Hughes dominates Tigers in road trip finale

Austin hits 14th homer in Charleston win
Fan Confidence Poll: June 4th, 2012

Source: FanGraphs

Derek Jeter set the tone right from the first pitch. The Cap’n drove Justin Verlander’s first offering of Sunday afternoon over the right field wall for a leadoff homer, the fifth straight (and sixth in the last seventh) time the Yankees have scored a first inning run off the reigning AL Cy Young and MVP award winner. It was all Phil Hughes after that. Let’s recap…

  • St. Phil: Coming off a total dud in his backyard, Hughes threw the first nine-inning complete game of his career and completely manhandled the Tigers’ hitters with almost entirely fastballs — 99 fastballs, 18 curves, five changeups, one cutter. He surrendered three singles and one solo homer (an understandable shot by Prince Fielder), striking out eight. Two of those eight were the great Miguel Cabrera swinging, including once on three pitches. Nine dominant innings against an expected top-tier contender? Brilliance.
  • Five Runs: Jeter set the tone and the Yankees were all over Verlander early on. They pushed another run across in the first inning on Mark Teixeira‘s sacrifice fly and two innings later Alex Rodriguez crushed a mammoth solo homer off the brick beyond the left-center field wall, his second homer of the series and fourth in the last ten games. Robinson Cano‘s run-scoring triple turned into an impromptu inside-the-park homer due to some defensive hilarity in the fifth, giving the Yankees a comfortable 5-1 lead. I have no idea how that ball wasn’t caught honestly, it hung up there forever. No complaints though.
  • More Phil: By Game Score (80), this was the second best start of the Phil’s career behind an eight-inning gem in Texas back in 2009. His final pitch — career-high number 123 — clocked in at 93.4 mph according to PitchFX and better than his game average (92.79 mph). The only two batters he allowed to make it beyond first base were Fielder on the homer and Cabrera in the first inning, courtesy of a passed ball that should have been scored a wild pitch. The Tigers never had more than one runner on-base at a time and Hughes retired 14 of the final 16 men he faced. Twenty-two of his 27 outs were recorded on the infield.
  • Leftovers: Not to rain on the parade, but the Yanks went 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, with the one being Cano’s triple … Eric Chavez had two singles the other way and should have had a double as well, but Don Kelly made a great running catch on the warning track … Jeter and A-Rod each had a single and a homer, plus Curtis Granderson (double), Nick Swisher, and Russell Martin (double) each drew a walk and had a base knock … Martin lined into an inning-ending double play in the fourth that would have resulted in two runs … Hughes has allowed a homer in all 11 starts this year and is nine short of the all-time record for consecutive starts with a dinger (20 by Burt Blyleven) … the Yankees went 6-3 on the nine-game road trip and could have gone 8-1 with slightly better luck in the two walk-off losses … I’m pretty sure this was the most satisfying win of the year so far. has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the nerd score, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees are off on Monday — draft day! — before returning home for the first time in nearly two weeks. They’re one game back of the Rays in the loss column and welcome Tampa to the Bronx for three games starting Tuesday. Andy Pettitte and Jamie Shields get the ball in the opener of the biggest series of the season to date.

Austin hits 14th homer in Charleston win
Fan Confidence Poll: June 4th, 2012
  • Manny’s BanWagon

    Looks like that offseason conditioning work Hughes did is paying off. Last year, he seemed to lose velocity after the 3rd or 4th inning or so.

    To be able to hit 93.4 after 122 pitches is very encouraging.

    • Ted Nelson

      Last year he also had a shoulder problem. Could be condotioning, or could just be the shoulder.

      • radnom

        Funny how these shoulder problems continually come up for the pitchers who show up to camp out of shape.

        • forensic

          Or after they completely suck for a group of starts after being declared perfectly healthy for them, or both…

        • Manny’s BanWagon


          The shoulder seems much better this year after he actually came into camp in good physical condition instead of using spring training to get into shape.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            …….or he’s an additional year removed from a season in which he was overused.

            I get the shoulder thing. Let’s think about pitchers not named Hughes or Pineda before going there, though. Not saying it’s not valid.

        • Ed

          Even funnier how we spend years discussing how young pitchers have a high risk of injury when they have more than a 30 inning increase from year to year, then the guy who gets a 90 inning increase ends up hurt.

