Sep
06

Homers doom Hughes, Yanks’ winning streak

By

All good things must come to an end, and that’s exactly what happened to the Yankees’ eight game winning streak today. The Blue Jays did what they do best, hitting the ball out of the park against Phil Hughes. Three different Jays went deep off the Yanks’ starter, and a few other tack on runs eventually put things out of reach. On the bright side, the Yanks did get their cleanup hitter back.

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Hughes Mistakes

As he gets further and further away from his previous career high in innings pitched, Phil Hughes appears to be becoming more and more prone to making mistakes. On a day when he otherwise looked pretty decent, Hughes made two glaring errors when he turned a pair of 0-2 counts against Vernon Wells and Aaron Hill into two-run homers. It was the same problem both times; a fastball that ran back in on the inner half and right into each batter’s wheelhouse. Hughes later hung a cutter to John Buck, who sent it into Monument Park for a solo shot. Three out of every four pitches Phil threw was a fastball, and Toronto’s hitters were teeing off on it.

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Aside from the longballs, which were obviously major mistakes and the reason the Yankees lost their first game in over a week, Hughes allowed four hits (three doubles, one of which was a ground rule double) and walked just one, striking out five. After consecutive starts with a season high five walks, the one free pass is a good sign. He still allowed way too many foul balls (24 out of 100 total pitches), but that appears to be par for the course these days. Certainly not his best outing, but I though Hughes’ stuff was pretty good. He just missed his spots a little too often and got beat.

Once Again, No Match For Cecil

The Yanks have faced Jays’ lefty Brett Cecil now four times this season, and each time they’ve walked away with a loss. They did, however, manage to score more than one run against him for the first time, knocking him out of the game with one out in the seventh and three runs on the board thanks to 11 baserunners. They had a few opportunities to do some damage, namely in the third (runners on first and second, two outs), fifth (same), sixth (man on second, one out), and seventh (first and second, two outs), but ultimately they couldn’t capitalize.

Cecil, a lefthanded changeup artist, has gotten the best of the Yankees each time out, so maybe it’s time to rethink stacking the lineup with righties against him. I mean, fool me once shame on you, fool me four times, shame on the strategy. Hopefully the guys keep that in the memory bank for next year and avoid another one of these messes.

Leftovers

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Alex Rodriguez‘s return to the lineup after a 15-day stint on the disabled list went fine; he legged out an infield single and later drove in a run with a line drive single to center. He also struck out looking to end the game, though the pitch did look a little inside. Alex also looked a-okay in the field, though he wasn’t tested with anything difficult. Even though the Yanks lost, it sure was nice having A-Rod back in the lineup.

Nick Swisher, meanwhile, looked pretty bad running down to first during his late pinch-hitting appearance. He was fine at the plate, but the limp was very, very noticeable once he tried to run. I’ll be surprised if he manages to play tomorrow. Austin Kearns played the field but did not bat, so who knows how his sore hand is doing. With he and Swish banged up, the outfield got real thin, real quick.

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

The Brett Gardner, Professional Lead-off Hitter™ experiment continues to be smashing success. He went 2-for-3 with a walk on Sunday, and has reached base 19 times in his last seven games atop the lineup. Gardner’s got a .467 OBP since August 13th. Studly.

Hughes had allowed two homers total on 0-2 counts in his career before this game, then he allowed two more. All but three of the 22 homers he’s given up this year have come at home, so if the Yanks start Hughes in the playoffs, I imagine they’ll try to get him out there on the road.

Jon Albaladejo hit Jose Bautista with his first pitch right between the numbers on his back, but don’t get too excited, it was a curveball. The Yanks held Bautista to one single and four walks in the series, much better than what he was doing to them earlier this year.

The Rays fell to the Orioles on Sunday, so the Yanks lead in the division remained at two-and-a-half games. With the White Sox beating the Red Sox and passing them in the Wild Card standings, the Yanks magic number to clinch a playoff spot remains at 17, good old Jerry Hairston Jr.

WPA Graph & Box Score

MLB.com has the box score and video, FanGraphs everything else.

