a 98-to-39 K/BB ration, merited a call-up in September, but it’s hard to see him sticking with the team next season.

True, there are still five open spots in the rotation next season and putting the Carl Pavano and Scott Baker situations aside (and assuming Nick Blackburn won’t be back) it’s a rat race to see which pitchers will earn major league starts next season.

Scott Diamond is the most likely candidate to get a spot next season.

His second-half numbers have dropped off a bit (since being ejected in Texas he’s only pitched seven innings one time in three starts), but his early numbers indicate he should have a spot in the rotation for years to come.

For Sam Deduno it’s all about controlling that crazy fastball. If he can keep the walk rate low, that’s a dangerous pitch. If not, he’ll be in Triple-A next season.

Cole De Vries had a string of three straight wins going before snapping a rib in his last start. The local kid is likely to get a long look during spring training next season.

After that it’s hard to tell.

P.J. Walters showed some promise early in the year but got lit up in his last two starts since coming off the disabled list, and Liam Hendriks has yet to earn a win in the major leagues.

That left the door open for Vasquez, but it’s hard to see him stepping through it.

The Dominican pitcher topped 100 pitches in the sixth inning of Friday’s contest and didn’t seem to have any control after the first. Toward the end of his outing, he actually bounced a pitch to Konerko.

Kyle Waldrop replaced him with two outs in the sixth after A.J. Pierzynski hit a single off of him and he walked Dayan Viciedo.

“Today I feel much better,” said Vasquez. “I was more confident in my stuff today and I stayed more aggressive and used more pitches.”

“He used all of his pitches: his breaking ball and his changeup and his fastball and got through six innings.

“That was way better than last time and improvement’s what we’re looking for.”

There certainly has been some improvement, but it’s hard to see Vasquez cracking the Opening Day roster next year.


All quotes were obtained first-hand.

Tom Schreier writes a weekly column for TheFanManifesto.com.


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Add a “Walk-Off Balk” to The List Of Ways The D’backs Lose Games in 2010

A bad bullpen was something most Diamondbacks are unfortunately used to watching—the unit has an ERA over 6.00 and is unarguably the worst bullpen in all of baseball.

With a bad bullpen, there are a lot of ways for a team to lose and choke in a game with a strong lead—but did anyone really expect a “walk-off balk” for a way the D’backs could lose another game?

Well, I certainly am disappointed, but I really can’t say I’m surprised.

With the game tied 4-4 in the ninth inning, Diamondbacks reliever Esmerling Vasquez balked home the game-winning run after being—take key note on this—”distracted” by the Dodgers’ Casey Blake, who was “dancing” off of third base.

Yes, the Diamondbacks lost a game because their relief pitcher got “distracted” by a player on 3rd, causing a “balk” which sent the team to their 8th straight loss. Sounds very Little League eh?

A “walk-off balk” is a rare feat, according to STATS Inc, it was the first one of its kind since 2008 when Colorado’s Taylor Bucholtz balked home current Diamondback Kelly Johnson. Meanwhile for the storied Dodgers, it was the second time since 1969 the team had one on a “walk-off balk,” and the first since the Mets’ Roger McDowell balked home a run in 1989.

This unfortunately is the kind of baseball us Diamondback fans (or at least the one’s that still consider themselves “fans”) are reduced to watching—and this unfortunately is what we will be stuck with for the rest of the Summer.

The team’s lack of hitting so far this year (Arizona went 13-91 in a 3-game series in San Francisco against the Giants over the weekend), along with the dismal and embarrassingly terrible bullpen has been a recipe for disaster.

However, losing a game on a balk has got to top all those blown leads, bullpen meltdowns, 3-57 slumps in the batter’s box, and all the other rubbish baseball us Diamondback fans have been subjected to this season.

Seriously, a walk-off balk after being distracted by Casey Blake on 3rd? That occurring in the Major Leagues? You have got to be kidding me.

I know I probably shouldn’t be making fun of a Major League pitcher, as I myself will never come close to playing in a baseball league of some sort—but for a guy who is being paid by a franchise struggling for cash to lose a game on a “balk” due to a distraction from a runner, this is just plain rubbish from what we supposedly call a “Major Leaguer.”

You have got to be kidding me.

This easily has to be one of the most embarrassingly-bad moments for this franchise, even though the whole 2004 season may have a say in that.

From a team that won a World Series in just their 4th year of experience, a team that was for a while during the 2007 season “baseball’s model franchise”—all of those moments of goodwill have been easily eclipsed by this awful play and it is now something that has changed my perception of the Diamondback franchise. 

That’s how bad things have gotten in Phoenix.

And somehow, I do feel we will see worse losses from the D’backs as the season rolls on, this team has “1962 Mets” written all over it. Well maybe they won’t finish with a 42-120 record like the Mets did that year, but I’m sure they have the potential to be that bad.


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