Hughes solid as Yanks salvage series in Toronto


The first two games of the series were pretty ugly, but it looked like the Yankees woke up before the third game and continued to play well into the finale today. The 7-2 win salvaged the four-game series with a split, which is pretty good considering how the the games went on Thursday and Friday.

Look, it curved!

Phil Hughes, Actually Not Terrible

Earlier this week we passed along a story about how Hughes and pitching coach Larry Rothschild were working on a new/old curveball grip and refining his mechanics, exactly the kind of story I tend to brush off. I’ll believe it when I see it. A new grip/refined mechanics is the “best shape of his life” for pitchers; it usually means little and is more of an excuse. Well we saw the new curveball on Sunday. I can’t say I saw the change in mechanics, I don’t exactly have the eye for that stuff, but the curveball was noticeably sharper. It didn’t just float and tumble, it had actual bite.

Hughes averaged 91.25 mph with his fastball and topped out at 92.8, and he held it well throughout the game. He could barely go six pitches before his velocity dropped in April. The location was better as well. Toronto batters swung and missed at eight of his 80 pitches, six times at the fastball. Three of those whiffs came in one at-bat against J.P. Arencibia in the fourth, when Hughes fed him three straight fastball for the strikeout. It was the first time all year we saw him actually overpower a hitter. He got better and more efficient as the game went on, throwing 20 pitches in the first and 18 in the second, before 13, 14, six, and nine in his final four frames, respectively. The Blue Jays had four hits off him (two for extra bases) and drew two walks, but the important thing is that they fouled off just 13 pitches. Usually that number is in the 30′s for Phil.

It was an all-around solid performance against a generally mediocre offense missing its best player, but it’s the best Hughes has looked in quite some time. Joe Girardi lifted him after just six innings with those 80 pitches, but he probably could have run him back out there for the seventh. I can understand wanting to take him out on a high note, but at some point they have to start letting Hughes go 100+ pitches if they expect him to stay in the rotation the rest of the year. Looking ahead to the rest of the schedule, Phil’s next two starts will be at home against the punchless Athletics and Mariners. If that’s not a chance to build confidence, nothing is. Hughes took a positive step forward in this game, but nothing more. He’s not out of the woods yet.

I am your worst nightmare.

Brett Gardner, Leadoff Hitter

Yawn, three more hits and a walk for Gardner in this game, this time from the leadoff spot with Derek Jeter getting the day off. Gardner led the game off by falling behind in the count 0-2, working the count back to 2-2, then singling back up the middle after an eight pitch at-bat. He then stole second (his 11th straight successful steal) and scored on Nick Swisher‘s single. Gardner singled to right as part of a four-run fourth inning, coming around to score on Curtis Granderson‘s double. Gardner then beat out an infield single in the seventh (was erased on a fielder’s choice on batter later) and walked in the ninth, scoring on Granderson single after yet another steal (12th straight). He scored three of their seven runs.

All told, Gardner had ten hits and a walk in 17 plate appearances during the series, stealing three bases in three attempts and striking out exactly zero times. They might not let him through customs next time they’re in Toronto. He ran into a little rut in late-June/early-July, but Gardner is up to .286/.364/.418 with 26 steals on the season, and .326/.400/.480 in his last 255 plate appearances. It’s been obvious that he should be leading off for quite some time, and there’s really no reason not to with Alex Rodriguez hurt. Slide everyone down a notch so Derek Jeter bats second, Granderson third, Mark Teixeira fourth, and so on. Give me a valid reason why they shouldn’t. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

A Perfect Bullpen

The first two games of the series really taxed the bullpen, and Mariano Rivera had an uncharacteristically long outing on Saturday, so it was refreshing to see some solid bullpen work. Not just solid, perfect. Nine up, nine down for Cory Wade, David Robertson, and Boone Logan. The first two struck out one batter apiece while Logan fanned the side, including lefties Adam Lind and Travis Snider. Fine way to end the series.

On the base, not tagged. So much wrong on one play.


Gardner drove the offense, but Granderson also had a single and a double, Teixeira a single and a walk, Robinson Cano a single, and Swisher two singles. Russell Martin used the power of the Russtache to double the other way. He saw just six pitches in four plate appearances, though. The Yankees went a combined 5-for-8 with runners in scoring position. Hooray offense.

How bad is Angel Hernandez? He completely botched that play at first to end the third. The throw pulled Jorge Posada off the bag but apparently Yunel Escobar didn’t touch the base either. Posada then stepped on the bag, so Escobar’s out. Except Hernandez didn’t call him out, which prompted Posada to run over to tag Escobar. And Jorge didn’t even apply the tag, he missed, and Hernandez called Escobar out anyway. Brutal.

