Nerves struck Hughes in the first (understandable, heck I was nervous for the kid just watching on TV 3,000 miles away) and fatigue struck in the 5th (because of those ridiculous pitch counts from last year), but in between, Hughes was awesome. I thought he absolutely proved himself as ready for The Show.
He got squeezed on some pitches, but that’s not an excuse. He’s a rookie and he needs to establish himself before he starts getting those borderline calls, just like every other pitcher in the history of baseball. His curveball was good, filthy at times, and it’s got a chance to be absolutely devastating once he acclimates himself. His changeup was what I said it was – a quality pitch. He got a nice amount of swing-and-misses on it.
Alex Belth made a great point: Hughes is the only starter the Yankees have that can consistently throw a fastball by a batter. That’s why their starting pitching has been sucky, they aren’t overpowering at all. The “outsmarting the hitter” schtick can get old when you see it 3 days in a row. Once in a while, you just need to reach back and use some brute force.
For a 20-yr old kid making his debut in Yankee Stadium admist a losing streak that seems longer than it really is, he did about as good as you could possible want. Too bad I won’t be able to talk about him as a prospect much longer.
A good friend of mine – also named Mike – was at the game and got some video footage of Hughes. I was hoping for some better shots as well as better quality, but that’s what you get for trusting a Canadian I suppose. Video after the jump…
Hughes warming up before the game:
I’m told that was the longest distance Hughes threw from. Usually guys long toss from about 200 feet during warmups, but not Hughes. I’d like to see him stretch it out a bit, build up that arm strength a little.
Hughes being announced during pregame lineups:
Word on the street is only A-Rod received a bigger ovation.
Hughes’ first big league pitch:
Hughes’ first career K: