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

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.

HUGHES:

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.

ARRIETA:

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.

The Orioles will have to put up some runs to help Arrieta because the Yankees will not get shutout in this match-up. They are not in first place because of their bats, as in their first nine games the Orioles line-up posted a .216 batting average, which is inevitably going to hurt sooner than later.

If history dictates, Yankees Robinson Cano remains the biggest threat, and I would not be surprised to see him intentionally walked during this game.

Also, Arrieta has never pitched to Chavez, Jones or Martin who have been on fire so far in the pinstripes, which could get ugly fast for Arrieta or any pitcher for that matter with this trio. It will also be A-rod’s first meeting with Arrieta…translation is Arrieta better bring his A-game.

My Prediction:

If the Yankees want to win this game it will be up to their bats and bullpen. Both have yet to show enough consistency to be deemed utterly reliable.

Problem is I have no confidence in Hughes, and it seems he doesn’t either. According to Wallace Matthews, of ESPNNewYork.com, Hughes said this yesterday in response to Wallace asking about his pitching issues:

“It’s obviously something to be worried about. This is my job, my livelihood and I don’t have the stuff I know I’m capable of going out there with. It’s worrisome and it’s frustrating.”

That is NOT what you want to hear a day before any struggling pitcher’s scheduled start, as it obviously means nothing has changed.

Arrieta’s performance will not be as bad as Hughes sounds like it is going to be, which has me quite nervous.

My prediction is that the O’s beat the Yankees, but it will be close with a score of 6-4.

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3 Comments

  1. VinceV says:

    Hughes arm strength is simply gone. But I think his issues may be more psychological than physical. Hughes needs to be dropped to the pen. Move everyone up in the rotation. Yanks should give Colon more innings. I disagree with you on the Yankee bats. I don't see any problems, long-term, with their run support. Of course everything is pitching, so we'll see.

    • Kate says:

      Vince – I agree about Hughes. I try to stay positive but then you look at his 2010 numbers and things got ugly in the second half of the season. He really only maintained his 95 velocity for maybe 10 starts. He could go back to the bullpen, and to think of him and JOBA both as relievers for their career is nuts. Girardi has been using the bullpen to much, too early.

  2. New York Yankees: The Phil Hughes Solution says:

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