It doesn’t feel like it, but the Yankees are actually 4-2 in their last six games and 21-10 over the last month or so. They’re 34-18 since the six-game losing streak. That’ll do.

WPA Graph & Box Score

MLB.com has the box score and video, FanGraphs has the other stuff.

Up Next

From one artificial surface to another. The Yankees are off to Tampa for a four game series, which A.J. Burnett will open against rookie Alex Cobb on Monday night. The bad news: They’ve never faced Cobb before. The good news: Ken Singleton and David Cone will be in the booth all series.

Categories : Game Threads


  1. Thomas Cassidy says:

    Am I the only one with a feeling that Hughes will end up in the bullpen for some reason?

  2. Jerome S. says:

    TB will probably have to go Cobb tonight. By the time we play them Evan Longoria will be using third base as a pillow.

  3. Xstar7 says:

    David Cone for another 4 games?

    Me likey

    • Freddy Garcia's 86 mph Heat says:

      YES really needs to get them more games together. I can’t possibly see why they seem to have Flaharty over Coney.

      • Xstar7 says:

        Coney, Leiter, and O’Neill/Kenny is the ideal booth. Kay is infuriating and Flaherty is just awkward.

        • first time lawng time says:

          I love Paulie! I don’t mind Kay, actually. Other than his inability to read fly balls, I’ve always foun him entertaining. And his voice keeps you awake.

        • Freddy Garcia's 86 mph Heat says:

          I don’t hate Kay, except when he misreads a fly ball. I just think Kenny is a better PBP guy. And Flaharty is McCarver/Bobby V bad.

          • The Humongous says:

            DRIVEN DEEP!!!

            caught in front of the warning track …

            • Girardi Must Go says:

              Kay: “And just in case this is your first time watching baseball, if the batter bunts foul with two strikes he’s out”

              Every time he says it. Infuriating is a good word.

        • The Big City of Dreams says:

          Yea they need to build some continuity with the booth. The first step is to ditch Flash.

        • V says:

          Kay is infuriating in the same way that most mainstream announcers are infuriating – he assumes that his viewers are watching their very first ballgame and talks down to them.

          Hello – I bet ‘first time viewers’ are very low for most ballgames.

    • forensic says:

      I just don’t understand everyone’s obsession with Cone. This booth is boring the hell out me. If I have to hear Singleton tell us he did something one more time I’m going to snap,though he’s a little better than Cone, just not as the play-by-play guy. They’re barely a step about Flaherty.

      • Xstar7 says:

        Flaherty is so dry and uptight while Kay has no idea what he’s talking about (and doesn’t know how to read fly balls.) And they have the awkwardest moments in the booth together. They make Cone and Kenny seem like Vin Scully and Mel Allen.

  4. Jaremy says:

    Reason why Gardner shouldn’t be leading off: it puts arguably your second worst hitter in the 2-hole (where your best hitter should be, by the Book).

    • Thomas Cassidy says:

      I’d think your best hitter should be hitting 3rd. Time to switch Mark Giambi with Cano.

      • The Fallen Phoenix says:

        But you’d think incorrect. Best hitters should be 1, 2, and 4 (1 should be your best OBP guy, 4 your best power guy, 2 your overall best).

        • Thomas Cassidy says:

          I think it should be:


          Sorry, Jeter, you need to be at the bottom. It’s what’s best for the team. Since A-Rod is out, move everyone up a spot and have Nunez bat 8th in front of Jeter.

          • Xstar7 says:


            It’s never going to happen though.

            • Thomas Cassidy says:

              That’s what pisses me off the most. And I know it’s because he’s Derek Jeter. If he was anyone else he would be DFA’d, benched, or moved down.

              Girardi needs to ask himself if hurting Jeter’s feelings or winning is more important.

              • Xstar7 says:

                This is one of the few times he should actually consult his binder. Brett Gardner is a much better leadoff hitter.

              • David, Jr. says:


                Can anybody say that they have been a worse team this year when The Coach’s Son does not play? Go ahead.

              • Jim S says:

                No, he would not be DFA’d. He makes too much money, but he’s still a top 50% shortstop in the league.

                Moved down? sure. But don’t go overboard.

                • David, Jr. says:

                  People talk like this is about “What would Derek think of being moved down?”, as if the idea is somehow not to offend him. Is he running the f..ing team, or what the F is this?

                  They should be thinking like this: “This is now very obvious. We should be thinking about what the rest of the team thinks of this, not what he thinks.”

