The Chicago Sun-Times’ Greg Couch found Tampa’s 6-4 dispatch of the White Sox in Game One of the ALDS thoroughly dispiriting (“the sheer joy surrounding this team, beating three teams in three thrilling days to get here, is gone”), finding a sliver of comic relief in Orlando Cabrera’s tÃªte-Ã -tÃªte with Grant Balfour (“Cabrera looked like a guy daring someone to punch him in the chin…ten seconds later, he’s lying on the floor with a broken jaw) and a definitive goat in Javier Vazquez (above), declaring the right-hander “never can pitch for the Sox again.”
A great pitcher from the neck down s not a great pitcher at all. He™s not usable in any important game. He has a courage problem ” he doesn™t have any. He keeps getting paid millions because he has a golden arm. The hope is always that he™ll toughen up, but he never does.
He gave up six runs in 4ž innings, including two home runs to Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay™s leader. Longoria, a rookie, homered the first two times he swung in his first playoff game. He is the second player in history to homer in his first two postseason at-bats. The other?
Babe Ruth? Hank Aaron? Barry Bonds?
No, Gary Gaetti. He was Longoria™s Class AAA hitting coach.
They don™t keep records on such things, but I™m sure another one was broken on Longoria™s second homer. Vazquez threw the worst pitch ever thrown in big-league history.
It was a hanging, floating curveball that never bothered to begin curving.
I tried to put him to the test by asking this: Do you consider yourself a big-game pitcher?
˜˜I haven™t had a lot of big-game opportunities besides the Yankees and here,™™ he said.
Can you imagine any athlete answering that question without using the word yes?