Up Next

The Orioles roll into town for a Labor Day matchup on Monday. A.J. Burnett gets the ball against Brian Matusz during the Yanks’ fifth consecutive 1:05pm ET start.

Categories : Game Stories
  • mike c

    looks like pettitte’s hopeful return will end up pushing hughes to the pen. the 150 IP might be causing a little fatigue. it would probably give the kid a real shot in the arm if he can rest up a little bit and get his strikeout pitch back. i could see him being the setup man in october for sure

    • jonathan

      Isn’t it crazy how a few months can change a team? We were all counting on moving Phil to the pen in the playoffs to shore it up since we already had 4 other good to great starters, and now we have a dominant pen and 1 reliable starter. I was really hoping Javy would look better than he did against the Jays but at least Burnett has been getting swings and misses. I wish we started the year with Phil/Joba both in the rotation where they could limit each others innings. Wishful hindsight thinking.

  • jonathan

    I’d say move Granderson to the two hole but then we would have to have a much different lineup against lefties, even though Granderson has made SSS progress. Thoughts on lineup shifting (specifically moving Jeter WAY down)?

    • Jerome S

      YES OMG YES. I almost want to platoon him if this garbage continues.

      • http://www.twitter.com/jordan_smed JGS

        Who would hit against righties?

        • Jerome S

          SOME OTHER DUDE.

    • mike c

      i like jeter in the two, having gardner in front of him every day can help cut down on the GIDP’s, and tex, arod, cano, swisher, posada, thames/berkman, granderson is a fearsome lineup

      • Jerome S

        jeter. jeter. jeter. do something, damnit!! I recall a few times today the Yankees almost got a rally started, and then El Capitan came up and blew it. No. 2 is not the place for, no. 7 or 8 is now! I wish Girardi would grow a pair and be rough with Jeter, somebody has to do it.

        • David in Cal

          Yes, Jeter should be moved to the back of the lineup now. The Yanks can win a playoff spot with Jeter batting #1 oe #2, but for the postseason we need the best lineup. However, it will be worse if Jeter is pushed back for the first time during the post season. I say move him to the end of the lineup now, so the fuss will have blown over when post season begins.

      • larryf

        the only way it cuts down on gidp’s is if Gardy steals or they hit and run. If they pitch out, it still takes a perfect throw to get him. It stinks that we have these decisions to consider but Jeets makes us think of ways to minimize his damage…

    • Mattchu12

      Someone talked about Granderson as the nine hitter a while back, and I really like the idea of it. You would have him as a second leadoff hitter, and Granderson-Gardner would be the toughest DP in all of baseball.

      You could bat him more towards the heart of the order against righties if he is really hitting well.

  • Jerome S

    Tomorrow, on Mike’d Up:

    Caller, in irritatingly dumb NY accent: Don’t you think it’s a bit odd that the team does fine until A-Rod comes back?

    Mike: Absolutely not, he went 2-5, you’re an absolute fucking numbskull who should be crucified.

    • Pasqua

      I think your Francessa is a little too nice there.

  • Jerome S

    It just occurred to me, tomorrow, who do we want to win… Tampa or Boston? Boston, right? (ouch!)

    • http://twitter.com/marcos_aguirre Marcos

      A meteor to fall on fenway?
      End in a tie ala 2002 ASG?
      Something else?

      • Jerome S

        Actually, with Boston now third in the wild card race, the best thing to hope for would be for them to win (shudders), then to see us win and Detroit win of the White Sox. Best case scenario.

        • http://Twitter.com/marcos_aguirre Marcos

          I know that it is in our best interest for Boston to win, but the day I root for the Sox is the day he’ll freezes over!

  • The209

    Glad Buck joined the O’s so late … wouldn’t want to face them in the postseason.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      the Orioles?

      I know they’ve improved since Buck came along, and a lot, but really?

      • Chris

        I wouldn’t want to face them in the playoffs because the Orioles making the playoffs is the first sign of the coming apocalypse.

      • larryf

        so they were 32 out before Buck and now they are…..

        35 out

        • Pasqua

          But…but…but…the energy! The enthusiasm! The grit and hustle!

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUvg7Empjfg Captain Jack

    I blame A-Rod and the Rothschilds.

