Jul
17

Tex, Hughes power Yanks to post-break win

By

Storm clouds threatened the Bronx all night. In the hours leading up to the game, it looked as if the sky would release buckets of rain at any moment. As game time approached, the skies cleared a bit, but those rain clouds would come back later. The bad luck recipient was Joel Zumaya, who had to pitch the seventh as the skies opened up. Three batters later, the Yankees took the lead for good.

On double his normal rest, it was tough to expect the world from A.J. Burnett. Pitchers, we’re told, are creatures of habit. Pitch, rest four days, repeat. Still, he’d been a bright spot in a rotation which had been mired in shakiness for most of July, and the Yanks sure could have used a win to open the second half. It didn’t help, then, that Burnett allowed 11 baserunners through six innings. The good news was that he surrendered just three runs. Phil Hughes, Mariano Rivera, and Mark Teixeira would take care of the rest.

Two performers stand out in last night’s contest. First is Phil Hughes. After Burnett exited, Hughes took over with authority. The 23-year-old righty pitched two full innings, holding the lead with a masterful performance. Despite three hits along the way, he recorded every out with three strikes. In a way, it was like Mariano in 1996. Starter goes six, Hughes comes on for two, and Mo finishes thing out.

The three of us at RAB are unabashed Hughes fans. Yes, we like all Yankees, especially the young guys. But there’s just something about Hughes. We’ve followed him through the minors. We’ve seen his bumps along the road. It feels great to finally see it all coming together. Yes, we’d rather see him in the starting rotation — it’s where the best pitchers on the team should be. That does not take away from what he’s accomplished, though. The man threw 75 percent strikes tonight, for Pete’s sake!

(No, I don’t think that the 40 pitches Hughes threw tonight is a way to transition him back to the rotation. I’ve come to grips with him being in the bullpen for the rest of the season. I don’t agree with it — even with Chien-Ming Wang healthy, Hughes stands to be one of the Yankees five best starters. But it’s become clear that the Yankees value him in the bullpen for the time being. So it goes.)

The other standout was none other than the $180 million man, Mark Teixeira. He was 3 for 5 on the night, but his hits came when it mattered. The first came in the first inning rally which netted a run, tying the game at one. The second came in the fifth, a single which turned into more when the ball bounced between Josh Anderson’s legs. That scored Damon, narrowing the gap to one.

The third and final hit couldn’t have been better timed. With two on and none out in the seventh, Teixeira took Joel Zumaya deep into the second deck in right, putting the Yankees ahead for good. It was almost as if you could feel the homer coming. Singleton had mentioned Zumaya’s struggles over the last few games, and as he said it you could see him struggling to throw the ball to the glove. On the fifth pitch of the at-bat and with a 3-1 count, Zumaya tried to get a 99 mph fastball down and in. It didn’t quite get there, and that was that.

The Yankees did have other opportunities throughout the night, but went 4 for 12 with runners in scoring position. That’s not great, but the Tigers went 1 for 12, and that was the difference. That and, of course, Zumaya’s recent woes.

Tomorrow promises to be a good one, as CC Sabathia and Justin Verlander square off in a rematch. You might remember last time, when Verlander scattered seven hits over as many innings, striking out nine. Sabathia pitched the whole game, eight innings, striking out seven. Doesn’t look like we’ll get rain, so enjoy the 1:05 start.

Categories : Game Stories
  • Peter Lacock

    The 230-year-old righty?
    He musta been hangin with Berroa.

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      Two must be great friends.

      • Peter Lacock

        Wow! we got some experienced prospects!
        What’s he got? 150 billion innings in the minors?
        Joba needs some of that.

  • YankeeJosh

    230 year ld? Wow, if Hughes can share that formula with the rest of the team…

  • Johan Iz My Brohan

    After Verlander is Jackson right?

    Please tell me Halladay pitches against the Sox in their series geez…

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Hey the Yankees were able to put up a win against the Tigers when Jackson pitched…when he was out of the game…

    • http://forums.projectcovo.com/images/smilies/e6omir.gif OmgZombies!

      Were scared of no-name pitchers and big name pitchers. Can we have some damn confidence for our offense.

      • RAB poster

        So it’s the kind of all right pitchers we beat?

    • BklynJt

      My mind tells me hughes should be in the rotation, but my eyes and heart tell me he needs to stay in the pen. I’m sure that aceved could have also held this game long enough to get the win, but with the way joba and pettitte have given no distance lately, it would he tough to take out the versitility that Hughes provides out of the pen.