                  My solution: Flip Jeter and Gardner 1 and 9. Jeter leads off against lefties. Gardner leads off against righties.

                  Result: He saves some face, even though that shouldn’t be important. He is still decent against lefties, so it somewhat works. Most importantly, the team finally bites the bullet and begins an inevitable transition.

                  • Jim S says:

                    Nothing against this at all. I think most people would be on board with that solution.

                    The DFA talk though? Nonsense.

          • Kevin D. says:

            Cano should of had the 3-hole since the beginning of this season. If only Girardi could sack up and bat Gardner, Swisher, Cano, Arod, Tex, Grandy, Sado, Jeter, and Martin as our full lineup. I know that batting our MVP of this season in the 6-hole is a bit weird but this is only my foolish opinion. If only Grandy was a righty so I could bat him in between Gardy and Derby king.

      • Jerome S. says:

        2nd gets more PA’s. Ultimately, those add up over a season. The difference per game is probably slim to none.

      • CP says:

        According to The Book you’re wrong.

      • forensic says:

        I don’t get why people keep calling Tex the new Giambi. At Giambi’s best with the Yanks he was well over .400 in OBP and averaged .404 over his years in NY. Tex will never again sniff .400 in OBP here apparently.

        • Thomas Cassidy says:

          Because all he does is strike out and hit home runs. It’s not fun watching him hit like it was in ’09. His OBP is under .350. It should be close to if not over .400. At least he can field a baseball. When October comes, it’s not going to be pretty.

          • forensic says:

            I understand all that, but again, calling him Giambi is giving him too much credit at this point. Giambi was a very solid contributor even when his BA dropped because he was over or around .400 in OBP. He had several years of about 150 OPS+ with the Yanks. Tex is nowhere near that.

            Nobody wants to think about it since it’s all about the almighty rings for most people here, but Giambi was a better hitter than Tino Martinez, and Tex is much closer to Tino’s level right now than Giambi’s. Little more power than Tino, but less batting average, similar fielding.

            • Jerome S. says:

              Way more power, way more OBP than Tino. Tex’s ability as a hitter is as good if not better than Giambi, he’s just not there. That’s why this is so frustrating, because we know how good he really is.

              • forensic says:

                More power, but it’s coming at the expense of his BA and OBP. Obviously there’s time left this year and the rest of his contract, but right now his OBP is right at Tino’s average for his Yankee career, with that little more power and less average.

                Unfortunately, it almost seems like Tex is nearly satisfied with how he’s doing based on his comments yesterday that he’s happy hitting homeruns and that’s what he does. He’s one of my favorite players, I just wish he’d try to make some adjustments in his approach. There’s more to the game than just trying to hit a homer every AB.

                • Jerome S. says:

                  First of all statistically there really isn’t much more than hitting a HR every AB. But I see your point. He was once an all-round hitter who has become extremely one-dimensional. Doesn’t sound like a problem for K-Long.

                  • forensic says:

                    I understand that, but short of him hitting 150 homers in a season, forgive me for thinking the 550 AB’s where he doesn’t do that are more important in the long run than the 30-40 AB’s where he does.

                    • Jerome S. says:

                      No I’m in agreement with you; all he does is hit HR and nothing else, it’s pathetic. He should see Kevin Long, because really, what else is there to do?

            • CP says:

              In his first 3 seasons with the Yankees, Giambi averaged 3.9 bWAR (4.0 fWAR) per season. Tex has averaged 3.9 bWAR (3.8 fWAR) so far (Giambi missed about half his third season, so they’re comparable playing time now).

              Giambi was clearly better offensively, but his defense was so bad that they’re pretty close overall – with Tex likely gaining an advantage if he can stay healthy.

        • Brian S. says:

          Giambi was a better signing than Tex. I honestly didn’t expect that when we signed Mark.

      • bexarama says:

        Calling a hitter “_____ Giambi” is actually not an insult, I would take Giambi-like production from Tex right now.

  5. Dela G says:

    Looks like Cobb better pitch a complete game, since the rays bullpen will be gassed

  6. Thomas Cassidy says:

    Is there anyway I can get an e-mail or something whenever somebody replies to a post I’ve made? I hate having to scroll and refresh the page every few minutes. Am I missing something?

    • Avi Atkin says:

      No, the commenting system is in my opinion one of the biggest flaws of this otherwise terrific site.

      • forensic says:

        The only thing I wish for is a link at the top of the list of comments that would bring you to the bottom of the list. It’s easy to get there on a regular computer, but on the iphone/pad (don’t know about other mobile devices) it’s quite a pain to scroll all the way down, especially on long threads.

