New York Yankees: Hughes you are far from complete New York Yankees: Hughes you are far from complete New York Yankees: Hughes you are far from complete
 

New York Yankees: Hughes you are far from complete

Phil Hughes during pregame warmups prior to a ...

Phil Hughes during pregame warmups prior to a game between the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles on August 29, 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday afternoon, in Detroit, New York Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes took the hill in the rubber match vs. Tigers ace Justin Verlander.

The Yankee bats got to the reigning AL CY Young and MVP winner quickly, as Derek Jeter hit a homer off the first pitch of the game.

A-rod followed with a solo shot in the third, and in the fifth Granderson and Cano joined the RBI party with a double and a triple to lead the Yankees to a 5-1 win.

Hughes fanned eight Tigers, gave up four hits, one earned run and walked three in his first complete, nine inning game.

No doubt this was a solid afternoon for Hughes but still not a convincing one.

First of all you have to consider the opponent, and the 2012 Tigers are a far cry from their 2011 counterparts. Everyone under the sun thought the Tigers would own the AL Central but now to say they are underperforming is an understatement.

Currently the Tigers sit four games under .500, and are 6 games behind the division leading White Sox and 3.5 behind the Indians. This has come as a total shock to baseball experts and fans everywhere.

So, this has to be taken into account when assessing Hughes’ complete game. Yes, it is a nice accomplishment but in this case a rare one and nothing else. Yankee fans and New York media have a tendency to inflate everything when it comes to Hughes, and it is time to be realistic.

Hughes only proved he is consistent and content with doing one thing, throwing his fastball. Out of 123 total pitches, 97 were fastballs.

Until Hughes starts to trust and incorporate his off-speed stuff into the mix, he will never beat good teams and win tight games. Yes, yesterday his fastball worked but not because he did anything differently.

Look at Hughes pitch locations from his last two starts:

Angels on the left and Tigers on the right, all charts are courtesy of BrooksBaseball.net.

Hughes last 2 starts - courtesy of Brooks Baseball

So this complete game doesn’t make Hughes any more effective, just timely and lucky.

Reality is this Tigers team is far–removed from being a playoff contending team and haven’t given any reasons to think that would change.

So take this as a warning before you go campaigning for Hughes to win the CY Young, or even start singing his praises like he is the real deal and just wait.

Just wait and see if Hughes starts to execute at a high level over his next few starts because this was the same Hughes just different situation.

Hughes will continue to falter but because everyone allows his too.

Having a selective memory when it comes to Hughes not only hurts not only him, but also the Yankees as a team.

Just a week ago, Wallace Matthews of ESPN reported that skipper Joe Girardi stated that Hughes was, “going to have to throw” his off-speed stuff if he was to have any success as a starter; so my question is could this outing actually stunt Hughes even more?

I guess time will tell…but if history proves anything Hughes will continue to blow-up against good, playoff contending batting line-ups.

THE ROADTRIP:

Overall the Yankees had a successful trip out West going 6-3. The Bombers are now back in the Bronx to start a crucial three-game set against the first-place Tampa Bay Rays, followed by the first Subway Series in 2012 vs. the hot Mets. All I can say is rest up today boys, you got a big week coming up.

17 Comments

  1. swedski says:

    Stop ragging Hughes! He had a great day. Cabrerra killed pitchers for two days and Hughes shut him down. Giove the guy credit.

  2. jose says:

    let him have his day! he pitched like what the yanks have been waiting for since that near no hitter where he tweaked his hammy. against a super ace, its at least encouragement that he can change things, but he does have to trust the breaking ball more. when its more of a 1:1 fastball to breaker ratio, he has ace potential.

  3. iaguy says:

    Everyone gets that you have a crush on Hughes, but this isn't the first grade and you don't have to be mean to him so he knows you like him. Just tweet him or whatever it is you people do. He took the mound opposite a true ace and threw 9 solid. There are plenty of teams who would love for their backend starters to be able to do that. From your own pitch graphs, his release point is consistent and it looks like he is spotting his fastball where he wants it. As he gains confidence in his fastball, the breaking stuff will come.

  4. coolnewyorker says:

    Some people just don’t know when to shut up.

    A complete game nowadays is a rare exceptional achievement… against any team.

    “Hughes fanned eight Tigers, gave up four hits, one earned run and walked three in his first complete, nine inning game.”

    That’s it. Shut up.

  5. Hotdog says:

    No one sees him as a Cy Young contender. Yes, he needs to work in his off speed stuff but he needs to rely on his fastball when he needs too. The Tigers are a good hitting team missing some parts. Ask Miguel Cabrera how he felt about Phil Hughes last night. If he's our number 5 pitcher, he's doing an admirable job.

    • LLP says:

      Hotdog….Hughes is are #3 pitcher; Nova is are #5. If you have to choose between Nova or Hughes to pitch in a do or die game where a playoff berth was on the line for the Yankees, who would you choose????

