Yanks atone for afternoon loss, ride pitching to 8-0 win

Melancon slams the door in SWB win
Doing the DH shuffle

Normally when you see an 8-0 final score you figure it’s a combination of offense and pitching that gets the job done. Yet for the first eight innings it was all pitching. The Yanks manufactured two runs early, and from there Phil Hughes took control. It wasn’t until the top of the ninth that the Yanks’ offense broke out and scored six runs. Hopefully that starts a variant of the O’Neill Effect and spurs the offense to another big day tomorrow.

Biggest Hit: Teixeira hits it where they ain’t

Photo credit: Duane Burleson/AP

Many teams employ a shift against Mark Teixeira when he bats lefty. It makes sense. Just look at his spray chart against righties. With Derek Jeter standing on second, though, the Tigers couldn’t really afford to do this. They had to play him with just two defenders on the right side, and that left a hole ripe for a ground ball. Teixeira didn’t hit it well, really, but it was good enough to get past Miguel Cabrera and into the outfield. Jeter came around to score, giving the Yankees a 2-0 lead.

Teixeira has been heating up lately, though he hasn’t hit full breakout mode. Despite his poor numbers so far, he has actually been superb with runners in scoring position. Before the first game today he was hitting .321/.500/.536 when in position to drive home a run, which explains why he now has 23 RBI even while hitting far below his abilities.

WPA doesn’t consider external factors like the lineup or the pitcher, but if it did this hit would have been even more important. With Phil Hughes on the mound and cruising, the Tigers couldn’t afford to give up that run. Hell, the way things ended up they couldn’t really afford the first-inning run.

Biggest Pitch: Brennan Boesch loads them up

Only once did Phil Hughes run into a problem. In the fourth inning, not long after the Yanks spotted him a second run, he made his first mistake of the game by walking Johnny Damon with none out. Magglio Ordonez followed with a single of his own, and after Miguel Cabrera lined out to short Brennan Boesch grounded one to right field. It was hit hard enough that Damon couldn’t score from second, but it still set up the Tigers with an opportunity to get back in the game.

The Tigers have a potent offense, but it starts to tail off after Boesch. Hughes took advantage of the weak part of the lineup, striking out Alex Avila on three pitches and then getting Don Kelly to pop up. Hughes has certainly impressed with men on base this year. It seems like he always has the situation under control, which is a huge change from 2008, when it seemed like death every time he let a runner reach base.

Biggest Out: Hughes quells the minor threat

Photo credit: Duane Burleson/AP

While Hughes rolled through the first six innings, the Yanks offense didn’t do a ton to help him. They scored two runs to that point, far below what we’ve come to expect from this crew. So when Boesch reached out and hit a bouncer up the middle, he gave the Tigers another chance. Unfortunately, though, that same weak bottom of the order that killed the fourth inning rally was again due up.

Hughes threw a cutter down and in to Avila, and he grounded it right to Pena at short. A flip to Cano and a throw to first erased both Tigers, killing a potential rally. It was the last trouble Hughes would face. Though Kelly blooped one to keep the inning alive, Hughes got Ramon Santiago to hit an infield pop up, ending the inning.

Hughes kept a rollin’, all night long

No recap would be complete without fawning over the performance of Phil Hughes. His seven-inning shutout lowered his ERA to 1.38. He added to his gaudy strikeout total by fanning eight, and walked only one Tiger. Only Miguel Cabrera connected for an extra base hit, which is always excusable. Dude could be the AL MVP this year.

The best part about Hughes’s performances is that his peripherals justify his results. No, he’s not going to sustain a 1.38 ERA. Pitchers just don’t do that these days. But if he keeps up his current strikeout, walk, and home run rates — and even if the home run rate increases — he’ll be just fine so long as the defense doesn’t revert to 2005 form.

After the game he sports a 2.61 FIP, which certainly bodes well for his future starts. His xFIP sits a bit higher because he has allowed just one homer all year, but I do wonder how much of that is skill-based. He has used the cutter later in the count, preventing hitters from squaring up pitches. He’ll hang a curve or let a fastball get too much of the plate from time to time, but the way he’s pitching now I expect his home run rate will remain below league average.

Joys

Other than Hughes? A-Rod‘s single in the first was quite nice. He hasn’t hit for much power this year, but he can still knock home a runner on second with a well-placed single. It’s not the height of his value, but it will do for now.

Teixeira hitting right into where the shift would have been.

