Bats back Hughes as Yanks pound Twins

Phelps rocked in return to SWB
The Rookie of the Year race
(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Benjamin Franklin once wrote in a letter a famous phrase concerning life’s certainties. “In this world,” he said, “nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Of course, the famous Philadelphian lived long before the Yankees and Twins had a chance to face each other. Had he done so, he might have added a New York victory over Minnesota to that short list.

For the fourth time this year and for the 21st time in their last 24 meetings, the Yankees walked away winners in a contest against the Twins. Phil Hughes pitched into the 8th for the first time since September and Russell Martin blasted a pair of home runs to give the Bombers a comfortable 8-1 victory. For Hughes, it was his fourth strong start in a row, and for the Yanks’ offense, it was business as usual.

Tonight marked my fourth game this week on the road with the Yankees. I start work in September, and I wanted to see some baseball in the meantime. I spent two days in Kansas City, and I’m in Minneapolis for the four-game set. I’ve enjoyed the barbecue and beer in Kansas City and two days of Jucy Lucy’s and Blucy’s so far in Minneapolis.

During my travels, I’ve spoken with a lot of friendly midwesterners who seemingly fit my stereotypical view of the rest of the country I developed while growing up in New York. They’re always open for conversation and passionately love baseball. In Kansas City, the fans talked about economic imbalance and the impressive display of power and patience from the Yanks. They were thrilled to see the Royals win on Wednesday simply because they don’t expect Kansas City to trump the Yanks.

In Minnesota, the attitude is somewhat different. While only 22,000 fans showed up at the K for the Yankee series and most of those were New York fans, Target Field is filled to the brim with Twins fans who are passionate about their team. Tonight was the club’s 51st sellout even though the team is struggling in a weak division. Some in Minneapolis say that’s a new phenomenon brought on by a gorgeous open-air stadium and a successful team, but it doesn’t matter. They know their Twinkies, and they know that the Twins simply cannot beat the Yankees. That 21-3 record covers two post-season series and the past three years. They expect the Yanks to walk away victorious.

Tonight, the story was no different. Trevor Plouffe gave the Minnesota fans brief hope as he deposited a 0-1 pitch from Phil Hughes into the left field seats, but after that, it was all Yankees. The Bombers scored eight unanswered runs. The Yanks’ 25-year-old right-hander was the story of the night. He threw 7.2 innings and gave up just a pair of hits while walking three and striking out two. He didn’t have his best stuff really as he generated just two swings-and-misses. He was sitting comfortably in the low 90s, a tick or two lower than we’d like, but the Twins couldn’t square up against him.

For Hughes, this was his fourth straight strong start. Over his last 25.2 innings, Hughes has allowed five earned runs on 18 hits and five walks with 15 strike outs. With Freddy Garcia on the DL for another week and a double header looming, the Yanks don’t have to make a decision on a five-man rotation for at least another two Hughes’ starts. It’s hard to see, however, the Bombers removing him from the rotation right now. He’s been throwing strong and steady lately.

The offense meanwhile plated another eight runs like it was nothing. Russell Martin blasted a pair of home runs to give him 15 on the season. It was his third multi-homer game of the year, and for a night at least, we could forget about his post-April offensive struggles. Derek Jeter added a pair of hits and two runs scored while Mark Teixeira drove in three which included his 1000th career RBI. That 8-1 win was easy as they get.

Phelps rocked in return to SWB
The Rookie of the Year race
  • Esteban

    Whoa a Ben recap!

  • bk

    Good luck at your new job.

  • Phil Phuckin’ Hughes

    That was remarkably Phast. You must have started during the game, obviously.

    • Esteban

      I’m actually enjoying your shtick.

    • CMP

      That was definitely Phirst half Phil today, not the Philsbury Doughboy who started this season

      • Phil Phuckin’ Hughes

        Very Phunny CMP

        • Professor Plum

          He was Philnomenal today.

  • Drew

    Anyone still want to trade Hughes for Ubaldo???????


    • Michael Kay

      Of course. Ubaldo had more wins than Hughes. But AJ Burnett is still the #2 starter.

      • Michael Kay


    • FIPster Doofus

      I’d trade him for Kevin Slowey. He’s 39-22!

  • V

    “Russell Martin blasted a pair of home runs to give the Bombers a comfortable ____ victory.”

