Let’s go back to booing LaTroy now

Charleston's co-catchers continue to rake
Wah, wah, wah

So that was hardly ideal tonight, huh? Phil Hughes flashes his stuff for five innings and then becomes undone by an A-Rod error and some shoddy relief pitching. Meanwhile, the Yanks’ bats can’t hit a lick off Orioles pitching.

As far as Hughes’ outing goes, I don’t have much to say. Except for the second inning when he couldn’t find his out-pitch, Hughes kept his pitch count manageable and was getting ahead of hitters. He was throwing his fastball and breaking pitches for strikes, and the Orioles, until the sixth, couldn’t put much of anything together off of him. The third time through the lineup however was decidedly not the charm.

While some commenters in the game thread suggested sending Hughes down to AAA to work out whatever mechanical problems the bunch of pitching coaches on RAB seem to have spotted, I’m firmly in the camp that he has to stay in the Majors. I’m ready to write off Moose after four starts because I know what Mussina brings to the table now that he’s 39 and pitching in the twilight of his career. I’m not ready to write off a 21-year-old with good stuff who’s learning how to get Major League hitters out. Beyond the hit to his confidence, the Yankees wouldn’t be doing themselves any favors by replacing Hughes right now.

Beyond Hughes, LaTroy Hawkins continued to pitch maddeningly inconsistent baseball. If you all want to boo him for that, go right ahead. Had he come in to be the stopper — something that his stuff suggests he isn’t — the Yanks and Hughes emerge in a close game, and maybe the offense wakes up from its slumber.

In that situation with two runners in scoring position and the Yanks in need of an out, Joe Girardi should really turn to a strike out guy. That’s a prime spot for Brian Bruney to blow a few 96-mph fastballs past the next few hitters. Hawkins wasn’t the right man for the job, and the results just backed up my feeling at the time.

Finally, Mr. Giambi’s days should be numbered at first base. He can’t field; he isn’t hitting; and when the ten days are up and the catchers are healthy, Shelley Duncan should get that job until he’s hitting worse than Giambi’s .116/.291/.302. There’s little downside and a lot to be gained from that potential move.

Saturday’s another game. We’ll get ’em next time.

Site Notes: We’ve unveiled a new version of this site’s threaded comments. As with the other one, hit the “Reply to this comment” link at the bottom of the comment to which you want to reply; type your comment; hit submit. The little boxes above the commenter’s name allow you to collapse and expand long comment threads. The direct link to a comment is in the hyperlinked date and time stamp underneath the submitter’s name. Any comments, complaints, or questions, you know how to reach us.

Charleston's co-catchers continue to rake
Wah, wah, wah
  • http://www.thebronxzoo.wordpress.com iYankees

    i agree on giambi. he looks like he’s done and i don’t think he’s really the type of hitter who’s going to go on an extended hitting streak that will allow him snap out of his funk. he hits homers, and that’s pretty much all he does (other than walk and hit balls into the shift).

    the phil hughes situation is a complex one. hughes himself has stated that there are some minor mechanical issues causing him to have these performance problems (eiland pointed them out to him, obviously). he’s a young kid and was rushed, so if he continues to struggle, i wouldn’t have a problem with him being sent down to refine his stuff. as soon as he clicks he’ll be back up.

  • Mike P

    I don’t think you give up on Giambi just yet. Cano isn’t hitting either. Giambi’s at bats are often quality at bats. He sees a ton of pitches and that sets him up on a good platform to get out of his funk. Of course, with Shelly at his heels, you can’t wait for ever for Giambi. A good season from Giambi is just too valuable to give up on.

    I’m not sure Girardi made the wrong call on Hawkins. He came in to walk the guy and get a double play. He’s a ground ball pitcher so it makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately he just couldn’t produce. And booing your own players when they don’t play well is for kids, not fans.

    • Pedro

      You have a guy hitting something like .150 at the plate. Why would you walk him?? That was a really bad decision.

      • Mike P

        To setup the double play obviously. Maybe trying to strike him out would have been better. But most contact draws a run in that situation and the man on 1st intentionally walked doesn’t score on a double most of the time.

        Not saying it was the right move… just saying it made sense.

  • Tripp

    I think you will see some changes if this keeps up. Some more out with the old and in with the new.

    Still think the Yanks should be looking for some trade options for starting pitching.

    I don’t think anyone at AAA is ready and Mussina is pretty much finished.

  • Pedro

    That was exactly my point on the game thread. If runners on 2nd and 3rd and a guy hitting under .200 at the plate you gotta bring a strikeout pitcher. I know it’s too early to tell, but Girardi doesn’t look that good as far as in-game decisions go.

    • Joey

      just checking out the reply to this comment thing

  • Joey

    not as cool as the old follow the lines thing, but it’s better than the mass panic type you used the other day when the site kept crashing

  • Mickey

    I’ve been waiting for 7 years for the Yankees to get tired of Giambi. It hasn’t happened yet, and won’t happen as long as he gets that biggggg paycheck. Absolutely one of the worst free agent signings ever.

  • brad k

    We bet the season and 200 Million dollars in payroll on two kids with 14 combined starts before this year. Then we throw in Mussina who has been done for several years now. Meanwhile Santana struck out 10 last night. I am still perplexed as to how this really made any sense to Yankee fans. PH and IPK will have some good moments this year for sure, but what you are seeing now is more or less what you will see all year. Instead we could have been looking at Santana, Wang, and Pettite in the top 3. If we had pulled off a trade and held onto either IPK or PH there would have been a lot more wiggle room for them in the rotation. Less pressure, more likely to develop into a MLB level player. Hughes wasn’t bed last night he’s just not dominant. He’s not a stopper and neither is IPK. Think about Andy in his prime. He was the guy on the staff that could come in after a tough loss and pick up the team. I don’t believe that these kids are that type of pitcher.

