The Bombers beat-up on the Chicago White Sox for the second night in a row, but the 6-0 win only went lasted six innings due to rain.
What almost superseded the game itself was the fact that the Yankees are running a six-man rotation and Hughes was pitching for his spot. Hughes has been pretty much ineffective or on the DL since the 2010 All-Star Break.
Without question, Hughes pitched well vs. the White Sox. No doubt, this was his best start since but that was not too hard.
Still the question remains, was Tuesday night’s performance enough for you to trust Hughes again?
My answer would be no because you have to look at the bigger picture in this situation, and here are my four reasons why:
- It would be ludicrous to let one adequate start wipe Hughes’ slate clean. Reality is that Hughes has been a mess for so long that tonight’s win against the White Sox should be viewed as a fluke until proven otherwise.
- Winning 18 games in 2010 is an easy number to cling too, but realize Hughes got some major help from the Yankee bats who averaged 6.75 in run support. That number was the highest across the majors last season. A 18 game winning pitcher does not normally post a 4.19 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP unless he has had some help. There is nothing wrong with a pitcher getting some wins due to run support, but what about in the playoffs or in late September when that becomes almost obsolete?
- In the post game, Hughes said that once he saw 94 and 95 mph on the radar gun in the first inning against Chicago his confidence went up. This kid needs to stop focusing so much on his fastball’s speed because it cannot dictate his performance. Hughes needs to consistently win, which entails learning how to win without depending so much on his fastball’s velocity or else he will have a short shelf life.
- This is the nitty-gritty part of the baseball season, as games really matter in August and September. Skipper Joe Girardi tends to give guys multiple chances to prove themselves worthy. Hughes has had proven success coming out of the bullpen and due to the timing that is where he should be. Not forever, just for the rest of the 2011 season and then start a clean slate for next year. When Hughes moved to the bullpen in 2009, his dominance was a vital turning point that led the Yankees to winning the World Series. That is a fact.
So, looking at both sides of this argument you cannot deny that Hughes looked great against the White Sox. He threw first strike pitches to 14 of 19 batters, didn’t allow a walk and struck out four.
This positive start was almost mandatory for Hughes, as it was what needed to happen. For me, it proved that Hughes can have good stuff; at least once in a while. Hughes still has a lot of work to do, but this is not the right time for this kind-of drama.
This Hughes situation will not be fixed after one almost great start, as he doesn’t even know what he is capable of and that is never a good sign.
Please note that I am not insinuating Hughes as un-fixable, not even close. This is unfortunately just not the right time, as it is totally unfitting.
Just mark my word, if this charade continues it will cost the Yankees games they can’t afford down the stretch and I would hate to see it cripple them in getting to October.
- Yankees 6, White Sox 0: Needing to Show Something, Hughes Gives Yankees Six Scoreless Innings (nytimes.com)
- New York Yankees: Do You Want The Truth About Pitcher Phil Hughes (ladylovespinstripes.com)
- Phil Hughes could be odd man out in Yankees’ rotation (aol.sportingnews.com)
- With Konerko out, White Sox must lean on struggling Dunn (aol.sportingnews.com)
- Hughes dominates! Big Triple Girardi’s 6 White Sox 0 (fitzandvig.wordpress.com)
- Phil Hughes is probably heading to the pen (hardballtalk.nbcsports.com)