    Something tells me ____ is supposed to be 8-1 ;-)

  • Jorge


    Oh, how I missed seeing my favorite Yankee pitcher flat-out dominate like this.

  • Dino Velvet

    In a tight race for home field advantage, the Yanks have to bite the bullet and put the top 5 starters in the rotation, which means relegating AJ to the pen

    • David, Jr.

      Don’t bet against that being Bart.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      In a tight race for home field advantage, the Yanks have to bite the bullet and put the top 5 starters in the rotation, which means relegating AJ to the pen just make the playoffs, which is an fait accompli, and not worry about the tight race for home field advantage because HFA is pretty fucking worthless anyway and not something to actively break a sweat over.


  • richie rich

    sad part is hughes is going back to the bullpen

    • Jorge

      If it’s on the way to the locker room then, yes, I guess he is. There is no way that, in the regular season, I could see him being demoted to the bullpen. Playoff needs are a different story.

    • David, Jr.

      No way. On the right track for Hughes. I’m betting it is Bart.

      • Accent Shallow

        “Barclay, Barry, Bert. . . Bort? Aw, come on . . . Bort?!”

        • FachoinaNYY


        • Jimmy McNulty

          No, come on now Bort

          Are you talking to me?

          No my son is also named Bort

  • rbizzler

    I will be at the game tomorrow, which makes me extremely happy. Also, happy to report it will be my second road series of the season (Wrigley).

    I will at this joint for lawn bowling pregame:

  • rbizzler

    Umm, and sorry to be silent for so long, but I feel the need to chime in again,

    Is it me, or is Harold Reynolds just bringing the stupid tonight. Between this rant about the draft and the ridiculous things he was saying earlier about umpires, the strike zone and relationships, I am starting to get embarrassed that I used to like this guy.

  • BigBlueAL

    Phil Hughes ALDS Game 2 starter??

    • Phil Phuckin’ Hughes

      Phuck yes

    • Troll Killer

      Still go with Colon

  • Cy Pettitte

    Doug Glanville on BBTN just now said lineup should be:

    when ARod comes back. Is this guy for real?

    • FachoinaNYY

      I just came on to talk about this… I was stunned watching this live.

      Holy crap that was rediculous.

    • Slugger27

      while it would never happen, and girardi will undoubtedly put him back at cleanup, its not like glanvilles suggestion is egregious or anything. its only 2 spots lower than he usually hits, and grandy/cano/tex have all hit better than arod this year IMO (though i can see the argument against tex in that statement).

      not to mention all 3 of those guys are in their physical prime, and alex is past it. him getting less at bats at the expense of jeter certainly wouldnt be ideal, but i just dont think it matters what order u put 3-6 as long as its those 4 names.

      • FachoinaNYY

        Arod has to be 4th and hit cleanup.

        He is the most feared hitter and provides Teix and Cano with the most protection.

        So IMO its pretty rediculous putting him 6th… It makes no sense

        • whozat

          A) How would he protect someone hitting behind him?

          B) Shouldn’t decisions be made based on what leads to more runs scoring than on “Teh Phear”?

          I agree that ARod should bat 4th, but because I think Jeter should be moved down so that Gardner, Granderson and Tex can have all the ABs in front of Alex.

          • FachoinaNYY

            Jeters not going lower than 2 any time soon and this recent hot streak has guaranteed it.

            • Jimmy McNulty

              I mean if this is the Jeter were going to get, why would you bat him lower than two?

              • Cris Pengiuci

                This. The guys hitting quite well now. Most people would never have expected him to be anywhere near .300 at the beginning of the season, yet here he is. Granted, is OBP could be a bit better and his power certainly isn’t what it used to be, but still, a .292/.350/.380 line not including last night’s game is pretty good. Gardner’s OBP is not much better (.357 going into last night’s game), but I do like his speed. Moving Jeter to 2 is just fine. Suggesting he should be lower than that, well, it isn’t going to happen, nor is there any reason for it.

  • Jesse

    Who is the number two? It’s gotta be Nova cause he has the second most wins.


    • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

      AJ Burnett because he’s our guy and has done it in the past.


      • Jesse

        It should be Scott Proctor. I love him.


        • Slugger27

          well played, jesse.

        • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

          Hey Joe, If you fire Dana DeMuth I’ll hire you to be the SWB manager.


          • Jesse

            you must be smoking the objective pipe.

