New York Yankees: Do You Want The Truth About Pitcher Phil Hughes New York Yankees: Do You Want The Truth About Pitcher Phil Hughes New York Yankees: Do You Want The Truth About Pitcher Phil Hughes
 

New York Yankees: Do You Want The Truth About Pitcher Phil Hughes

Back in his old stomping ground of Progressive Field, New York Yankees ace CC Sabathia gave another All-Star performance on Tuesday night.

Throwing seven innings of shutout ball, Sabathia fanned 11 Cleveland Indians on his way to leading the Yankees to a 9-2 win and making sure to stop a three-game losing streak.

Since the Tribe beat the Yankees 6-3 on Monday, the series is up for grabs. The Yankees are putting the ball for the rubber game in the hands of pitcher Phil Hughes.

Hughes is another victim of GM Brian Cashman’s ‘pitching rules’ along with his buddy Joba Chamberlain just had Tommy John surgery and won’t be back in pinstripes till next season.

This will be Hughes’ first start since coming off the DL, a place he was sent all the way back on April 15th.

Skipper Joe Girardi blamed Hughes’ complete inability to locate his pitches, along with a drop in velocity on a dead arm, but which also can cause shoulder inflammation.

Hughes told the Wall Street Journal, “I don’t exactly know what went wrong, but I know something went wrong,” whatever the problem, his lack in arm strength was unmistakable and impossible to miss.

Three months later, and Hughes has worked his way back to the majors.

MLB.com reported that in his three-rehab starts, Hughes displayed marked improvement with his pitches reaching up to 92-93 mph. The last one in Trenton, he only gave up one earned run and threw 88 pitches in six-plus innings of work.

Two obvious scenarios can come of this:

1. Hughes can pitch like he did the first-half of 2010, which earned him a spot on the AL All-Star team.

2. Hughes will struggle and rookie Ivan Nova could be promoted after being demoted just two days ago.

It would be hard to justify the Yankees keeping Hughes in the rotation if he implodes on Wednesday in Cleveland.

This sounds strict because it has to be. The time for chances is over because the teams that get into the playoffs will do so by one or two games.

The Yankees are good enough to win it all this season, but that affords little room for mistakes here on out so if Hughes can’t get it done someone else will.

What Worries Me About Hughes?

Hughes’ major-league leading 25 home-runs allowed (this includes six from the postseason) in 2010, is what keeps running through my head.

Everyone keeps talking about Hughes 18 wins last season, but it masks the 4.19 ERA. Also, the fact that Hughes got the most run support out of all MLB starters, with an average of 6.75 runs scored every time he took the hill.

Here are Hughes stats from the first and second halves of 2010:

(Thanks to Baseball-Reference.com)

STATS

1st HALF

2nd HALF

ERA (earned-run-average)

3.65

4.90

ER (earned runs)

41

41

H (hits)

90

72

2B (doubles)

19

8

HR (home-runs)

11

14

BB (base-on-balls or walks)

29

29

SO (strikeouts)

91

55

BA (batting average against)

.239

.250

Another interesting fact is that in 2010 Hughes’ record when the Yankee bats scored five runs or less was 3-8; but he was 14-0 when the hitters put six-plus runs on the scoreboard.

What is my point?

As much as I hate to say this, Hughes performance is too reliant on the Yankees bats. His starts are neither good nor bad because the power Yankee bats mask them.

Meaning that Hughes is barely average because he can’t hold opponents to less than five runs the way better pitchers do.

So, on Wednesday vs. the Tribe my bet is that Hughes needs the insurance runs to get tacked on ASAP or it could get ugly fast.

The major improvement Hughes had in his three rehab starts are not enough because honestly, how much worse could it get?

Hughes posted a 13.94 ERA, throwing 10 innings, fanning three, giving up 16 earned runs and four home-runs in his prior three starts this season before getting kicked to the DL.

Reality bites, but Hughes has to earn his next start with each outing, at least it has to be this way for a while.

The only thing Hughes has proved is that he has not lived up to expectations, as he is not reliable.

Time is on Hughes side so he can change all that; and I would be happy to put my foot in my mouth if/when this happens.

16 Comments

  1. Dr Balls says:

    This may be the biggest pile of garbage I have ever read. And to think I voluntarily read it. Thank you for stating the obvious and letting all of us know what his stats were prior to going on the DL because nobody knew that. I'll tell you what's obvious, it's obvious you have never played the game before and as a result, you fail to see or understand some basic baseball (on-field) thinking.

    You write your column (if that what you want to call this) and are completely dependent upon what you read as this pile of pooh provides no insight and is no more valuable than yesterdays lunch. It's one thing to read something and break it down for a more understandable revision of it or perhaps pick out a piece of it and elaborate on it. But this is no more than regurgitated garble that provides no insight to the reader and is in my opinion, very amateurish at best.

    It's very easy to say that Phil Hughes was successful last year because he had run support but what you're forgetting is that the Yankees scored more runs then just about any team in MLB last year, so isn't it obvious that a Yankee pitcher would have run support.

    If you are indeed a lady who loves the pinstripes, then try to practice being a little more positive. Is the glass ever half full with you?

  2. Dr Balls says:

    Here's one more thing for you to ponder, did you ever for one-second think that you're in the wrong field? In looking back at your related articles you seem to focus on Phil Hughes a lot. Is that because you think he's cute? Or is it perhaps because you are looking for something controversial and gossip worthy. Or is he just an easy target because so much is being made about Hughes and his lack of velocity?