      I would pick Nova any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

  6. coolnewyorker says:

    Now, what has become an oddly bewildering relentless malapropos mouthing from Kate, "Well, brace yourselves Yankee fans, as Hughes will face Tigers ace Justin Verlander this Sunday in Detroit; and this one could get really ugly, really fast"

    Yep, it did get really ugly, really fast…for Justin, not Phil.

    Luckily for the Tiger ace (three losses in a row, mind you), Kate is not a Justin basher. Just Phil's. After a spectacular complete game win, she is still bashing him. Goof grief!

    • LLP says:

      You are right coolnewyorker…..Hughes got lucky and Verlander was totally off, Jeter even said it after the game that his command was a mess.

      Please do not act like what I wrote was so off-base about Verlander….he is the 2011 MVP and CY Young Award winner and anyone would choose him over Hughes, as they shouldn't be in the same sentence ot be honest. Find me one other prediction that choose Phil Hughes to best Justin Verlander and I will give you free tickets to Hughes next start.

  7. Richard Griffith says:

    Congrats Kate,

    You managed to outdo yourself this time. Your use of those 2 scatter plots reveal more about you than Hughes. The Detroit plot shows more Vertical/Horizontal tilt than the Angles game which is what you want. The release point plot actually proves nothing, just like your article.

    • LLP says:

      RIchard – the scatter plots are almost identical. Hughes threw more pitches against Tigers so more points marked. He actually pitched better vs. the Halos if you want to get really technical.

  8. richard griffith says:

    Are you sure you are a Yankee fan?

    Tigers are not a playoff team ? I'm so glad you know who all the playoff teams are after 1/3 of the season. Are the Rays? They are hitting .236 lower than Seattle. Oh it's the Rays pitching. But Hughes faces a teams hitters, and Detroit has underperformed but is in the middle of the pack in runs scored. It's their pitching that has not performed.

  9. coolnewyorker says:

    As Phil’s basher, Kate in her defense has been non-pretentious in her “not a fan of Hughes” status.

    In contrast, Derek’s bashers were indefensibly contemptuous squirming behind their last seasons mid-April declaration, “I am a Jeter’s fan but…”

    Point is, bashing is never appropriate…at any time, against anyone. It is cruel…and abusively tasteless.

    • LLP says:

      I am not a "Phil Hughes Basher"….I am just being realistic. Yes Hughes had a great day vs. the Tigers but you have to take into account his recent history and the opponent because of his inconsistency. Hughes was frightening against the Halos, and if you look at his pitching rX he didn't change anything like he claimed after the Tigers game. That is NOT good, but Hughes gets away with everything for some reason.
      I was a huge Hughes fan until he showed up out of shape and overweight to Spring Training in 2011. It just speaks volumes of Hughes character, as it was not his first season it was his fourth and it cost him the season, plus it hurt the team too.
      I do not think Hughes works hard enough but that is not only his fault as the Yankees have pampered him. He can almost do no wrong and this complete game, while an accomplishment, it is not a solution because he did nothing different but throw 90% fastballs again. Hughes never went through Triple-A on his way up, and I think a few months in Scranton would wake him up, make him work on nailing down other pitches and also enhance his career.
      Hughes cannot live on his low-90's fastball and that has been proven time and time again now, but because of starts like his last one everyone thinks he has changed when the stats and charts prove otherwise.

      • coolnewyorker says:

        Hey, LLP….I had more respect for you when you were an unabashed Phil Hughes basher. Now that many readers are turning on you, all of a sudden you are just being "realistic". Face it, "whatever-it-is", you are a basher of one single player in all of sports – Phil Hughes.

        Realistically, your latest rantings don't even make sense.

        Many players report to spring training a bit heavier and go on to have successful season. Similarly, many players show up fit and ideally weighted and go on to have disastrous season. Many great pitchers suffered from the same affliction that did in Phil–"dead arm" – and most of them fully recovered to HOF career.

        That's baseball. MLB has the longest season with the most games played in USA pro sports… predictably with unpredictable end-of-season outcomes.

        It's disturbing to realize baseball enables you to bash for so long.

        LLP, your relentless "whatever-it-is" bashing of Phil Hughes has become tiresome. Give it a rest. Already!!!

        • LLP says:

          Coolnewyorker – I am just stating facts here about Hughes. Hughes still doesn't have a put-away pitch, and that is a fact. In order to perfect your craft it takes work, in the off-season especially and Hughes has had ample time to work on his command and pitch location.
          Having a few pitches to throw to put batters away, knowing which one to use on what hitter and feeling confident with at least one pitch other than his fastball are things that Hughes could have worked to improve. Hughes threw too many fastballs in 2010 to not keep his body, and pitching arm in tip-top shape in the off-season. Hughes was entering his fourth season, coming off a decent one in 2011 and his off-speed stuff was improving but without the extra effort it has now regressed again. Coming out of the bullpen he can throw the crap out of his 4-seamer without worrying about keeping his arm fresh for multiple innings. That is my point.