At one point during the Yanks’ 3-2 win over the A’s on Wednesday night, I found myself becoming fairly irate at Joe Girardi. Alfredo Aceves had just danced his way through the sixth inning, giving up a solo home run to Jack Cust, and with the Yanks up 3-1, it was a perfect time to get Phil Hughes in the game for two innings.
Girardi, however, had other plans. Aceves came back out for his third inning of work, and he got the first two outs on strike outs. Three straight singles brought the A’s to within a run. Out went Aceves and in came a different Phil. Mr. Coke retired Ryan Sweeney, and the Yanks held that 3-2.
In the eighth, Hughes made his appearance. That sacred eighth inning apparently is the only one Hughes, three months’ removed from his job as a starting pitcher, can handle. Unsurprisingly, Hughes was a little rusty. He hadn’t pitched since August 14, and he had thrown just 5.2 innings this entire month. With a day off tomorrow, he should have gone multiple innings. Instead, he went walk, single, double play, fly out. A whopping 18 pitches later, Hughes was out of the 8th and out of the game. Mariano Rivera recorded the final three outs, and all was right in the world.
As gripes go, mine concerning Hughes is rather minor. The Yanks are 31 games over .500 with the best record in baseball. The worst outcome this weekend would leave the team with a 3.5-game lead in the AL East while the best could extend them to 10.5. They are in the driver’s seat. But still, I can’t help but worry about Hughes’ future. He’s a starting pitcher, and he should be given the innings this year that will allow him to excel next. The Yankees have different plans, and I’ll just have to live with that.
Meanwhile, as to the rest of the game, it was another quick affair. This one took two hours and 39 minutes. It started with Chad Gaudin, and he was OK. He made it through just 4.1 innings due to both his pitch count and his inability to stay out of trouble. While he gave up just one hit, he walked five and struck out five. He left the game with the bases loaded following a Robbie Cano error.
Offensively, this one was about the top of the lineup and Mark Teixiera. Johnny Damon, Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira went a combined 5 for 12 with three runs scored. Teixeira hit a two-run shot in the fourth and was responsible for all three of the Yankee RBIs. The rest of the lineup went 1 for 20 with a walk.
With their win, the Yanks wrapped up a very successful 5-2 West Coast trip. They’re 14-4 on the month of August. They’re en route to Boston with a two-game winning streak under their belts and a rosy outlook indeed for their day off.