    Do you feel that if you write about something that Yankee fans are not happy with, and just so we're clear here, I'm speaking about him being on the DL and not in general, it will mask that fact that you are not capable of writing a column about something with substance.

    The Yankees are 51-33 and currently have the second best record in baseball behind the Phillies (who have an All-Star pitching staff). The Yankees went into this season with a pitching staff that many in baseball laughed at, the Phillies did not! yet the Yankees are right in the mix and doing it with an injury list that seems to go on and on not to mention being a who's who list in baseball with names like Jeter, Rivera, Swisher, A-Rod, Hughes, Colon, Soriano and on and on.

    As much as it pains me to say this, at this point in the season I have to give the manager of the year to Joe Girardi and GM of the year to Brian Cashman (although the latter doesn't hurt as much).

    Last year it was the Red Sox who had the long list of injuries and we all know how that turned out, this year, although the injuries are not as severe as some of the Red Sox players from 2010, the Yankees have managed to stay in first place and have found ways to keep on winning even though they have had sub-par performances from Jeter, Posada (until recently), Chamberlin, Soriano and yes, even Phil Hughes (career 31-19). I'm sure I'm leaving some guys off of the list but I think you get my point.

    My point is simple, I understand you're not a cheerleader however; if you are the true Yankee fan you claim to be, try writing something that a Yankee fan would feel good about reading since the majority of readers are Yankee fans.

    I like a glass half full, it always taste better then one that is half empty with someone's backwash floating around in there.

  3. Uncle Mike says:

    It's not garbage. It is a little rough, but it's mostly realistic. Still, I would not have made the trade of Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera, and a never-named prospect for Johan Santana. After all, Santana hasn't helped the Mets reach a single postseason, and likely never will, and has been at least as injury-prone as Hughes. Come to think of it, Cliff Lee doesn't have a ring, either; Hughes does.

    • Kate says:

      Uncle Mike – Hughes has a rig as a reliever…..he was horrible as a starter in 2009 and not all his fault what-so-ever. Hughes and Joba were treated like machines, not human-beings. Ian Kennedy is turning out to be the real deal because he got out from under the NYC lights and media, unlike Hughes and Joba. Joba finally about a month into this season embraced his roll as the 8th inning guy and excelled….before the unfortunate injury. Hughes still seems uncomfortable to me on the hill, but he didn't when he was in the bullpen and I woudl not be surprised if that i where he winds-up again this season and flourishes in the role again.

      • TexMessage says:

        Kennedy is excelling not because he got out of NYC but because he moved to a league that is half as hard as the AL and a Division that is 1/3rd as hard as the East. He basically went from AAA to Gulf Coast League ball. If you need further evidence, look at his K rate as someone that is widely considered a control and contact guy.

  4. Dr Balls says:

    Mike, the title is "Do you want the truth about Phil Hughes" when it should be titled "Do you want the obvious previously stated facts about Phil Hughes"

    • Kate says:

      Dr. Balls….I am one of the most positive Yankees fans out there but I have never been sold on Hughes being a starter after watching him last season. Out of the bullpen, Hughes changed the 2009 season around and was a huge reason why the Yankees won the WS. Not as a starter, as a reliever and only in the regular season, as Hughes buckled under the pressure of the postseason, but that comes with age.

      I think your insults are a tad below the belt b/c I am reiterating a warning not to get to excited about Hughes just yet, and to expect a good start if he the Yankee bats can score 5+ runs.

    • Kate says:

      Wait, Dr. Balls now you say that I "stated facts". I thought it was a piece of garbage???? The Yankees scored more runs for Phil in the first half and is why he has 18 wins…..he doesn't have the same mound presence that I see in Ivan Nova. Hughes needs a third pitch because he relies way to much on his fastball and once through an order hitters can hit it even when he has command of it.

  5. Dr Balls says:

    Kate, unfortunately it's still garbage.

    The facts I refer to are those that have been previously stated, something you routinely do. You didn't read all of my words, a feeble attempt at some form of retribution.

  6. Vlad says:

    http://mlbbettingwinners.blogspot.com/

    Pitching match-ups, explanations, predictions and more…..

    Currently on a 17-7 run with baseball predictions

  7. D-mets says:

    Hey Balls Doc….just uo defend Kate here she backs up her opinions with facts and it makes her more credible; as well as allows the reader to better understand her point of view.

    Kate clearly states what the Yanlees won't about Hughes because to focus on 18 wins but calling it garbage just belittles you. It makes you seem angry because you know she is right.

    So back off Doc Balls because I like kate's articles very much and so does my baseball fanatic fiancé.

  8. Dr Balls says:

    You would be better at name calling if you actually attended an english class. Good news, it's not to late, my advice to you, stop reading sports blogs immediately, then, sign up for a summer school english class. It may result in you being able to post something that makes sense.

    PS – Kate posting her opinions with regurgitated information does not make her credible.

  9. Michael Marx says:

    What the Hell is wrong with Cashman and Girardi???? GET RID OF SERGIO MITRE HE FLAT OUT STINKS!!!!!!!!!

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  12. Henry says:

    Worthless article. I assume it was written to attract readers. 18 wins is 18 wins and regardless of what you say it is an impressive achivement for his first full season as a starter. Keep in mind they had him on a pitch count and it seemed to affect a bit the same it did Joba. Are you trying to tell me that two pitchers who were always projected to be starters are better in the pen? Joba was very poorly handled by the yankees. Nova on the other hand has been given time to develop in the minors and you can see the difference.