On May 1, 2007, a 20-year-old Phil Hughes had it all working as the Yankees were in Arlington. Through 6.1 innings, he had not allowed a hit when his hamstring gave out. Hughes would be out until August, and the Yanks had a glimpse of what a Hughesian future could be.
Today, the Yanks and Hughes return to the scene of the crime. For the first time since his near-no-hitter, Hughes will take the mound in Texas, looking to finish what he started two years ago.
This year, Hughes has not pitched as badly as his 7.06 ERA indicates. While not dominant, Hughes has kept the Yankees in the game for four of his five starts. The other was a disastrous 1.2 inning, 8 earned run appearance in Baltimore. Outside of that one start, Hughes has thrown 20 innings with a 4.05 ERA. He’s averaging around one strike per inning and at 22, has been a fine fifth starter. He is coming off of a nine-strike out performance.
Meanwhile, the Yankees are heading to Texas a little short-handed. They used Jose Veras, Mariano Rivera and, painfully, Brett Tomko yesterday. Brian Bruney is seemingly unavailable again, and Phil Coke has been worked at a Scott Proctor-like pace recently. Chien-Ming Wang won’t be able to pitch until tomorrow, and Al Aceves may be limited as well. Angel Berroa, meanwhile, hasn’t had at-bat since May 4 and has appeared in just four games over the last three weeks. Roster construction has not been the Yanks’ forte this season.
But it is what it is. This is, after all, the same team that just went 8-2 on the homestand and is just one game behind the Red Sox for first place in the AL East. Game time is 2:05 p.m., and the Yanks will be wearing the Fred Durst-inspired Memorial Day hats.
Update by Joe: Bruney’s going on the DL. Look for Robertson or Melancon tomorrow.