Lady Loves Pinstripes Lady Loves Pinstripes Lady Loves Pinstripes

New York Yankees: Hughes Improves And Joba Rules In Walk-off Win

Arriving in first place, only to leave in second is just what the New York Yankees hoped to do to Buck Showalter’s Baltimore Orioles. Winning Wednesday tied the teams atop the AL East; but beating the O’s for a second night in a row put the Yankees back on top.

The Orioles came in to the Bronx playing good baseball. It was the first time in nano-years where the O’s only chance to win wasn’t completely dependent on the Yankees beating themselves. Truth is that Buck’s Birds were now deemed good enough to beat the Evil Empire on their own merit.

Or at least that is what Showalter’s presence made you believe; unfortunately his Birds came in with their wings between their legs.

Following AJ Burnett posting his third win on the season, which puts him one ahead of the Red Sox, the shaky Phil Hughes was slated to take the bump. This time the Yankees were ready after Hughes’ implosion in Fenway last weekend.

Regarding Hughes, he got away with one tonight, but let’s not forget that baseball is a team sport and picking up the slack is a satisfying example of just that.

This does not at all mean that Hughes can take his darn old time or that the team will be able to do this every fifth day. All it did was earn Hughes another start; at least that is what I would presume.

The bullpen performances’ of Bartolo Colon and Joba Chamberlain were as close to perfect as anyone could ask for.

Joba looked dynamite, like 2007 bug-game style, retiring all five batters he faced; and tagging out a runner from scoring at home. Joba had that fierce look in his eyes, taking complete control of what happened and it was nice to finally see that fire again.

Colon and Joba’s determination went viral in the Yankees dugout, as the bats responded immediately with Posada going yard to tie the game at 5-5 and the great one, Mariano Rivera holding the O’s at bay to give the Yankee bats a chance to win in extra innings.

It didn’t take long, as in the 10th inning; Yankees Universe got to see the first 2011 (of hopefully many) Burnett walk-off pies slam into the game’s hero Nick Swisher. The Yankees will take it as who doesn’t’ love the walk-off win?

Hughes’ outing was a tad better, not like that was very hard. The 24-year-old is barely keeping his head above water but is still treading. Many will say that Hughes’ performance is getting masked because he got so much help, but the team won and once that is final, the how doesn’t really matter much.

This is the perfect way for the Yankees to head into an 2010 ALCS re-match with the Texas Ranger this weekend, especially for the team that is looking to taste some sweet revenge.

Enhanced by Zemanta

New York Yankees: The Phil Hughes Solution

New York Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes is not having the season he or the Yankees were hoping for so far in 2011. Check out the odds for MLB

In his first two starts Hughes has a combined 16.50 ERA, pitching a total of six innings. In his most recent outing, Hughes was yanked in the second after the struggling Boston Red Sox scored five earned runs.

Even more concerning is that Hughes only had one strikeout in both outings combined, facing 33 batters total. Hughes also gave up 11 earned runs, three home-runs and four walks.

The Yankees have lost both of Hughes starts, as he has put the team into such a big hole very early in both games. This undoubtedly leads the Yankees to depleting their bullpen; and mentally sending in a pitcher mid-inning, down five runs is not very encouraging for anyone.

So, what should the Yankees do if Hughes implodes for the third time against the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night?

First, let me state the fact that the Orioles are not leading the AL East right now because of their bats, as the team’s batting average is only a .216. This gives the opposing pitcher an advantage already.

So, if Hughes doesn’t improve in this game against a weak line-up, changes are going to have to be made soon, if not immediately.

There are a few options, but the most rational solution that the Yankees must be start thinking about is:

How or where would be the best place for Hughes to work on getting his stuff back?

Logically, when you think where Hughes was most successful the answer would be the bullpen.

When Hughes was moved from the rotation to a reliever role mid-2009, it changed the Yankees season. From the moment his role transformed, Hughes’ mindset naturally followed. His fastball hang-ups vanished, as was proved when his velocity spiked.

This gave Hughes his confidence back after struggling as a rookie and the move played a significant part in the team getting to the 2009 World Series.

Imagine how unstable this 24-year-old is now. He is coming off an All-Star season, where he posted an 18-8 record to now be unable to do anything.

Yes, the second half of 2010 Hughes’ numbers started declining. His strikeouts went from 91 in the first half to 55 in the second and batters went from hitting .239 against him to a .250 following the All-Star break.

It was a slip, but nowhere nearly as bad because at least he could still get the team some wins.

If Hughes went back to the bullpen, he could be an efficient long-man and it might be the best chance for him to just let loose again.

