With two outs in the bottom of the eighth and a tied score of 3-3, Hafner was called in to pinch hit. And one pitch was all he needed, as Hafner hit a solo shot to put the Yankees ahead and on to win, 4-3.
I have fallen in a lot of like with this makeshift Yankees team, a far cry from my Spring Training anxieties just a month ago.
Now the question remains, will I still like them tomorrow?
Well that is up to Phil Hughes, who will be on the bump tonight.
Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows my frustration with Hughes, but it is not unwarranted like many Yankees fans believe.
Hughes’ win numbers masks his mediocrity, as he finished 18-8 in 2010, and 16-13 in 2012.
Whether fans do not know or choose to ignore it is a fact that Hughes has benefited from massive run support.
In 2009, 14 of his 18 wins came when the Yankee bats scored 6+ runs. And last season, 10 wins came courtesy of his teammates hot bats. Combine those seasons together, and Hughes technically earned 10 solid wins when five or less runs scored.
The Yankees are still in complete denial about Hughes, as skipper Joe Girardi and GM Brain Cashman thoughts are still clouded with the 18-wins stats.
Personally, I am not deeming Hughes a total loss because he has had his moments but they are just few and far between.
So far Hughes has picked up right where he left off last season, and things keep getting worse.
In two starts, he has gone 0-2, throwing a total of seven innings, giving up 17 hits, nine runs and three homers with an ERA just shy of 11.00.
Both times Hughes complete ineffectiveness ends up depleting the Yankees bullpen, as they wind up pitching for five or more innings.
Mind you, Hughes had not faced lived big league hitters all Spring Training as he was suffering from a bulging disk in his back.
Hughes was in the airport heading to make a rehab start or two in Triple A when Girardi called. The Yankees skipper told Hughes he was going to start vs. the Tigers the next day instead.
That didn’t seem so smart considering Hughes is so injury prone. He basically had no Spring Training to warm-up his arm, or a minor league start before facing the bats of Tigers Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera.
Hughes will come through tonight, right?
This game marks Hughes third start of his seventh season in the majors, and it is time for him to win.
Problem is I am not the Yankees manager, and Girardi still has his Hughes blinders on. Basically, Hughes can only lose his rotation spot on his own accord, like if he gets hurt.
Yankees Stadium + Hughes = a power hitter’s pipe dream; particularly a righty.
I am not fine with the idea of Hughes walking Goldschmidt the first time through. That is only because Hughes is usually his sharpest in the first inning.
Here are Hughes career stats vs. the active Diamondback hitters, it is a small sample size but still it never hurts to check things out. All stats come courtesy of baseball-reference.com.
Stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com.
The bottom-line here is that Hughes is the bottom-line, if that makes any sense.