        • BklynJT says:

          There is a javascript line that you can add to your bookmark to do that for you. Google it, my iphone is out of commission so i dont have the bookmark anymore. Unfortunately you may never see this reply…

          • forensic says:

            hmm, I certainly see your reply (on a regular computer now) and will have to have my IT Department (wife) look into that for me. Thanks! :-)

      • FIPster Doofus says:


      • Mike HC says:

        Disagreed. I don’t really comment all that much anywhere else but here, so I may be a bit ignorant, but I love the comment section here. It is easy. Some other sites that have more complex comment sections or other features is a turn off to me, personally. Even when RAB experimented with the whole sign up and ability to delete your comment, I didn’t participate and thought it was a bit pointless and only slowed things down.

  7. first time lawng time says:

    which A.J. Burnett will open against rookie Alex Cobb on Monday night.

    YES! Finally I get to see AJ pitch!!!

  8. mbonzo says:

    Rays and Yankees are scoreless in the 13th right now. The longer this lasts the better. Both teams will deplete their bullpens, putting pressure on the Rays young pitcher tomorrow, and the Red Sox Wakefield tomorrow. This is a great opportunity for the Yankees. I hope this game goes to 20 IP.

  9. first time lawng time says:

    Yankees are actually 4-2 in their last six games and 21-10 over the last month or so. They’re 34-18 since the six-game losing streak

    New York Tankees.

  10. dkidd says:

    on days like today, it’s hard to believe the difference between jeter and gardner in the leadoff spot is only 1 win over a whole season

    • will says:

      Yeah, but if Gardner hit like he did today over an entire season, he wouldn’t only displace Jeter in the leadoff spot, he’d be considered one of the greatest players in the history of baseball.

  11. A-Rod's Wingman says:

    Well at least Tampa’s bullpen wont be fresh tomorrow.

  12. Zack says:

    Aceves pitched three innings…letting him go was one of the biggest gaffes we made.
    In the same breath, he DID put two batters on via a HBP..the Rays offense simply couldn’t do anything with it.

    • Riddering says:

      One of the giggest gaffes the Yankee org. made over the offseason or in the entire history of the franchise? Either way, I think the decision is given too much gravitas due to the fact that he has had success with the Red Sox.

      • Mike HC says:

        Definitely. If Ace was having success in the NL, it would still be a mistake to get rid of him, but it would not be noticed as much. The fact that our biggest rival for like a 100 years picked him up and is helping them out considerably really does kind of eat at me.

    • ItsATarp says:

      his ERA is decent, but his peripherals blow. Corey Wade has been better than Aceves this year. Even Ayala this year to some extent. His homerun rate is half his career line, while he has struck out less and less people while walking more people than his career line. He’s a okay long reliever, but we already have one in Noesi who has better upside.

      • radnom says:

        Corey Wade has been better than Aceves this year.

        You realize that you’re comparing someone (Wade) who has thrown 12 innings all year, to someone who has put up over 60 innings (Aceves)?

        Wades WHIP is not going to stay < .90 for much longer. This team would be better with Aceves – there is nothing wrong with admitting that.

  13. Oscar Gamble's Fro says:

    The Coach’s Son looked impressive yesterday. Good to see.

    Gardner is a Beast when he gets going. I don’t care if crunching numbers says putting him leadoff and dropping Jeter to 9th would result in a negligible win total for the season, when it comes playoff time, Gardner should be batting leadoff. He wreaks havoc on the bases with his speed and that’s huge come playoff time where everything is magnified.

  14. Oscar Gamble's Fro says:

    Speaking of Jeter, 1) missed Bob Sheppard’s funeral, 2) missed Monahan send off on Old Timer’s Day, 3) skipped ASG. All excusable based on circumstance or the actions of a self-absorbed guy who will never voluntarily step down in the line-up?

    • Monteroisdinero says:

      Jeets gets a pass. he always does.

      That 5/5 game will serve him well for the rest of the season no matter how poorly he performs. Such is life in Yankee and Girardi-land.

      With jeter, I’ll take 1/4 and no gidp in every game. my standards are low for him going forward.

      • nsalem says:

        Players with HOF careers and help deliver your team 5 rings tend to become icons and get passes that aren’t afforded to others. It’s just the way it is.

      • nsalem says:

        Players with HOF careers that help deliver your team 5 rings tend to become icons and get passes that aren’t afforded to others. It’s just the way it is.

