Braves win Homerun Derby, beat Yanks 10-5

Cust and Branyan homer in Triple-A loss
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For the first time since the losing two of three in Anaheim, the Yankees have lost a series. The Braves beat New York at their own game by clubbing homer after homer en route to a blowout win.

(Al Bello/Getty Images)

Homerun Hughes

Phil Hughes‘ homerun problem isn’t exactly a secret. His last start against the Nationals was the first time all year he did not allow a dinger in an outing, but he more than made up for it on Wednesday. Atlanta tagged him for a career-high four homers allowed in 4.1 innings, a two-run shot by Freddie Freeman and solo jacks by Jason Heyward, Martin Prado, and David Ross. It was crazy hot this afternoon and the ball was flying out of the park, a disaster combination for Phil.

The end result was six runs in those 4.1 innings, only the second time Hughes has allowed more than two runs in his last eight starts and more than four runs in his last eleven starts. He did manage to strike out five while walking zero, but that’s hardly any kind of consolation. Phil has pitched very well of late and fell off the wagon for a start, hopefully it’s nothing more than that.

Homerun Yankees

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

It wasn’t just the Braves that were teeing off, the Yankees hit four dingers of their own. Derek Jeter hit Tommy Hanson’s first pitch out of the yard for a solo blast, his fourth leadoff homer of the season. Doesn’t that seem like an awful lot? Four leadoff homers seems like a season’s worth. Eric Chavez clubbed a fifth inning solo blast off Hanson, then Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano went back-to-back off Atlanta’s starter to open the sixth and end his afternoon. They were all solo homers though, and as they say, those won’t kill you. Four usually does though. Usually.

Where’s Andruw? Part Two

For the second straight game, Raul Ibanez was left in to face the left-handed Jonny Venters with men on-base in the late innings of a close ballgame. He struck out to end the seventh on Tuesday night, then grounded into a double play on Wednesday afternoon. The Yankees were down two runs, the first three batters of the inning reached base, but Andruw Jones was nowhere to be found*. We’re not splitting atoms here, Ibanez is terrible against same-side pitchers and shouldn’t face them, especially in close games.

* Jones did eventually pinch-hit for Ibanez with one man on in the eighth, after the deficit had swelled from two runs to four. Annoying.

Blown Open

The Yankees were down just one as late as the eighth inning, but the Braves blew things open off the bullpen. Chavez booted a potential double play ball and not only allowed a run to score in that eighth inning, but it extended the rally. One batter later, Heyward hit his second homer of the game, a two-run shot to really blow things open. The usually reliable Cory Wade and Boone Logan really let things get out of hand that inning. The deficit grew from one-run to five and that was that.

You can have third base, we’ll take the 1996 and 1999 World Championships. (Al Bello/Getty)


The nine total homers are the most in New Stadium history — eight had been done three previous times and not since 2010 — and tied for the most in the history of any Yankee Stadium. That’s a long time. Hughes and Hanson became the 11th pair of opposing starters to each allow four homers in a game in baseball history. This was the first time the Yankees were involved. Again, that’s a long time. The Yankees hit four homers and lost for the first time since the third game of last season, another Hughes start.

Hughes, Wade, Logan, and Freddy Garcia all got smacked around pretty well, but Cody Eppley and Clay Rapada really held the Braves down in the middle inning. Eppley retired all three men he faced — one strikeout, one grounder, one fly ball — and Rapada struck out all four dudes he faced. One of them was even a righty, so hooray for that. He hasn’t allowed a hit since the last Rays series, a span of 20 batters faced. Bravo.

Every hitter in the starting lineup had a hit except for Ibanez and Jayson Nix while Jeter (homer and a walk), Cano (homer and a single), Chavez (homer and a walk), and Russell Martin (double and two walks) each reached base multiple times. I’m sure you were expecting a massive RISPFAIL number, but they were only 1-for-4. Lots of solo homers will do that.

Fun fact: this is the first time all the season the Yankees allowed double-digit runs. Bet you didn’t see that coming. They had allowed nine runs just twice, once in the massive Fenway Park comeback win and then once during that nightmare series in Anaheim. The Yankees have lost two in a row after winning ten straight and are still 20-6 in their last 26 games. I’ll take it.

Box score, WPA Graph & Standings has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the nerd score, ESPN the updated standings.