Hughes needs to work on perfecting a third pitch because in all honesty, many pitchers have had successful careers with a 85-89 mph fastball because they had other pitches to get guys out with.

With Hughes, hitters know his fastball is coming regardless of its speed because he only has one other pitch. That is a breaking ball that never is thrown for a strike.

Batters tend to sit on Hughes and just wait for his fastball to come. Hughes fastball is lacking any command, as it is straight, flat and easy to hit. Tigers Miguel Cabrera is the perfect example proving this by hitting two homers off Hughes in his two at-bats.

Hughes has to work on his curve ball and get some self-assurance about throwing; something he seemed to be starting to do last season until he lost total command of it in the playoffs.

Otherwise, he won’t be a worthwhile starter. I doubt some miracle spike in speed will happen to his fastball, at least one that will stick long term.

If Hughes is hurting at all let’s just hope he is not masking it, which the kid would never do intentionally. It is part of human nature, which allows for sometimes-minor pain to get overlooked when under stress.

I know that veteran pitchers, like AL Leiter claim that Hughes needs to continue to get his pitch count up to get his velocity back. If anyone knows it would be Leiter, who also knows just as well that the team cannot take continual losses until Hughes fixes himself. Continue reading ‘New York Yankees: The Phil Hughes Solution’ »

New York Yankees: Phil Hughes To Face The New Baltimore Orioles?

The New York Yankees had their second game of 2011 postponed due to rain, last week it was the Minnesota Twins and now the first game against the Baltimore Orioles has to reschedule.

It has been confirmed that the pitching match-ups will be the same just a day later.

So, AJ Burnett will take the hill against Chris Tillman tonight, which moves Phil Hughes to Thursday who will face the O’s Jake Arrieta.

My preview of Burnett vs. Tillman stays the same; the only difference being the date, but I still think Burnett will get his third win…. read it HERE.

Moving along to the second match-up featuring Hughes and Arrieta is one that Yankee Universe will be watching closely and I think we all know why.


It is no secret that Hughes has been a mess in his first two starts. Only pitching six innings in total, Hughes has allowed 12 hits, 11 earned runs, three homers, with just one strikeout and an ERA of 16.50.

Hughes’ drop in velocity and loss of command is still a mystery, meaning that the Yankees cannot figure out how to fix him.

There are many possibilities as to why, but it seems like Hughes is suffering from a dead arm and he needs to re-build up his arm strength.

Unfortunately, this is happening more frequently to young pitchers who get overworked. Problem is a lot of the time it is occupied by injury. Hughes has not complained of any ailments yet, as he would not be starting if that were the case.

The only positive heading into Hughes’ start is the rain.

Why? Let me explain.

Moving Hughes from Wednesday to Thursday presumably means that Ivan Nova’s start will get bumped to Saturday. Only because CC Sabathia is slated for Friday night and Yankees skipper Joe Girardi knows that the team’s ace needs to go every five days no matter what.

Sabathia will throw 110 pitches on a bad day, so it gives Girardi more options the night before out of the bullpen in case Hughes implodes again. My guess is Girardi will not keep Hughes in the game if more then two runs score in any of the first three innings.

The Orioles are surely aware of the Hughes situation and without question will come out swinging on Thursday night.


Hopefully, the Yankees bats will do the same against the O’s Arrieta to relieve some pressure off their struggling teammate.

Arrieta is another youngster at 25-years-old, who has had limited, but a successful two starts against the Yankees in 2010.  The last time he beat out Sabathia on September 12th and held the Yankees to just two runs, over just shy of seven innings pitched.

Arrieta’s first two starts this season were like night and day, with the latest being a total disaster in the O’s loss to the Tigers. Arrieta got clipped giving up eight earned runs in just three innings.

Arrieta knows that can’t happen against New York’s line-up. Whether Arrieta can take the pressures of throwing in the Bronx, along with knowing how much skipper Buck Showalter wants to win these games is something we all will have to wait to find out until it happens. Continue reading ‘New York Yankees: Phil Hughes To Face The New Baltimore Orioles?’ »

New York Yankees AJ Burnett vs. Buck’s Birds aka Baltimore Orioles

The New York Yankees did not have the best weekend up in Boston, as the Red Sox took two of three from their bitter rivals; but it also was the team’s first two wins of the season.

Yankees ace CC Sabathia was not at this best, but he still did his job allowing just one run to score. The Red Sox loaded up with players on base in all six innings that Sabathia pitched, but even a hampered CC is good enough to put his team in winning position.

The pitching wasn’t the issue, as Boston’s Josh Beckett performance was surreal and the Yankees looked shell-shocked, making contact with the ball just twice.