      Remember, there is no gaurantee that Hughes’ success transitions to the rotation, and more likely than not he he would give an average of 5-6 innings per outing based on his history. Unless we can replace hughes in the pen, it makes no sense to drastically weaken your bullpen for league average results this year. And yes I know this will probably prevent Hughes from being a full blown started next year.

    • RAB poster

      Yes, Halladay is pitching vs. the Sox.

      Expect the Sox to score 6 runs in five innings.

  • Tom Zig

    As much as I enjoy Hughes dominate in the bullpen I know that he would be most valuable in the rotation. Please tell me we are starting on the path to stretch him out?

    • Little Bill

      I hope so, but I doubt it. Hughes should be in the rotation, but Cashman can’t look Mariano in the eye and tell him he’s moving Hughes out of the bullpen. He can’t tell Mariano that he’s doing what’s best for the team.

      • Ivan

        Well Mo is God you know and Cash wanna go to heaven and stuff.

  • Ivan

    Tonight game was about the stars man. Teix hit the huge homer and Mo closing it out as usual.

    Hughes was just unbelievable man. His FB was just dominating and them Tiger hitters weren’t not even close of touching his FB which was consistent in the 94-97 MPH range. Just absolutely explosive. That was truly impressive.

    By the way, I always been Huge Hughes fan. Mainly cuz he was sorta “first” prospect. He change the culture of the yanke minor leagues and lead the way for the Montero’s and Joba’s and the Melancon’s of the world.

    Great win for the yankees and they go at it tomorrow. CC vs Verlander, that’s all you need to know.

  • 23-4EVER

    Its great to see Hughes do well, but his development is being delayed because of Wang, at this point is going on two years and three trips to the DL, find me a pitcher who returns to form after that much time…they are just not out there…the 19 game winner is not coming back…why the yanks seem so invested in rehabing a pitcher who they own no money or years to is confusing, I say cut your loses and be thankful they got so much from a one pitch pitcher…

    bottom line the sox won tonight, yanks are three back, joba has a innings cap, wang is lost, and pettite is terrible…assuming CC and burnett are great the rest of the year, which is not a given, I just dont see them catching the sox…by the way they won with buckholtz tonight, who they let pitch all year in the minors, while hughes gets jerked around…once again the sox make the yanks look stupid…

    • JobaWockeeZ

      His development is being delayed because of Wang? Really? Wang right now likely has little impact on Phil starting because the Yankees think its better for him pitching out of the bullpen. Otherwise Aceves would have never started or Mitre would not take the next start.

      This kind of subjective reasoning is the most irritating thing I have every heard.

      Phil Hughes 2009 Starting – 28.2 IP, 35 H, 20 ER, 13 BB
      Chien-Ming Wang AFTER DL Starts – 28 IP, 34 H, 20 ER, 11 BB

      The only way The Yankees are idiots compared to the Sox is having a more ignorant,less intelligent, spoiled fanbase that thinks their eyes + memory > stats. But it’s a coin toss to see who has the worse fanbase at this point.

      • Dorian

        Well done Joba. Excellent post. 4ever you just got owned.

      • Accent Shallow

        Difference in this case being that Hughes’ stuff looked to be there, whereas in Wang’s starts, we’re hoping he can get by on the four-seamer and the slider. I didn’t see a decent sinker from Wang after he left the pen.

        That doesn’t mean it’s not there, or that he’s not capable of it, but I’m skeptical.

        • JobaWockeeZ

          I agree that Wang is still struggling. But many people are ready to write him off while proclaiming Hughes as the savior of the rotation. I like both of them but its getting out of hand. But some fans have literally no patience and if he’s not good for one start it’s time to DFA. And if Hughes reverts to starting I’m sure he’ll get that treatment over a bad start. I want to see if Wang can be dominant again because if he’s dominant it’ll give the rotation a huge boost. Better than wasting our system for another starter which we may not need depending on his performance. So basically I’m rather annoyed at the patience level some Yankee fans have.

    • I post the exact opposite of what I mean

      You, sir, are not retarded.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      once again the sox make the yanks look stupid

      Yup. Giving Lugo 4/$36 was just pure genius, Theo.

  • Harry

    Hughes is fine where he is. Unlesss u like no one doing what he did ton.