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next

The Yankees are off on Thursday then will head to Flushing for the final series of interleague play, a three-game set with the Mets. Left-handers Andy Pettitte and Jon Niese will start Friday evening. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to head to the game.

Cust and Branyan homer in Triple-A loss
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  • Greg

    And of course Boston gets to play Miami twice and sweeps them to move to 6 games out.

    When I thought about it, I’m more annoyed than upset when I think about the streak and the ground gained in the division. Of course the Yankees cant control the other teams, but it seems like a waste of a 10 game winning streak, to a degree.

    Gotta win the first two against the Mets because we are not beating R.A. Dickey. If we do, I will be shocked.

    • Greg

      That first comment is not really lamenting about Boston but more about the unfairness of the schedule

      • RocketMan86

        hey greg, Don’t fear R.A. so much. We do have a pretty good pitcher going for us on Sunday.

        CC out pitches r.a. on Sunday. Book it!

    • sangreal

      I’ll bet they do just fine against Dickey.

      • Jimmy

        Tim Wakefield was only 9-16 against the Yankees, though they really roughed him up as he grew older. The real damage he caused in his heyday was that they would always seem to go into a batting funk for 3-4 days after a Wakefield start. I tried looking at the stats to back that up, but couldn’t find a way without going game-by-game. Good project for a boring day.

      • DM

        I like Dickey — but he’s due for a bad one.

    • Pat D

      “Of course the Yankees can’t control the other teams…”

      Exactly. So don’t worry about it. The Yankees just have to win the games they play, beat those teams when they come up in the schedule. Simple as that.

      Toronto is the team that could dictate the Yankees’ fortunes in the second half. Waaaaay too many games against them.

    • Brian S.

      Why are you so afraid of Boston? Are you a minority?

      • Robinson Tilapia

        I laughed.

      • OMG! Bagels!

        South Boston says, “hey, that’s wicked retahded.”

  • Dino Velvet

    Just when I started putting my faith on Phil he does this.

  • pistol pete

    Hughes looked awful today and I’m very concerned because he never puts two halves of a season together. I’ll bet the Yanks get involved in a starter at the break and the odd man out I think will and should be Hughes. Still bugs the hell out of me that he got the No 3 starter slot out of spring training over Nova but I’m a big Nova fan. It’s the wins thing.

    • Jesse

      Hughes would have to be absolutely terrible in order for them to do that. I bet they ride him out the entire season and put him in the ‘pen in the playoffs if/when they get there.

      • Jimmy McNulty

        He has an 85 ERA+, that’s about as awful as it gets for people to still be considered a major leaguer. If they can acquire Hamels, they shouldn’t let Hughes get in the way of that.

  • Karl Krawfid

    2 starters got smacked around today.

    I think Hughes deserves some slack after the run he was on.

    Lets just hope its a minor set back.

    • Jimmy McNulty

      No he doesn’t, because the run he was on he still had a FIP around five and still allowed a shitload of homeruns. He was getting results, but he was still a bad pitcher. Good pitchers have bad starts and bad pitchers have good starts. The homeruns he was still allowing was evidence that he hadn’t turned the corner. He’s allowed 19 home runs, meanwhile has only hit 14. He’s still an utterly fucking terrible starter that has no business in the rotation of a team with championship aspirations. No secondary pitches and he can’t keep the ball in the park, it’s been the book on him ever since the injury in Texas. It’s not a minor setback, this is who he is: A pitcher without an out pitch that can’t keep the ball on the ground. His FIP is 5.12 and his ERA is 4.94. He belongs in the NL on a team like the Padres. He’s second in the majors in homeruns allowed, it’s not a minor set back when the problem is that he allows too many goddamn home runs in the first place. If he just went 20 innings without allowing a dinger I’d reconsider, but he hasn’t He had his FIRST START OF THE SEASON WITHOUT ALLOWING A HOMERUN IN MID JUNE…that isn’t a good thing.

      • Get Phelps Up (formerly Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat)

        If he’s just a 5th starter and in the bullpen in the playoffs, then I’m perfectly fine with him.

      • Jim Is Bored

        If his HR rate stayed this high it would be remarkable. No one has a HR rate this high with the other numbers he’s been putting up. Which is why his xFIP is much lower than his FIP.

        But go ahead, I won’t stop your rant, you seem to be on a roll.

        • Jimmy McNulty

          It’s been proven that some pitchers have a higher HR/FB than usual. Even while a HR/9 over two is unsustainable he’ can go the next 30 innings without allowing a home run and still have way too high of a home run rate.