Greg Golson‘s first major league hit was pretty sweet. He had a nice looking looper in his next at-bat, too.

Seeing Mariano for the first time in what feels like all season.

Starters in the double-header: 14 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 15 K. Bullpen: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K. How the hell did they split?

Annoyances

Swisher day to day? Seriously? These nagging injuries happen, so under normal circumstances it wouldn’t be annoying. I suppose having Park, Aceves, Granderson, and Johnson on the DL makes it sting a bit more.

Really, though, was there anything to be annoyed with in this game?

WPA Graph and Box Score

I could totally dirtbike down this WPA graph.

I could not, however, dirtbike down the boxscore.

Up Next

They keep saying that tomorrow’s game will be rained out, but I’ve never trusted a weatherman before, and I don’t plan to start now. Game’s at 1, and it’s CC vs. Verlander. In one way, I hope they get it in. In another, I’m going to the games on Friday and Sunday, and I’d rather see CC and Pettitte rather than Burnett and Mitre.

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Melancon slams the door in SWB win
Doing the DH shuffle
  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime (Optimovelist Primus)

    Fun with statistics!

    Hughes has 39 strike outs. That’s more than CC or AJ (or anyone else in the rotation), and CC and AJ each have made one more start.

    His WHIP is 0.89. Greinke, last year, through six starts was 0.84.

    Hughes has a h/9 of 5.07. That pace, if kept up, would set a single season record.

    If you don’t like statistics, then know this:

    Hughes has started six games.

    He’s allowed six runs.

    Total.

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime (Optimovelist Primus)

      *WHIP of 0.92. Still.

  • http://www.soxandpinstripes.net JGS

    Hughes through 6 starts: 39 IP, 1.38 ERA, 0.923 WHIP, 2.79 K/BB

    for comparison,

    Halladay through 6: 49 (!) IP, 1.47 ERA, 0.878 WHIP, 9.75 K/BB
    Lincecum through 6: 42.1 IP, 1.70 ERA, 0.827 WHIP, 7.0 K/BB
    Ubaldo through 6: 41.1 IP, 0.87 ERA, 1.016 WHIP, 2.75 K/BB
    2009 Greinke through 6: 45 IP, 0.40 ERA, 0.844 WHIP, 6.75 K/BB

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime (Optimovelist Primus)

      And it should be noted that Halladay, Lincecum and Ubaldo get to pitch to pitchers once every 9 batters.

      And, well, NL line ups.

      • Salty Buggah

        And Hughes had a bit of a walks issue to begin the year and also got squeezed mightily in one of his 6 starts.

  • BigBlueAL

    Hughes looking like an All-Star this season.

    I know its waaaaaaaaay early to worry about this but with Hughes on an innings limit what will happen come playoff time (assuming of course Yanks make playoffs) because Hughes will definitely be worthy of being in the playoff rotation, hell he could wind up being the #2 starter behind CC. It was easy last year with Joba because they just stuck him in the bullpen come playoff time plus quite frankly by the end of the season he had no business starting a playoff game but Hughes this season looks like will certainly be a different situation.

    Again sorry because I realize I am getting way ahead of myself…..

    • The Trooper

      Innings limit worries me…which is why I’m concerned with the rotation’s depth.

  • pat

    7 swinging strikeouts, one guy frozen on 93 mph philthball at the knees on the inside corner.This video is also kinda funny because of the bits of conversation picked up in each clip.

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime (Optimovelist Primus)

    In his last three starts, Hughes has a 21/3 K/BB. Fun.

    • BigBlueAL

      You are having a little too much fun with all these Hughes stats tonight. lol

      • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime (Optimovelist Primus)

        It’s my crack.

  • Hey ZZ

    Phil Hughes is the best starter in the AL so far this season.

  • http://twitter.com/rebexarama bexarama

    Hughes is good y’all

    Also, the Yankees have two of the top five pitchers in AL ERA :D :D :D

    • http://twitter.com/rebexarama bexarama

      and it’s the two homegrown guys to boot. (okay, calling Andy homegrown is a little dubious at this point, but he still counts.)

      • Tom Zig

        Homegrown is homegrown.

      • Chris

        I don’t think it’s dubious to consider him home grown. He came back to NY because that’s where he developed. It’s not like he went out on the open market and the Yankees just out bid everyone – he would only sign with the Yankees (and maybe Houston).

