Oct
08

Yanks youngster comes up Hughes

By

When the seventh inning rolled around last night, I had developed a veritable man-crush on Phil Hughes. Those guts! That poise! That’s a True Yankee® in the making.

Hyperbole aside and fantastic pictures aside, what Phil Hughes did was nothing short of brilliant. In relief of the best pitcher of our generation who may have made his last start ever, Hughes came in and was dominant for 3.2 innings. He threw 63 pitches, 43 for strikes, while giving up 2 hits and striking out 4. At the ripe old age of 21, he recorded the biggest win of the Yankee season so far.

Even better, though, was his pitching. Hughes was mixing speeds and hitting his spots like we knew he could. His fastball was up around 93/94 while a few nasty breaking pitches.

It’s easy to imagine a 21-year-old feeling overwhelmed in Yankee Stadium. It’s a do-or-die game 3 in which the beloved manager’s job is on the line. It’s a relief appearance taking over for a visibly disappointed and emotional Roger Clemens who had to leave his potential last-ever start of his Hall of Fame career over a recurring injury.

Hughes, already dealing with what many — but not us — considered to be a disappointing first year, could have just folded. He could have burned the innings and delivered the Yankees to another long season. But instead, he emerged. He dominated. He was, in a word, amazing. While TBS gave Johnny Damon the Player of the Game Award, it’s very hard to argue against Phil Hughes as the real player of the game.

So now the Yankees and Joe Torre live another day. Chien-Ming Wang, on three days’ rest, will face Paul Byrd. Bring home another win. While yesterday’s game was all about the future and Phil Hughes, today’s game is all about today. Win today; play Wednesday. It’s that easy.

Categories : Pitching
  • RJ – Ct

    Was at game and the crowd was basically beggin for Hughes by the middle of the 2nd, personally i think he should’ve started this game all along. Great game, huge win, obviously. There were just 2 moves that confounded me – Matsui’s name in the lineup again and then Joba going 2 innings for zero reason. They were up 5, he came in, blew them away, put the swarm game behind him and re-established his dominant self, so remove him after that inning, no need to tire him out, which was the case by the end of his 2nd inning of work. Would have had no problem with Hughes goin 1 more or even bring in Viz or, I can’t believe I’m sayin this, Farnsworth for 3 outs. Torre’s lack of faith in anyone but Joba and Mo in the bullpen hurts this team, not to say there is anyone 100% trustworthy, but if they can’t pitch in a 5 run game why even have them on the team. Doubt Joba is gonna be available tonite, but hopefully we won’t even need him.
    How about a 3 run jack by A-Rod in the first, pound Byrd and move on to game 5!

    • CB

      Down 2-0 in the first round of the playoffs you can’t have it both ways.

      Clemens couldn’t give them any innings and that stressed the limited resources they had in the pen.

      You can’t say that “there isn’t anyone 100% trustworthy” in the pen besides Mo and Joba and then also say that Joba shouldn’t have been pitching the 8th.

      It’s a slight understatement to say that the rest of the pen is less than “100% trustworthy.” They are terrible. With Viz’s tired arm the yankee bullpen last night was effective Mo, Joba and Phil. And then the starter gives you 2 innings.

      There are no definitive right or wrong answers on how to play it with what is effectively a three man bull pen. If they pull Joba in the 8th and Viz or Farnsworth give up a few runs (which they definitely would have) then Mo has to come into the game with men on base in the 8th. Mo had already thrown two innings the game before. If he thows a lot of pitches last night then he’d be shot for the game tonight.

      It’s not unreasonable to think the yankees will light up Byrd tonight and that Wang gives them at least 7 (hopefully 8) innings. Mo can go 2 innings tonight.

      • Kyle

        You have to make sure you win the game. If they had been up 8 runs I still would have went Joba Mo. You have great momentum right there, the team is clicking, the worst thing in the world would be to let Cleveland scrum up 2-3 runs and take away your momentum.

        • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

          Agreed, there’s no wiggle room. If Joe yanks Joba after 1, then Farns and/or Viz give up 2 or 3 or 4 runs, then he’s getting ripped for that. Hopefully they score a bunch of runs early today, and if it comes down to it, I betcha Joba throws an inning today, or at least comes in to pick up a K and cleanup Farnsworth’s mess or something like that. Plus Mo can go 2 if needed.

      • RJ – Ct

        I disagree, u bring in Viz or Farns, if they get in any trouble in the 8th, bring in Mo. You need Joba for the next 2 games, so torre must preserve him. No need to get him tired, which he was, and chance that you can’t use him at all today. Of course yesterday was a must win, but a 5 run lead has to allow you to bring in Viz or Farns to get 3 outs.

  • Yanks26

    Time to disable Clemens and put Kennedy on the roster. We may need him to do what Hughes did, or give us a stress free innning since Joba wont be available.

  • http://lbaprequel.lobitowebsite.com/ LBA Prequel

    Hughes was absolutely amazing last night, and really seems to have finally gotten back to his comfort zone after the hammy injury. I just don’t think he had the strength or confidence in that leg, which obviously hindered his control throughout the season.

    It’s going to be great watching him continue to develop and mature throughout the rest of this postseason (hopefully!!!) and in 2008.

    • http://SportingGurus.com Adam A

      Well, that’s a problem if he pitched a few months on a bad leg.

  • http://www.overheardinnewyork.com NC Saint

    I agree that you can’t yank Joba after one, but why not send Hughes out there to at least try one more? He was looking nasty, he’s done for this series anyway, and we were up 5. Why not at least try to save our only reliable relievers?

    • http://SportingGurus.com Adam A

      He is not done for this series. Hughes will (or, at least should) be the shadow for Pettitte on Wednesday (if the Game 5 is needed.)

  • http://mvn.com/milb-yankees Eric Schultz

    “I have developed a veritable man-crush on Phil Hughes”

    Better late than never I guess.