  • Pat D

    Just finished reading the game thread. Holy Fucking Moses. All it took was 2 losses in a row for people to lose their god-damned minds again, eh?

    Someone predicted they’d get swept in the ALDS? I’d ask for the Powerball numbers next time the jackpot is over $200 million but since your predictive powers are non-existent, I’ll pass.

    Stuart back doing his thing, too. Wonderful. By the way, I saw postings under “stuart a” and “stuarta.” Please don’t tell me he has an admirer/imitator. The last thing we need is that.

    Gee, what are we all going to do on the off day tomorrow? There will be nothing for the trolls to eat.

    • Knoxvillain

      Why does everyone hate Stuart? He’s clearly a moron but it’s amusing if you ask me.

      If Hughes gives up a home run, it’s A-Rod’s fault.

      • Pat D

        It would be amusing if it wasn’t the same old shit literally every fucking post talking about ARod’s RBI total or slugging percentage.

        He doesn’t stop. He doesn’t post it once. He posts it like 5 fucking times every time. It’s way beyond amusing, it’s fucking annoying.

        • Knoxvillain

          More than five times. At first I thought he was a troll, now I realize he is just that stupid. It’s all fun though. It gives me some pretty good laughs.

        • OMG! Bagels!

          Yeah, I’m not amused. He was all over Arod the few innings before his record tying grand slam. The entire time he just went on and on and on about Arod. Grand Slam? No Stuart.

          But he’s stalker-level obsessed and that’s just wrong.And not funny.

    • Jimmy McNulty

      It is fun making fun of A-Rod, though.

      • Pat D

        Yea, well, that’s just like, your opinion, man.

        • Jimmy McNulty

          It’s easy and A-Rod does kinda suck. 300M sucks quite a bit, and if A-Rod’s play doesn’t make it worth it we can at least make fun of him. He’s not playing anywhere close to where he needs to be playing at. Yeah the clutch stuff is dumb, every great athlete is a choker until he’s not. I’m rooting for A-Rod to break the all time home run record and I don’t give a shit that he did roids, I just enjoy making fun of him.

          • OMG! Bagels!

            There’s a difference between this and what Stuart does. Stuart is on him before he’s done (or not done) anything.

    • OMG! Bagels!

      No it’s all him. Though he posts so much crap there could be 12 of them.

  • Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

    Thing that disappointed and upset me most about this game: I thought it was starting at 7 and missed it completely. Seriously though, our bullpen has been great all season, they were do to regress a little bit. and attached are Hughes’ numbers since the beginning of May. Not terrible.

    • Jimmy McNulty

      He’s allowing a home run every six innings since May, not even including today’s start…that’s the whole problem with Hughes is:

      A.) His lack of a secondary pitch
      B.) His inability to keep the ball on the ground.

      He’s still struggling with both of those things, sure he’s racking up Ks and not walking guys but that’s because there’s no reason not to swing at that weak shit he’s throwing.

      • MannyGeee

        but he’s a fly ball pitcher… he’s never gonna keep the ball on the ground. That said, when he does what he knows (FB/CH/CV) and has the confidence to hit his spots, he is a decent pitcher.

        I hate to be this guy, and while numbers dont like, they can say anything you want them to… before yesterday, he was passing the ‘eye test’ for a guy who had turned the corner. The last few starts (yesterday aisde), he’s had a little trouble to start and then settled in.

        • Jim Is Bored

          Hughes xFIP is 4.16

          His HR numbers are ridiculous, even for a fly ball pitcher. NO one allows 16% of fly balls to go for HRs with the rest of the periphs he’s been putting up.

          It’s possible he just needs to be on a team in a more pitcher friendly park. He’d probably be ridiculous in PETCO.

          • Jim Is Bored

            Even Hughes hasn’t had one above 10.1%

            It’s unsustainably horrible.

          • Jimmy McNulty

            xFIP normalizes his HR/FB to league average, which some pitchers have a higher HR/FB ration than others. His K/BB rates are improving but his HR rate is going in the shitter, hitters are still crushing him when they make contact. He still can’t finish hitters and he still doesn’t have a useable outpitch. If he were a pitcher for any other organization you’d call him a bust, and if he didn’t have the former number one prospect status none of you would continue to cut him slack.