          • buckfunts

            *drops Montero to 8th in the lineup for the IL playoffs*

  • first time lawng time

    Well, my favorite part of the game was hearing this little gem from Michael Kay:

    “No one in my entire life has ever told me that I am a delightful person.”

    • Jesse

      lmfao, i remember that. Do you remember why he said that?

      • first time lawng time

        Yeah. In the booth, they were talking about Granderson possibly winning the MVP and (I think it was Flash) said that maybe Granderson’s personality will hinder him winning the MVP because he isn’t as outspoken (or whatever it was he said) as other players. And then Kay said that he thought Granderson’s personality would help him because he is such a delightful person.

      • FIPster Doofus

        Kay was in the midst of calling Granderson a delightful person. That’s how it came up.

        • FIPster Doofus

          Beaten to it by three minutes. I should’ve refreshed the page.

  • Karl Krawfid
  • Jesus the Saviour

    I think my name says it all. As well as we’re playing, that dh spot looks yummy for Jesus

  • MannyB ace2be

    Im not sure if that was indeed Philth Hughes we saw or just the twinkies sucking it up some more

    • Dropped third superstar

      A little of both i think. Two hits over almost 8 innings is a great start against anybody even the twins.

      • JohnnyC

        It’s just not fair. Hughes gets to pitch every time against the worst offense in the majors while AJ has to pitch against the 1927 Yankees’ Murderer’s Row. It’s just so unfair!

  • Kevin

    I hope Jeter didn’t reinjure himself with that play at the plate

  • Jimmy McNulty

    As far as Hughes not having his best stuff and having down velocity, I’d stil say he’s not back to normal. I don’t know how to get him innings in the fall, as he clearly needs them still. The book is probably closed on him being an ace, being a number two isn’t looking so hot either…but hell, even a tangibly above league average starter would be nice at this point. The guy needs innings, though.

    • Cris Pengiuci

      I still think it’s way to early to close the book on him being an ace. While I agree he needs the innings, I think it’s still possible he has a good season in ’12 and regains his form from early ’10 in ’13. Only time will tell. I do, however, think it’s more likely that he becomes a strong 2 rather than a truly elite #1.

      • Jimmy McNulty

        There’s maybe ten “aces” in all of baseball: Justin Verlander, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, CC Sabathia, Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum, David Price, Jon Lester, Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, and maybe Ricky Romero now. You honestly think he’ll be that good? I don’t think he’ll ever put up a 6.5 WAR season, which is about where he’d need to be to keep up with those guys and legitimately be called an ace. So yeah, I don’t think an “ace” is in the cards. The Ace label gets thrown around way too frequently with prospects, an “ace” is a top ten or fifteen starter in baseball. Hughes will be that, really? The guy that struggles with flyballs and HRs and the guy who struggles putting hitters away with two strike counts, that guy’s a top ten to fifteen pitcher? No way. A two starter: were talking Cole Hamels, Matt Cain, James Shields, Matt Garza, Chris Carpenter, guys like that…ehhh, probably not that good either.

    • NoGoodnik

      He may not be firing on all cylinders, yet. But, come on, really???
      The book is closed on him being an ace, being a #2 not looking hot, and you actually think a “tangibly” (whatever that means, it’s not even remotely relevant in the manner in which you’re trying to use it) above league average starter would be nice?!? The young man is 25 YEARS OLD, for crying out loud. Assuming that you meant tangibly = an argument can be made that he is above league average, that’s absurd. Since rejoining the team, Phil Hughes has definitely been pitching at a level that is above league average, and did so for the large part of last year.

      • JohnnyC

        I thought the league average for a mid rotation starter was Tim Lincecum. But maybe it’s King Felix now due to the decrease in offense league-wide. In that case, CC is looking more and more like a solid #3. Good thing we have AJ, a potential ace. He’s only 34.

      • Jimmy McNulty

        Reading and critical thinking aren’t your strong suits. Probably closed on being an ace, yes. This is the same pitcher who has struggled with putting hitters away with a two strike count, struggled with the long ball and flyballs in general, and he’s also had injury after injury and set back after set back. He probably won’t truly be ready for a 200 inning season until he’s 27. Yeah he pitched about 170 last year, but he won’t sniff 100 this year. This is also the same pitcher that struggles with his offspeed stuff, and hasn’t really found a true non fastball pitch. He’s always fastball/cutter, sometimes something that looks like a curveball and occasionally his change up. With this in mind, him being a two starter along the lines of Matt Cain, Cole Hamels, Chris Carpenter (well the latest version of Chris Carpenter), James Shields, and others of their ilk is also doesn’t look that great. I’d say about a 30-40% chance that it happens.