        • http://twitter.com/rebexarama bexarama

          You’re right, I’m just paranoid because of all the “BUT HE WAS A FREE AGENT!!!!” Yankee haters when Yankee fans bring up the homegrown players.

          Plus he keeps coming back to us because he loves meus. :D

    • BigBlueAL

      Im still offended you said that apparently I only come around when things are going badly to complain because I made my 1st comment today complaining about the lineup for Game 2 shortly after it was announced and I read about it on Twitter on the Game 1 thread which if you noticed I never commented during the game complaining!!!!

      Ive been around here since 2008 but havent been able to comment much during this season so far. It was fun tonight during Game 2 since TSJC was around too but while I have no problems taking shots at moves Girardi makes its only on a game-by-game basis. I am not and never have been one to react like some idiots who will take a game like earlier today’s and make it seem like the Yankees are in trouble and that Cashman sucks etc.

      I understand getting frustrated by trolls but trust me Im not one of them so sorry if people were complaining too much during Game 1 but again I wasnt one of them!! Anyway I enjoy your comments but please next time dont go lumping me in with the real pain in the asses around here especially since I havent even been commenting much around here lately!!

      • http://twitter.com/rebexarama bexarama

        I didn’t see your response after my post; I am really sorry. I know I have seen you around, I think I was just irritated and taking it out on the random trolls/people who were just saying negative stuff over and over. Again, I’m really sorry.

        • BigBlueAL

          LOL yeah I figured it was tough during the first game. Trust me no hard feelings at all :-)

          • http://twitter.com/rebexarama bexarama

            yay – and again, I feel awful if I insulted you.

            • BigBlueAL

              Trsut me it takes alot more than that to insult me!! Just wanna be cool with the regulars around here, especially the female ones!! :-)

  • A.D.

    2nd game was good enough for me to forget game 1.

    Do we see roster moves tomorrow?

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime (Optimovelist Primus)

      Jennings says no. Rainout’s likely and the Yanks only used five pitchers all day and no reliever went more than an IP.

      • BigBlueAL

        I was hoping to finally get Miranda up and send down Russo.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

    As much as I hate the idea of Joba rotting away in the bullpen … Hughes-to-Joba-to-Mo does have a cool ring to it.

    • BigBlueAL

      I smell a new RAB t-shirt slogan.

    • http://twitter.com/rebexarama bexarama

      Huuuuughes Mo-Job?

      And then once Chan Ho Park gets back we can have HoMoJobs?

      ……. I feel awful for making this post.

      • http://www.soxandpinstripes.net JGS

        Mo-Job just sounds wrong

    • Chris

      I have a feeling that the Yankees believe Hughes’ development as a pitcher and his success as a starter this year are tied to his having spent last year in the pen. It will be interesting to see how the Yankees handle Joba next year, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him back in the rotation – with extra confidence gained from this season spent as a reliever.

    • mike c

      especially when Joba comes in throwing 97 and strikes everybody out

  • HUGHES12

    Now starting for the American League All-Star Team…..number 65….Phillip Hughes…..number 65

    • Klemy

      Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime (Optimovelist Primus)

    Last one for the night, before I bask in the Hughsien glory:

    Comment left for me at LoHud:

    # Pat M. May 13th, 2010 at 12:12 am

    Rebecca……Of the 6 runs that he’s given up, remember 3 of them were inherited runs charged to him…….

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime (Optimovelist Primus)

      *2 runners. BP confirms.

  • Hey ZZ

    The Tigers were sitting on fastball today. You could see it in the first 2 innings.

    They got a couple of decent swings off it at first but once Phil recognized what they were doing and showed a few good curveballs, they had no chance.

    Hughes dominated another lineup with almost exclusively fastball, cutter. And this is a team with a several guys in their lineup that know what to do with a good fastball. Miguel Cabrera especially and Phil blew one by him to strike him out. That is impressive.

    His fastball has truly become a special pitch. One of the best in the game.

    And this is not a 23 year old who you are going to see take the usual lumps a young starter takes. He is on the mound and attacks relentlessly. No nibbling whatsoever. He almost never wastes a pitch. He is not out there setting up guys like most pitchers and he is not out there burying 0-2 curveballs in the dirt to try to get guys to chase. He says here it is. Let’s see if you can hit it. Very few vets have that kind of composure or mound presence let alone a 23 year old.

    Phil is already a better “pitcher” (and I mean this as much more than just the results so far) than most guys in the AL. If he stays healthy, he is going to have a very, very special career.

    • A.D.