            • Jim Is Bored

              I’m not comparing him to everyone else. I’m comparing him to himself. He’s never had a rate above 10.1%, even last year when he sucked.

              Explain that, please.

        • Jimmy McNulty

          He passed the eye test for approximately 50 innings. Sure, ignore the terrible home run rate, and all the other bad starts. We’ll see what the eye test looks like when he starts facing more AL teams.

  • jim p

    Has anyone ever developed stats based on temperature/humidity? We always hear that “the ball travels” on days like today; that knuckleballs/sinkers worked or didn’t because of the humidity. I wonder if there’s statistical verification of that sort of thing.

    • DM

      I thought the heat excuse for Phil’s outing was overstated (though I expected it to be used as one). Hitters squaring up chest high FBs has nothing to do with heat. All the Brave HRs looked out off the bat to me. The only real head scratcher was A-Rod’s dinger.

  • Bavarian Yankee

    the good, old Phil Hughes Classic™

    he almost tricked me into thinking that he has turned it around. Obviously not. Watch out Blyleven, the all-time homer record won’t be yours in October.

    Otherwise a nice HR Derby. All-Star game tomorrow?

  • newguy

    People need to chill. Phil isn’t great, but he is our 5th starter. As long as he keep us in the game (which he has been doing) its fine. He is pretty cheap and hopefully will continue to build on what he ahd been doing. By the trade deadline, maybe a deal will fall into our laps. Otherwise this rotation is pretty good to roll with especially if Hughes moves to bullpen in the playoffs. Hughes, Joba, Aardsma, Robertson, Soriano, Logan, Wade? Sounds dirty.

  • Monterowasnotdinero

    They Yanks can’t win every game and neither can Dickey.

    Mets win 2 out of 3 but we beat Dickey with CC coming up big.

    • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero

      The Yanks…

  • Robinson Tilapia

    It’s a good thing there are actually Yankee fans outside the comment section here. If I were Phil Hughes, and this is what I had to deal with, I’d hang myself.

    • DM

      Or he could ponder what he’ll make in arb next year, and free agency after that. He’s a starting pitcher in the big leagues — and he’s in line to make big bucks for years even if he sucks. Times aint that tough.

      • MannyGeee

        yes, if Bruce Chen keeps making $4M a year, Hughes should be in line for $10M

        • DM

          An ex-top prospect with his size and stuff will get chance after chance. Even with his checkered track record, he’s over the hump. He may never be a star, but he’ll have a big league career for another 10 years — if he doesn’t suffer some dramatic injury, of course. Chen is a perfect example; despite the mediocrity, he’ll be pitching somewhere in the bigs every season.

    • Jimmy McNulty

      So you’re saying that we should continue to rag on him? He doesn’t have to deal with half of what A-Rod had to deal with. Hughes is just a former number one prosepct that can’t make it in the majors as a starter, it’s not like he has a 250M contract and didn’t hit in the playoffs.

  • Bartolo’s Colon

    i definitely am not a baseball expert and probably know much less than most of the people on here, but I can’t see how hughes is going to be successful. it was good to watch him the last few starts, but he just doesn’t seem to be fooling anyone. he really only uses two pitches and just can’t put people away. i know the ball was flying yesterday, but it seemed (mlb at bat on my iphone) that everyone was just fouling off pitch after pitch. does anyone think he can be the pitcher he was the last few starts consistently, given his arsenal, or lack thereof? If so, what does he have to do? Is it more location than pitch selection?

  • DM
    • Bartolo’s Colon

      This has got to be my favorite line…
      “and no one was all that concerned about Hughes’ regression. No one, that is, except Hughes, who glimpsed at the bottomless pit called life without a quality change-up, and decided that he’s better off chasing that state of grace.”

      • DM

        “But Hughes didn’t have enough of a fastball to trust Wednesday, and without it, he was undone by a lack of creativity in finishing off hitters.”

        IOW, no Plan B. I saw it in the first innning — even before the other dingers. No finish on the fastball, and doesn’t know what to do when he doesn’t. Hughes calls it a “battle” when he doesn’t have his good stuff — but that’s exactly what he hasn’t learned to do, battle without his good stuff. When the normal arsenal isn’t working, Girardi yanks him faster than the other starters. There’s no faith that he’ll figure something out along the way — or make a big pitch in a big spot.

        • MannyGeee

          this. He is not a guy who is going to pull it together on the fly… he either has it or he doesnt.