    • Jim S says:

      If he were anyone else, excusable. Since he’s Derek Jeter and people can’t get over his salary and thus extend their hatred to everything related to him, I’m going to guess you’re on the side of choice #2.

      • Oscar Gamble's Fro says:

        No, I don’t kill him for it. I don’t give a shit that he didn’t play ASG (really, who fucking cares), he claims he missed Sheppard’s funeral because he didn’t know (if that’s to be believed, then he’s given a pass, but that seems almost not believable that he wouldn’t know) and I do think he shoulda been there for OTD and Monahan’s day, but he was apparently rehabbing so I guess you can’t kill him for that either.

    • Jim S says:

      And seriously, fuck everyone for bashing him over the ASG. ALL we heard for weeks was how it was a deplorable offense against humanity that he was voted in. Then people get their wish, get to see Asdrubal start, and keep on whining.

      Nothing to see here, business as usual, move along.

      • The Big City of Dreams says:

        I still can’t believe Richard Neer started off his morning show with Jeter not being as perfect as we make him out to be. I like Neer as a host on WFAN but I was shocked that A) he lead off the show with it and B) this it was still a topic. Throughout the program he said this doesn’t mean Jeter is fake or a bad guy. “In the grand scheme of things this isn’t a big deal”

        Not a big deal but yet you spent 4 hours taking calls on the topic you threw out to the audience. WTF

        • Mike HC says:

          Even Jeter is not immune to the public’s love of building people up, only to enjoy tearing them back down. And then rooting for the rise back up again when they felt he has been properly put in his place.

  15. El Anonimo says:

    Angel Hernandez FAIL.

  16. Monteroisdinero says:

    Did Phil throw any changeups?

    Maybe having confidence in his old curveball (without the knuckle spike grip) is all he needed. After all, an effective 76mph hook makes a 91/92 fb that much better.

    • David, Jr. says:

      It was a far better curve ball. You could see lots of out in front strides against it.

    • CP says:

      No changeups.

      On Lohud they had a quote from him saying basically that the couple of lefties in the lineup were good against changeups and so they didn’t use it because of their plan/scouting report. It didn’t have to do with not being comfortable with it or having a very effective curveball.

      • Mike HC says:

        I mean, it had a little to do with the fact his change up has not been that good. Plus, it was the first time he whipped the new, old curve out, and Hughes is more rested than most players at this point in the season, so it is not surprising he had a strong start. As Mike said, he is fortunate to get some patsy line ups coming up, and then we will see where he is really down the stretch.

  17. David, Jr. says:

    On the positive side, can’t say enough about the outfield. Durable, extremely productive, according to the numbers maybe the best fielding outfield in the league. Result of excellent player development. Gardy developed from within and use of prospects to obtain the other two. Top level management.

  18. Mike HC says:

    Worst ballpark ever coming up.

    “The Extra 2%” discusses how Tampa’s new, wallstreet, genius front office thought they could turn this ballpark into an asset, but even they have given up on doing that. Place is a fucking dump and terrible to watch a game in even on TV.

    • David, Jr. says:

      It is unbelievable. Second worst to the former Twins park (Metrodome) that I have been in. That was the outer limit. Even trash bags for outfield fences.

    • MikeD says:

      Shea Stadium was horrible, but I still think the worse was and still is that thing the Oakland A’s play in.

  19. Mike HC says:

    Girardi also mentioned in the post game interview that the extreme heat was the main reason they decided to take Hughes out, even though, obviously, Hughes was trying to convince them to let him back out there.

  20. Skip says:

    It seems to me like his mechanics are different. I don’t know enough to pinpoint it exactly, but he seems more straight up after he released the ball. His arm also seems to go across his body more, a la Justin Verlander. I don’t know maybe someone with a better idea of these things can break it down.

  21. Oscar Gamble's Fro says:

    June 16, 2011.

    “When [their pitcher] is leaving pitches over the plate, and they’re getting hit, they’re just trying to make excuses. Those things happen,” Andruw Jones said after Torrealba of the Rangers accused him of stealing signs.

    “He said something to me two nights ago,” Teixeira said. “But there’s really no reason to get into it because I didn’t have anything. Guys get paranoid. I told him I really don’t know what you’re talking about and that was it.”

  22. J. Scott says:

    I thought I heard Valentine say that once Escobar passed 1st he could not be retired by Posada’s stepping on the base.

    Also, did it seem to anyone else that Aceves appeared noticeably trimmer than he ever was while a Yankee? Looked quite a bit thinner to my eyes.

  23. watson says:

    It was a far better curve ball. You could see lots of out in front strides against it.

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