    Giambi is more then done. He might get 20-25 HR’s this year but his average will hover around .235-.245 and he will continue to hit into the shift. Platoon Ensberg with Ducan at 1st and DH/PH Giambi sparingly. He is making 20 million this year so you know he isn’t going anywhere. Just minimize the damage. The rest of the time split Godzilla and Damon between left and DH.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

      Several years? Do you watch baseball? I hate to be mean, but please, look at 2006. Moose was quite excellent.

      Also, how does a righty-rigthy platoon work?

    • Count Zero

      I don’t think anyone disagrees that the Yankees would have been better this year with Santana instead of Hughes. The argument was always that trading Hughes + Melky + prospects + $140MM contract for Santana was the wrong move long term.

      The problem is the continuing mentality among some Yankee fans (aided and abetted by the press) that it’s better to keep gutting the farm system year after year in the constant pursuit of free agent and / or trade solutions that will help us win this year but are clearly poor long-term solutions. We see how well this has worked out over the past seven years. Giambi, Vasquez, Weaver, Pavano, Johnson…

      Guess what? I’m fine with missing the playoffs once or twice to get us to another dynasty and four rings in five years instead of numerous first round playoff losses.

  • Rich

    Not to put it all on Melky (because he did have a double on a LD that almost went out), but if he gets a hit and puts the Yankees ahead in the fifth, I think the sixth inning would have unfolded differently.

    (btw, I liked the preview feature too.)

  • gxpanos

    I was really down after last night, but I read PeteAbe, and it actually did make me feel a little better.

    We should carve all these Santana-ites’ comments in stone so when Phil is looking for his second Cy Young at 28 and Santana is a broke-ass 36 year old we can all laugh at what well-meaning Yanks fans sometimes think.

  • ArchStanton

    Giambi is done, I don’t understand what Girardi is doing. Granted, I thought he was done a couple years ago when the Yanks wanted to send him down to the minors, but this is a few years later. He’s done. I hate to say it, but I wouldn’t mind signing Bonds, except I don’t know where he’d play.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

    Re: Preview.

    It’ll be back. Ben, Mike, and I are not code monkeys, so it takes us a while to get these things working. It will be back. Oh, it will be back.

    • RichYF

      You aren’t? So you’re telling us we have to be patient while you learn how to code on the fly? What part of being Yankees fans leads you to believe that’s going to happen. Trade Joe and Ben to RLYW for SG. He’s been around for 10 years and he’s dominant with his statistical analysis. We don’t have time to wait for you guys to develop into high caliber code junkies.


      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

        That was funny on so many levels. Veritable Comment HOF nominee.

      • Count Zero

        ROFL – priceless!

  • http://www.myspace.com/j_panama Jamal G.

    I personally still believe that Giambi does bring value to this club. Hate him or not, there is no denying that whether he is in a slump or not the man is an OBP machine. Obviously in the prime of his career, Shelley Duncan had a line of .380/.577 (OBP/SLG) which is fantastic. But can we expect to see those type of numbers from Duncan in the Bronx? Can we really expect him to outperform Giambi who hasn’t put up an OBP under .412 since the 2000 season when he’s played more than half the season? I’m sure you guys remember what an absolute disgrace Jason Giambi looked at the plate to start the 2006 season. I’m sure you remember how there were plans to send his ass to the minor leagues. But I’m also sure you remember how he had an OPS of 1.407!!!!!!! in April, 1.053 in June and 1.124 in August.

    Now, will 2008 Giambi give you 37 HRs and 113 RBIs with a *OPS+ of 148? Hell no, but he will outperform Shelley Duncan (significantly IMO) this year and I don’t see any reason not to expect that.

    Slumps are slumps, all of us who played/play baseball have gone through them. Hell I went through a 1-for-12 to end my season last year and I still think about that shit now and again. Slumps do end, it’s just that at the beginning of the season they are magnified because you have nothing else to g on but his failures for THIS year.

    • Count Zero

      Point well taken — Giambi has always been a slow starter. I’m on the fence on the Giambi issue.

  • Adrian-Retire21

    Hughes will work it out.But 95 pitches ad 1 strikout in 5 innings really doesn’t make him look good.

  • http://yankeesetc.blogspot.com/ Travis G.

    i dont like the 9 hits in 5.1 ip or the 9 flyballs to 5 grounders. however, he got ahead a lot and that 2b under Giambi’s glove undid him, as did the inherited runners.

    as to the Santana-addicts: i dont think anyone believes Hughes would be better this year, but it’s over the next 5-7 years. and i believe Hughes will be better than Santana within 5 years.

    one interesting stat: Santana 5 HR in 27.2 ip.; Hughes & Kennedy 0 HR in 27.2 (in the AL no less).

  • The Scout

    I continue to worry of Hughes’s lack of velocity. He seemded to be sitting at 91-92 all evening. If this is due to a mechanical flaw, then we can only hope Eiland and Hughes can fix it soon.

  • Ivan

    Yeah that’s the one thing I notice. While has struggled, I surprise he hasn’t given up a hr yet in first 4 starts of the season. That’s some encouragement right?

  • Realist


    0 3 8.82 4 4 0 0 0 0 16.1 25 17 16 0 1 10 10

    These are pitiful numbers regardless of his age. He is averaging 4 innings a start and either needs to wake up or go to AAA to get it together.