Yankees’ Randy Vasquez shows promise with a good start in MLB debut

Yankees starter Randy Vasquez makes his MLB debut on May 26, 2023, against the Padres at Yankee Stadium.

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Facing the formidable Padres lineup in his MLB debut, Randy Vasquez and the Yankees were well aware of the challenge that awaited them on Friday. Despite putting up an impressive performance, Randy Vasquez’s near-flawless outing was marred in the fifth inning when Juan Soto connected with a cutter for a big hit.

Called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to temporarily replace Domingo Germán during his suspension, Randy Vasquez, a 24-year-old pitcher, showcased his skills effectively in his debut against a formidable Padres lineup. However, despite his solid performance, he received minimal backing from the Yankees’ offense, resulting in a 5-1 loss. On the other hand, Juan Soto’s second-deck blast served as the catalyst for the Padres’ early scoring, ultimately leading them to a commanding 5-1 victory in the opening game of the series.

However, despite the subsequent home run by Soto, Randy Vasquez received a warm reception from the crowd as he departed the game a few batters later. It was evident that the Yankees’ newest starter had performed admirably, showcasing his pitching prowess prior to Soto’s impressive long ball.

Randy Vasquez’s good start

The Yankees starter expressed his emotions and gratitude after his major league debut at Yankee Stadium. Through an interpreter, Randy Vasquez reflected on the experience, stating that as he warmed up and prepared to take the mound, he took a moment to appreciate the grandeur of Yankee Stadium. At that moment, he felt a rush of thoughts and emotions. Randy Vasquez also expressed his gratitude to God for the opportunity and acknowledged the tremendous support and assistance he received from his family, who played a significant role in helping him reach this milestone.

In his first major league appearance, Randy Vasquez displayed composure on the mound, despite having only nine starts in Triple-A under his belt. Over the course of 4.2 innings and 84 pitches, he allowed four hits, two earned runs, three walks, and recorded six strikeouts. Additionally, Vasquez unintentionally hit a batter during his outing.

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

According to bench coach Carlos Mendoza, who assumed managerial duties in place of the suspended Aaron Boone, Randy Vasquez showcased an impressive performance on the mound. Mendoza commended him for his strong outing, considering the circumstances of making his major league debut at Yankee Stadium on a Friday night, facing a formidable lineup. Mendoza noted that Randy Vasquez’s body language and presence on the mound were positive indicators of his composure and confidence.

Mendoza acknowledged that Randy Vasquez likely grew up as a fan, watching players like Fernando Tatis Jr. and Juan Soto excel in the game. Mendoza emphasized that it was impressive to see the latest Yankees starter, who idolized those players, now competing against them at the major league level. In Mendoza’s opinion, Randy Vasquez handled the situation admirably and demonstrated composure throughout the game.

In front of a lively crowd of 46,724, including his grandfather, uncles, and cousins, Randy Vasquez showcased his skills on the mound as summer approached and a holiday weekend kicked off. He effectively limited the opposing team to four hits during his 4 2/3 innings of work. He displayed good control by issuing three walks while striking out six batters, all while throwing a total of 84 pitches.

Randy Vasquez, hailing from the Dominican Republic just like Tatis Jr. and Soto, initially faced a challenging start in his debut as he issued two walks in the first inning. However, he managed to navigate through the trouble and quickly found his rhythm in the subsequent innings. It was a special occasion for Randy Vasquez as he pitched in his first Major League game, which also happened to be the first MLB game he ever attended. Adding to the significance of the moment, he had the support of his cousins, uncles, and his grandfather, who was celebrating his birthday on that Friday.

An emotional moment

Randy Vasquez expressed his emotions about the experience, describing it as an incredibly gratifying feeling to take the field for warm-up and preparation. He took a moment to soak in the atmosphere and appreciated the grandeur of Yankee Stadium, acknowledging its majestic presence. During that reflective moment, numerous thoughts raced through his mind, and he expressed his gratitude to God for granting him this opportunity. Randy Vasquez also acknowledged the immense support and assistance he received from his family throughout his journey, emphasizing their instrumental role in helping him reach this significant milestone.

As anticipated, following the game, the Yankees opted to return Randy Vasquez to Triple-A. Despite performing well overall, he made one notable error during the game. However, the Padres capitalized on their momentum and continued to showcase their power, this time targeting the second deck. Following Soto’s earlier home run to right field, Tatis Jr. contributed to the offensive onslaught by launching a two-run missile to the left side in the sixth inning, this time off Ron Marinaccio.

Despite a relatively solid performance by Randy Vasquez, he did make a significant error, which the Padres took advantage of. The Padres continued their assault on the second deck after Soto’s home run to right field. This time, it was Fernando Tatis Jr. who showcased his power, delivering a two-run blast off Ron Marinaccio in the sixth inning, targeting the left side.

Aaron Judge praised Randy Vasquez

Aaron Judge took the opportunity to reassure Randy Vasquez that the defeat was not solely his responsibility as a young pitcher following the Yankees’ loss. According to Yankees captain Aaron Judge, he had a conversation with the newest Yankees pitcher after the game, expressing that the responsibility for the loss falls on the offense rather than the young pitcher.

Judge acknowledged the challenge of facing a formidable lineup like the Padres and emphasized the importance of providing run support. He also mentioned his excitement about the upcoming young prospects who would contribute to the team in the coming years.

Following the conclusion of the game, Randy Vasquez was optioned to Triple-A. Notably, he becomes the 12th Yankees pitcher to make his starting debut in the last 16 seasons, starting from 2008. Prior to Vásquez, Jhony Brito made his debut as a starting pitcher earlier in the current season, with previous instances including Luis Gil in 2021 and Deivi García in 2020.

According to acting manager Carlos Mendoza, the Yankees have been keeping a close eye on Randy Vasquez since last year when he was playing in Double-A. They had the opportunity to observe him during Spring Training as well. Mendoza acknowledged that it is a challenging task for a rookie pitcher to make his first appearance in a Major League game, especially against a formidable lineup. However, he expressed his satisfaction with how Randy Vasquez handled the situation, considering the circumstances.

The Yankees are currently in the midst of a streak of three consecutive losses. Their next opportunity to break this streak will come on Saturday when Luis Severino takes the mound for his second start of the season.

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