        Tangible: Comes from the latin tangere which means “to touch” in English it means something that you can feel. So tangibly above league average would be noticeably above league average. Think Andy Pettitte in the later years.

        As far as Phil Hughes last year, he had a stellar first half, but was pretty crappy in the second half and allowed 11 earned runs in fifteen innings in the playoffs. HR/FB reversion is a bitch.

  • nycsportzfan

    Congrats to TEX on 1000ribbys! Man, it seems like light yrs ago that this team was so inconsistent with the bats, mostly relying on just the HR ball, but now, there just plain old “HITTING”, and alot of AVG’s are on the rise…

    Also, shout out to Phil Hughes… I doubted what he’d do this yr, but hes starting to show signs of getting back to EARLY 2010 season form…

    • Nogoodnik30

      Continued on Phil HUghes. Since leaving the DL, he’s allowed 2 run /or less in all but 1 game: @OAK 7/22 (where he was awful, giving up seven runs. That’s 4 Games in a row (10th inning Sub in the BP is not counting here), now that Hughes has gone out and let up less than 2 runs, and has been doing it on a consistent basis. He was pretty dominant in two those starts.

      To close the book on him being ace-material at 25 years old is just absurd. At age 28, he may be an ace. Striking people out is all well and good, but, as our friend AJ Burnett will attest, it doesn’t win ball games if you K 10, Walk 5 and give up 4 run innings on a regular basis.
      NOW, would be a great time to take a deep breath, (toke that objectivity pipe), and realize that, in all likelihood, there is reason to believe that Hughes will most likely be a 15-20 winner for the next 7-10 years or so. #2 Type stuff, with the possibility of becoming an ace if he can mange to develop one of his secondary pitches into a plus pitch.

      • Adam B

        yea an his best start against the white sox got cut short because of rain… he really had his knockout stuff in that start…

  • Monteroisdinero

    Phil looks relaxed and confident out there. His curve had great 2 to 8 (o’clock) movement with location and his fb was down all night. Slider was effective as well. I didn’t see many changeups but with those other 3 he didn’t need one. His delivery is compact with little strain. Looks great right now. Defense was solid. Tonight is the tough one with AJ but at least the hittable Wakefield gives the running Royals a good chance as well.

  • Captain Beatty

    Phil looks like the #2 starter. There’s no chance in hell they move him down to the pen now. I thought we’d take 3/4 in this series and I suspect our one loss will be tonight with AJ on the hill.

    I think what we’ll see is Nova stays because Girardi already promised that he would and he can’t go back on his word. AJ Burnett will either be banished to the pen and left off the postseason roster or left for dead, either one acceptable to Yankee fans.

  • Captain Beatty

    And I’m sick and tired of people holding that one bad start against Oakland against Phil. How many bad starts has CC had against Boston and didn’t he give up 5 HRs to the Rays? AJ we know has numerous awful starts. Colon couldn’t get out of the 1st against the Jays, Nova has struggled against the Royals. Everybody has a bad start.

  • Bronx Byte

    Phil Hughes is pitching his way on the playoff starting rotation.
    Burnett is pitching his way off the playoff roster – – period.

  • Accent Shallow

    No one’s said it, so I will: K/BB ratio of 2/3 this game, two swinging strikes. Didn’t have his best stuff, clearly, but shut down an iffy lineup.

    Progress? Luck? Both?

  • toad


    Hughes pitched a good game, but this was not the kind of overpowering performance that two hits and one run normally suggests.

    I’d say progress, but a fair amount of luck as well.

  • Laurie

    I too enjoyed my two games in KC and ended up being surrounded by Royal fans. The last game of the series was very exciting and it seemed that the excitement made up for the loss. Between Posada stiking out to end the game and the botched home run call, it is going down as one of the most memorable games in a while.

    I stayed in downtown KC where the people are so nice, they never use their car horns. I had heard about this but as a pedestrian actually saw a line of cars waiting behind the first car when the light turned green. The guy was obliviously texting and they never honked their horns. It went on for at least ten seconds and I think it would have gone on the whole light but the guy finally looked up. Even I wanted to yell at him to get going!