  • Stryker

    wow, a rough loss after an 8 game winning streak really brings out the crazies, doesn’t it.

  • Wil Nieves #1 Fan

    Papelbon’s disastrous save attempt makes this loss tolerable. In fact, I think I would have traded a win for his blown save. It was oh so0o0o0o0o0o0 good.

  • cuponoodles

    Well, in lighter news, who thought Brett Gardner would be a 5 WAR player this year (6th in all of baseball outfielders)?

    • larryf

      taking a ton of pitches, having great speed and being an excellent 2 strike hitter all bode well for his future. He had infield hits to start the last two games against Toronto that probably no one else on the team would have reached base on. His arm in LF is surprisingly strong-what an upgrade over Damon out there!

  • Rob Has no Innings Limit

    Open question to nobody in particular:

    If I had told you that at the start of September, Jeter, A-Rod, Teixeira and Posada would all have averages in the .260s, and the #2 starter would have an ERA way north of 5, what would you say is the state of the franchise?

    Would you ever guess they have the best record in baseball, and aside from one other team, it’s not even close?

    Imagine if they fire on all cylinders for 3 weeks in October. I still don’t think we’ve seen this team play fully to its capabilities for any extended period of time.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      I still don’t think we’ve seen this team play fully to its capabilities for any extended period of time.

      Agreed. 100%.

    • Pasqua

      BUT, while Jeter, A-Rod and Tex have down-year, overall numbers (I think it’s fair to say that Tex is firing on all cylinders recently) you also have to consider that the production has been better than expected from other guys: Swisher (especially), Gardner, even Thames.

      I’m not trying to throw water on your comment – to a degree, I think (and HOPE!) you’re right – but just because the big boys have slipped, it doesn’t necessitate that the whole team is playing below its capabilities. In some respect, the Yanks have lucked out and been able to absorb the inconsistent play of some because of the excellent play of others.

  • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

    Maybe I’m reaching here but I feel like Phil is getting much more of a pass for his post IP high struggles than Joba did last year.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      Agreed. Also, Hughes hasn’t been totally dicked around with his schedule so he has less excuses. And Hughes is much further along in his development than Joba was at the time.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      He is, for the same reason Alex gets crucified for doing/saying the same thing that Jeter gets a pass for.

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

      You don’t think Hughes this year has been better than Joba last year, even over the last two months or so?

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        Since he has been better up until the last two months shouldn’t he be getting more criticism for his struggles than Joba was?

        I actually don’t think Hughes does deserve more, but I think Joba deserved a lot less last year. So maybe the media is just growing as people (not), or maybe Joba is just a lightning rod disliked by many.

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

          Ah I see. We never trashed Joba (that much) last year, but we did trash the Joba Rules. They were retarded.

          • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

            We never trashed Joba

            I certainly don’t mean you guys. I do think the media and the fans in general were all over Joba’s late season performance last year in a way that they aren’t over Hughes this year. Hughes seems to have a lot more rope than Joba.

          • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

            I think the rules were good in theory, but executed terribly.

        • Pasqua

          The Joba situation last year was a perfect storm for the media. You had very unimpressive results from Joba, mixed with unbelievably frustrating and mind-boggling “rules.” All of this added up to a feeding frenzy for the MSM. In Phil’s case, there’s just not that much to attack. Some starts are solid, others poor. He’s pitching “normal” innings per start. More or less, Phil has been treated like any other young pitcher.

    • Mike HC

      It all goes back to the fact that so many people see Joba as a closer (or 8th inning guy, er, 6th inning guy) long term and Hughes as a starter long term. So when Joba struggles, people have something to yell about (“to the 8th!!!”) but when Hughes struggles, there is nothing they can say but (“he will work it out?”).

      It is just an extension of the B-Jobber debates.

  • kosmo

    I wonder come playoff time if Girardi resorts back to the 2009 3-man rotation of CC,AJ and Andy ? Right now it looks like a wing(CC) and a prayer(everyone else).

  • Betsy

    http://www.nj.com/yankees/inde.....tches.html

    I posted this last night, but it was a bad link – sorry!