      They loved climbing the ladder on AJAX with excellent success

      • Klemy

        I’m wondering if that shows others how to get him out a bit more and drop that gaudy average he’s been carrying? I’m happy for Austin however.

  • Brooklyn Ed

    Phil Hughes for Cy Young.

    /oh yeah I said it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/adorador Ray Fuego

    After following Hughes all the way up through the minors I love seeing him have this success, every time he took the mound I hoped he would have the success like he is having now. This is the Phil Hughes we have been waiting for, this is the Hughes we all knew we had. I’m hoping for a Cy Young award soon to smash some folks in the mouth with ;)

  • Salty Buggah

    Found this on Twitter: http://farm5.static.flickr.com.....46cd0a.jpg

    Hughes is awesome. That is all.

    • http://www.soxandpinstripes.net JGS

      That is amazing

    • http://twitter.com/rebexarama bexarama

      ahahahhahah that is amazing!!!

  • Neil B.

    Only Miguel Cabrera connected for an extra base hit, which is always excusable. Dude could be the AL MVP this year.

    you know, the way Hughes has been pitching this year to date, i’m not sure who “Dude” was referring to in that sentence.

    • http://enternight.mlblogs.com Ana

      Actually, when I read it last night, I assumed it was referring to Hughes. Now I see that it was Cabrera, but it’s a natural mistake to make.

  • Brian

    Wow. Just take a look at who is leading the American League in wins (tied), of course it is Hughes, and who is leading the National League in wins. Tyler Clippard. This is some kind of joke from the Ghost of Pinstripes Plus Past.

  • http://twitter.com/riddering Riddering

    Hughes is a beast. Remember when we were all worried about the bullpen with Javy and Hughes starting?

    Screw the weather forecast and screw the possibility of Swisher being out. I’m sitting in RF and I want the happiest walkingest RF in modern NY baseball to be there. Failing that, I want moderate dampness and CC dominance.

  • dark side of the goon

    Hughes is badass and Mo is still Mo (Thank Mo!)

  • Brian in NH

    but I’ve never trusted a weatherman before,

    yeah you and larry david

  • Joe R

    You forgot to add in “Things that are annoying” the interview with Kay/Singleton & Eminem/Jay-Z. That was just down right awful to listen to. You could tell how badly they wanted to get out of there and Singleton hadnt the slightest clue what he was talking about. Best part was when he was talking to Em and he was like, “You used to do poetry there right?” and Em just flat out said no. Lol.

    • Jammy Jammers

      Actually Eminem’s response was ‘Poetry?’. Then he said he’s performed at a million places in the area. Then Jay-Z said ‘all rapping is poetry’. That’s how I remember it.
      Eminem probably said it once in an interview, as all rappers do, while being pretentious. I like Eminem. I’m just keepin’ it reals, yo.
      Jay-Z was the overly nice ‘white guy’ character and Eminem was the ‘semi-angry emotionally distant minority’ character. But I guess that’s how those two normally roll.

    • Klemy

      It was uncomfortable at first for sure. That interview probably should’ve never happened, but I I agree with Michael kay in one respect. I would pay to hear Waldman and Sterling do that interview.

  • larryf

    Ajax could not lay off the high heat and could not handle it. Strike out total for him this year? I love that cervelli set up inside SO many times and Phil just challenges guys with his fastball. Awesome.

    Gardner had a bit of a tough time with the huge strike zone but I love that guy.

    When will the Yanks put his jersey/Tshirt in the gift shop? Jeeeez!

    • YankeeScribe

      AJax looked overmatched at times by Hughes and Joba but so did most of the Tigers lineup.

      Cervelli has had some excellent atbats over the past few games. I also like what I’ve seen from Gardner so far this season

  • whitey

    Grit is 3-5 1SB 1 run scored 1 RBI and he doesn’t make the joy list? yikes:)

    • pat

      Just another ho hum day for gritner.

      • larryf

        Gritsky

  • JohnC

    Looks like Yanks have exposed a weakness in Austin jackson. Can’t catch up to the high fastball, and can’t seem to lay off them either. Lets see how he adjusts now.

  • coolerking101

    How about under “annoyances” Girardi starting Pena both games rather than giving Russo a shot.

  • Sweet Dick Willie

    Another good result of a rainout today: Verlander would start against the Sux on Friday night.

    • Klemy

      I guess Boston worries me a lot less having seen them play lately. They seem to be a different team than everyone expected going in.