Up Next the Yankees will host the first place Baltimore Orioles (no that is not a typo) for a three game set in the Bronx.

AJ Burnett will face Orioles youngster Chris Tillman, so let’s break down this match-up between these AL East leading teams.


Burnett will take the bump for the Bombers, looking for this third win on the season. Burnett has always been nerve-racking to watch, even before his dreadful 2010 numbers. Burnett worked hard to fix himself in the off-season and so far it has paid off.

Some of the credit easily goes to Yankees new pitching coach Larry Rothschild, who seems to have earned the pitcher’s trust from the start and is a perfect fit in the Bronx.

So, am I worried about Burnett?

Actually, I feel good about Burnett but he can’t win if the Yankee bats don’t hit again.

In Sunday’s embarrassment, the team was sans A-rod who statistically has proven to be the nucleus of the Bomber’s line-up. When A-rod was on the DL the bats were dormant. Ironically, it was against the O’s in 2010 when A-rod hit a first pitch bomb and it was a rising from the dead, as everyone started hitting again.

Is A-rod still sick?

Well, when I saw Mr. Rodriguez yesterday with Ms. Diaz drinking lattes in mid-town he looked fine, so hopefully he is playing.

The rest of the Yankee brass need to join A-rod and Cano at the party, who along with new additions, Russell Martin, Eric Chavez and Andruw Jones have saved the ball club from absolute embarrassment.

To sum-it-up…. whatever Jeter is doing isn’t working; Tex is back in April; Gardner in the lead-off is not working out that well; Swisher needs to start to swish the ball out of the park; and Posada is still adjusting to his new role, which is the DH in case he forgot.

Burnett has to keep his eye on O’s Brian Roberts, who in 50 career at-bats against Burnett has three double, three homers, 10 RBIs and 15 hits total. Also, Felix Pie and Adam Jones tend to either hit Burnett or strikeout, pending on which AJ is throwing. Well, now it’s the new AJ so I think he will win these battles.


O’s skipper Buck Showalter is sending 22-year-old Chris Tillman to the mound. Tillman shined brightly down in the minors, but the transition has not been easy and 2011 has not been any better. Continue reading ‘New York Yankees AJ Burnett vs. Buck’s Birds aka Baltimore Orioles’ »

New ERA’s Hilarious Commercial: Team Baldwin or Team Krasinski

New ERA hit the nail on the head with this hilarious commercial featuring Alec Baldwin and John Krasinski.

It is already a classic as far as I am concerned and if you didn’t know, TEAM BALDMIN member here.

You can choose yourself between Team Baldwin or Team Krasinski at New ERA’s RIVALS ARE FOREVER website.

If you don’t believe me, just watch it yourself:

(Yes, you are welcome.)


Enhanced by Zemanta

New York Yankees: Signing Carlos Silva Just In Case

Following a horrible Spring Training, the Chicago Cubs released pitcher Carlos Silva despite owing him $11.5 million bucks.

Well, MLB Trade Rumors reports that Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated tweeted that Silva has now found a new home with the New York Yankees who signed Silva to a minor league deal with an in-season opt-out.

Two things come to mind:

  1. 1) The state of Phil Hughes.
  2. 2) The risk that comes with picking up a player, like Silva who another team is willing to pay $11.5 million to basically get out.

The second situation is very low risk because GM Brian Cashman is not dumb enough to pay any kind of real money for a pitcher with Silva’s reputation, as the Cubs will still be writing the checks. Also, a minor league deal doesn’t hog a roster spot and if Silva cops any attitude about the situation he is free to leave.

What does this mean for Hughes?

Well, Hughes went from bad to worse in his second start against the Red Sox. Hughes’ velocity is way down making his fastball very hittable. Unfortunately, the worst scenario seems to be coming true as Hughes looks to be suffering from a dead arm.

A drop in velocity is not uncommon in young pitchers following their first or second full seasons.

One theory blames the change in habits or practice. Going from a program based on building arm strength by incorporating a long-toss program to the demands of a major league workload can be too much for some young arms. In the bigs they need to rest their arms in between starts and should be on limited throwing programs in the off-season.

Hughes threw a ton this off-season; basically missed a season when he was in the bullpen back in 2009 and at the end of 2010 you could see Hughes was struggling.

Giving up five earned runs in the second inning against the Boston Red Sox, Hughes became way to risky to leave in the game a minute longer. I didn’t see him throw one curveball and his change-up was a mess. Throwing an 88 mph fastball/cutter, with no command and no secondary pitches is not enough to be effective. Continue reading ‘New York Yankees: Signing Carlos Silva Just In Case’ »