  • Accent Shallow

    I missed this game due to female-related issues, but it’s nice to see Hughes obliterate the Tigers.

    Will be at the game tomorrow, hopefully.

    • pat

      Aunt Flo got you down?

      • Accent Shallow

        Ha ha. I meant “issues related to girls.”

  • jetersleftovers

    “I don’t agree with it — even with Chien-Ming Wang healthy, Hughes stands to be one of the Yankees five best starters. But it’s become clear that the Yankees value him in the bullpen for the time being. So it goes.)”

    F ing YEAAHHH bro!!!!!!!!!!! so it goes Hughes 7th-8th inning= ALDS

    • Mac

      Considering Pettitte is throwing to 4.85 era, saying Hughes could be one of the 5 best starters is pretty meaningless.

      Here’s the deal, Cashman blinked, he rushed Hughes and Joba to the majors when if he was truly serious about their development as starters, they would have thrown a full year in AA and AAA – at least.

      Both guys are effective with two pitches, they had alot more to learn and prove if they wanted to be starters – namely letting the league seeing them more than once and developing third and fourth pitches.

      Look at what Theo is doing with the Lap Top king.

      Also, look how fast things can change, i.e. Zumaya – makes me wonder about Joba’s future as a major league player – not starter or reliever.

      • Accent Shallow

        Here’s the deal, Cashman blinked, he rushed Hughes and Joba to the majors when if he was truly serious about their development as starters, they would have thrown a full year in AA and AAA – at least.

        Here’s a list of starting pitchers, in order, the Yankees used in 2007 before calling up Hughes:

        Pavano
        Pettitte
        Mussina
        Igawa
        Rasner
        Wright
        Karstens
        Wang

        Hughes had just spent 2006 obliterating AA. He should have been lower on the depth chart than ninth? Obviously, having him up in April was less than ideal, but when everyone is terrible or getting hurt, at some point you have to bring him up. It’s not like he was struggling in AAA, either.

        I’ll give you Joba. In a perfect world, he finishes 2007 at Trenton, and probably starts there in 2008 with a mid-season bump to Scranton. But they needed a reliever, and the rest is history. Probably not the best management of his development, but we can’t tell how it affects him long-term, yet. (Although it’s not looking as rosy as it did in mid-July 2008)

        Both guys are effective with two pitches, they had alot more to learn and prove if they wanted to be starters – namely letting the league seeing them more than once and developing third and fourth pitches.

        This applies to Hughes far more than it does to Joba — I’m not sold on the cutter as a third pitch, I’d much rather see the change (which was quite good in ’07). If everything’s working, Joba’s stuff is good enough to succeed as just fastball/slider — he just needs to do a better job mixing his pitches when it doesn’t. Both his curve and change have been effective in ’08 and this year.

        Look at what Theo is doing with the Lap Top king.

        Buchholz struggling means Theo’s smart? I think Buchholz and Hughes were in similar situations to start 2009 — first or second guy up in case of injury to the starting rotation. Buchholz doesn’t have the same issues as Hughes — his problem is fastball command (or lack thereof) as far as I’m aware. He has to learn to not pitch backwards.

        Also, look how fast things can change, i.e. Zumaya – makes me wonder about Joba’s future as a major league player – not starter or reliever.

        You’re worried Joba will injure his shoulder moving boxes during wildfires? Seriously, point taken. No one knows when/where freak injuries can occur, but no sense worrying about them. An anvil could fall on A-Rod tomorrow, but luckily we’re not living in a Wile E. Coyote cartoon.

  • jetersleftovers

    Have fun Clay when you blow your arm out

  • Mac

    No one ever posts a time frame when they think Joba and Hughes will be effective starters – for most it takes a few seasons.

    Hughes’s stuff is dominant out of the pen and he’s primarily doing it with the FB with alot more hair on it.

    I also notice no one is complaining of the low leverage innings he’s being “wasted” on.

    Here’s the deal – Cashman collected a bunch of journeymen and lesser prospects and put them in the pen – some were effective for a while, some out and out suck.

    Its amusing to hear people proclaim Melancon is the closer of the future or cite Dave Robertson’s college stats. The Yanks are a 200 mil team – they can afford to sign another fa starter in the offeseason and “sacrifice” a Hughes as the heir apparent to Mo.

    All those who say Hughes’s stuff as a starter was “there” were right in a sense – straight FB with less velocity and movement, good curve at times and nothing else.

