The good, the bad and the ugly of Hughes’ debut

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goodbadugly.jpg So maybe that didn’t go quite as well as we hoped, but Phil Hughes‘ Major League debut was decidedly not terrible. We’ll break it down over the course of the next day, and it looks now as though Hughes will start on Tuesday in Texas. For now, I want to bring you a few points from 20-year-old Phil Hughes’ first Major League start, Sergio Leone style.

The Good: In between a bad first inning and a bad fifth inning, Phil Hughes looked pretty good. As Steve at noted, Hughes did a masterful job getting out the Blue Jays’ B hitters. And his strike out rate is now better than that of any other Yankee starter. His 5 strike outs in 4.1 innings translate into around 10 K/9 IP. With a 5:1 K:BB ratio, those are some fantastic peripherals. Hughes put these numbers up against a Blue Jay team that is league average in strike outs. The Rangers, his next opponent, are more frequent whiffers.

The Bad: Hughes had a very rocky first inning. It took him 27 pitches to get out of his first Major League inning. I would probably chalk that one up to nerves, and we’ll have to see how he does in Texas. But he also struggled against the All Stars in the Blue Jays lineup. Vernon Wells was 3-for-3, and Frank Thomas knocked in two runs. Hughes’ 7 hits in 4.1 innings isn’t too good, but throughout his career, his first start at a new level has always been a struggle. He was victimized by a tight strike zone and a bad call at first base too. We’ll see how he does next week against the Rangers. He’ll have to develop some more trust in his breaking pitches, and he’ll have to throw more strikes early on. Those are your keys to next week’s Phil Hughes start.

The Ugly: Doug Mientkiewicz went 0-for-3 tonight batting in …. the Number 2 spot?!?! What the $#*& is that all about? Dougie Baseball is currently hitting .152 with a .250 OBP and a slugging percentage at around .250. He’s 3 for his last 17, and that actually raised his batting average. So what does Joe Torre? He plugs him into a key spot in the lineup. Instead of going with Robinson Cano to avoid a lineup of three lefties in a row, instead of ever using Josh Phelps, Torre bats Mr. Automatic Out in the two hole, giving him four costly plate appearances. Doug Mientkiewicz with a negative MLV and a negative VORP is actually detracting from the Yankees’ offensive output. I’m dumbstruck by his presence in the Number 2 hole.

New Stadium/Metro-North hub plans on ice
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  • mg

    Anyone else catch his comment on the channel 9 postgame he basically called Hughes a worthless piece of shit with a 90 mph fastball. I know the result wasn’t good but you saw the upside of a 20 YEAR OLD and I don’t care who you are the poise was impressive. If that was me when I was 20 I would have been pissing myself. I’m not sure which paper he hatchets I mean writes for but tomorrows column should be brutal.

  • yankz

    At the very least he should have PH for Stink at some point in the game. Jeter and Phelps were both available. Or, he should’ve tried to bunt with Cairo. The man is batting zero on the year.

  • Ben


    Who is the “he” you’re talking about? I turned off the game after it was over. Didn’t feel like listening to the talking heads mouth off.

  • Yankee Fan in Chicago

    I only caught the highlights on YES, but they showed the good and the bad, and I thought he looked good. His stuff looked infinitely better than the likes of Wright, Rasner, Igawa et al. Right now, and even after Moose gets back, the only guy in Phil’s league is Wang on this team.

    David Justice made the same point, and Leiter liked what he saw.

    I think mg was referring to Abraham. Seems as if Hughes ran over the guy’s dog or sumtin.

  • Jason McAdams

    I think the “he” refers to Torre Ben…and I totally agree with you…when I saw Minky in the two-hole I almost sh*t myself. If you’re going to have three lefties in a row, why not have Cano bat second? Huge mistake IMO. And why not use Phelps? Puzzling.

    As for Hughes, he was ho-hum. Obviously he needs more work at AAA, developing a few other pitches than just a fastball, curve and occasional change-up. Holding runners on seems to be a challenge as well.

    It was nice to see Micheal Kay anointing him as the next Roger Clemens though, that was classic.

  • Deric

    I am glad that there are at least some places like here for us readers to stay. I just headed to Pete Abraham’s blog and it was just painful! Those people just know nothing about the baseball!

    I seriously think that Yankees fans should give Hughes some time before jumping into a conclusion that he sucks. I would rather have Hughes on my team than watching Randy Johnson or Jaret Wright to pitch in every 5 days.

  • Ed

    Have to agree there were a lot of things to like in Hughes’ debut. However, he also showed that he could benefit from more time to develop.

  • stepheneliot

    Although Hughes’ stats were encouring, it still was another L for the Yankees. Equally frustrating was the fact that Extra Innings didn’t carry the game ( baffles me as to why not) so I watched the Redsox play for another W and continue their stong start for the season.

    Sure it may be hooray for Hughes’ arrival, and I can hope that Clemens is on his way, but I fear this will be a long and frustrating season for us. It may be premature to be somewhat negative, but the Yankees have shown me nothing so far but aches and pain and heartache. As the long gone actor William Bendix might say ” What a revolting development this is.” And he may be damn right.