It’s been a while since Phil Hughes knocked down a W in the Majors. In fact, his last Big League win came on September. 27, 2007 when he and the Yanks downed the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 3-1. Tonight, in his final start of the year, Hughes will aim for his first win of the season.
Of course, it won’t come easy. Hughes is going up against Yankee-killer A.J. Burnett. On the season, Burnett is 18-10 with a 4.18 ERA, but against the Yanks, he’s 3-1 with a 1.78 ERA in 30.1 innings. In a way, this is an important start for Burnett because, with an opt-out clause, he can become a free agent this year. The Yanks are sure to be potential suitors for the power-throwing right hander who has just reached a career high in innings pitched.
But Burnett may not be all that the Yanks have seen this year. He’s long struggled with his health, and against teams that aren’t the Yankees, he’s 15-9 with a 4.64 ERA in 180.2 innings this year. Those are fine numbers, but they’re hardly worth the money and years Burnett will be seeking on the open market. Caveat emptor.
The Yanks aren’t doing much to help out Hughes earn that win. They’re tossing out the Spring Training lineup. That’s what happens when the team gets eliminated from the playoffs.
Notes: Word out of Yankee camp is that Andy Pettitte will not make his final start of the season on Saturday. In his stead, the team will throw Sidney Ponson. Couldn’t they have found someone else to make that start? Phil Coke? Ian Kennedy? Joba Chamberlain? The Yanks have practically guaranteed no reason to watch Saturday’s game.