    As for Cashman and his “verbal” committment to make Hughes and Joba starters, they’d be wise to go back over Cash’s track record with pitching – it sucks.

    Also the adage, Listen to what I say but watch what I do comes to mind.

    • Accent Shallow

      Its amusing to hear people proclaim Melancon is the closer of the future or cite Dave Robertson’s college stats. The Yanks are a 200 mil team – they can afford to sign another fa starter in the offeseason and “sacrifice” a Hughes as the heir apparent to Mo.

      At some point, all those FA contracts are going to catch up with you; you have to develop pitching from within. Yeah, Hughes has been great out of the pen, but is he really a true talent 0.89 ERA reliever? Not a chance. This is hilariously identical to Joba’s 2007 — the man put up a 1192 ERA+ (no, that’s not a typo) over 24 innings, and people thought he was really that good. It’s like they’d never seen a pitcher have a hot streak before.

      Maybe Hughes does profile best as a reliever — but you’d think one of those fawning scouting reports or prospect profiles on non-Yankee affiliated websites (Baseball America said he’d be a “homegrown ace” who’d be better than Wang. Maybe they meant v.2009 Wang?) But you don’t give up on him as a starter after 28 ML starts spread out over 3 seasons.

      As for Cashman and his “verbal” committment to make Hughes and Joba starters, they’d be wise to go back over Cash’s track record with pitching – it sucks.

      Because the Yankees haven’t developed pitching in the past, they won’t in the future? Come on! So Cash overshadows the talent of these two? Really?

  • cr1

    Let’s not forget, before we close the question of where Hughes belongs, that so far we have seen no hard evidence that he is physically able to take on the load of a full season as a starter while remaining healthy and effective. Will this be the year he stays off the DL? If so, will it be because he’s NOT starting?

    • Clayton

      Except for 2006 when he had 146 innings.

      • cr1

        True, I should have said no recent evidence. ’06 was a long time ago and before the intervening breakdown trend, but I should have remembered.

  • Paul

    The pitching will be fine but the Yankee outfielders just suck. Could Shelly do any worse then Swisher or Melky?

    • Nick

      Yes, he could. Its easy to be worse than Swisher and his .824 OPS.

    • pat

      Do you watch games? Are you even a Yankee fan? What the friggity fudge? Shelley Duncan is 29 with 250 mlb PA’s in his career. That should tell you all you have to know about Shelley Duncan.

      Great guy, not so great ballplayer.

      • pat

        ****Ahem, excuse me 148 plate appearances.

      • RAB poster

        I’d like to try him as a bench player to see if he could whack a baseball. But as a starter? LMAO.

      • Paul

        I have been a Yankee fan since 1953. I just don’t feel the current outfield is consistent enough, they certainly don’t match up with Boston.

  • Nick

    What’s wrong with 4-12 with RISP?
    That’s a .333 BA. If the yanks are expected to hit >.400+ with RISP, prepare to be disappointed.

    • http://www.onedayonejob.com/ Willy

      That’s what I was going to say! I think this is a great site, but sometimes they post ridiculous stuff like this. It drives me crazy. There was a similar note in the post on middle infielders from a few days ago about Cano’s performance—a sense of disappointment about a really freakin’ good stat line.

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

      It was late, I had a few in me, and I kept reading it as 3 for 12. My bad.

    • thebusiness

      3rd’d

  • zs190

    Interesting to see Phil has thrown almost 20% cutters (around 87-88 mph) according to fangraph and it’s been a great pitch for him, better than either his fastball or curveball in term of pitch value. I’m really encouraged to see that, it would help him a lot as a starter.

  • zs190

    Oh and I wonder how much of Phil’s aggressiveness in the bullpen is because he now throws 94-97 instead of 90-93 and knows that he can blow it by guys now? We’ve seen Joba throw 96-98 in the bullpen and he was really aggressive in the bullpen, he goes in rotation and throws 92-95 and all of a sudden he nibbles a lot, I sort of worry that might happen to Phil too if he goes into the rotation.

    • RAB poster

      Joba is really odd. He should be throwing 94-96 consistently, like he did last year out of the rotation. Something is wrong with Joba.

      Hughes when he goes back in the rotation will throw as hard as he did before.

    • Accent Shallow

      I don’t think throwing 92-95 is a bad thing for any starter, unless he’s going to nibble. That’s plenty hard enough to get hitters out.

  • NO

    Forget Halladay