      • DM

        Not necessarily either-or. Not getting your work in in the off-season can lead to the very issue Hughes had with his shoulder.

  • 28 this year

    Most satisfying, maybe because they played well both sides of the ball. But the comeback against the Red Sox remains the most amazing game this season. I didn’t get to see it but i got two notifications on my ipod, one that the red sox were winning 9-0 and then a half hour later, the yankees were winning 15-9. I thought my ipod was broken.

    • Havok9120

      I DID get to watch that game, and you’re correct. Easily the most amazing game this season.

    • forensic

      Well put distinguishing between satisfying and amazing, because the first half of that Boston game was the farthest thing from satisfying you can get.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      It’s a tough call, but I prefer this game. There was no tragic moment here and, whether it lasts or not, for one day, we saw something we thought we’d never see again.

      • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

        I actually vote for Andy’s second start.

  • Havok9120

    That liner by Martin was BABIP giving us the finger. That was a very nice hit smoked to a poor defender with RISP and the worst possible outcome happened despite all of that.

    Great win.

    • mustang

      I actually think Martin is starting to come out of his nightmare.

      • vicki

        yes. look, they’re not the same player, but i remind people that grandy’s ops hit .694 in july 2010. reports of his death were greatly exaggerated. russ is a professional baseball player, and still a young man. assuming good health he’ll hit.

  • forensic

    one cutter

    That, to me, is the key to Hughes’ effectiveness of late. I’ve long felt it was his worst pitch and he would constantly get beaten on it for XBH.

    • Manny’s BanWagon

      I’m surprised he was able to do so well throwing his secondary pitches only 24 out of 123 pitches. He must have located his FB really well.

  • forensic

    Not to take anything away from him, because Hughes was absolutely terrific today, but at least 4 or 5 times on the post-game Lorenz was trying to build it up even more by calling the Tigers a very good, great, and/or terrific lineup.

    They have one all-time great hitter, one guy a step or so below that, and a bunch of mediocrity after that. Far from a great offense.

    • Drew

      I wouldn’t call the Tigers a great offense but I would definitely call them a very good one though. Miguel and Prince are the 2 biggest bats in the AL. How many other teams have great offenses? Besides the Yankees, there are the Rangers and you can make an argument that the Red Sox are when fully healthy, but that’s it. Toronto has a good but not great offense, I would put the Angels in the same category with them. Lorenz was probably had a little too much scotch to drink during the post game show. (Hope he didn’t drive home.) But we shouldn’t take away from how awesome Phil was today. Let’s be happy that it seems like he has finally turned the corner and can be someone we can depend on to give a good start every five days. By no means do I believe he is going to be this good all the time, but I think 6IP or better 3 Runs or fewer each time out wouldn’t be crazy to expect going forward.

    • Bo Knows

      Delmon Young only seems to hit when its against the Yankees, also worth noting 4 of the men on the Tigers lineup have insanely good numbers against Phil.

      • Deep Thoughts

        He doesn’t *only* hit. Sometimes he also makes harassing hate-crime remarks.

    • Kosmo

      This is true. Outside of Cabrera and Fielder a very anemic lineup. Ajax and Avila are both injured. Peralta and Boesch have both stunk thru the first 2 months of the season.
      At this point in time Hughes should be able to handle a lineup like the Tigers or he doesn´t belong in the SR. I tip my cap to him though a well pitched game. No sliders !

  • BenKdYank

    Hughes with an awesome start, it is almost as some people were willing to give up to soon on him. the hits with RISP is still frustrating, i refuse to acknowledge it as a real problem but it sure as hell sucks watching it day in and day out. but i never once doubted this team, people have a short memory that’s how they played the last several seasons, they’ll be fine.

  • Rey22


  • Voice of Reason

    And would you look at that? BABIP ebbing and flowing before our very eyes! How…normal.

    It was certainly good to see Hughes keep a steady velocity throughout the game, he very rarely shows that ability.

    • Bo Knows

      He’s maintained velocity throughout the overwhelmingly majority of his starts

  • Kramerica Industries

    Didn’t even notice another 1-11 type showing with RISP.

    They were 6-72 after the first game against Kansas City (in NY, that is). They can’t be doing all that much better since. Let me divulge on that…

    • Kramerica Industries

      They are 20-99 since then.

      Cumulatively, they are 26-171 (.152). Can’t make that shit up.

      • mt

        improving? Almost .200 is better than .083. :-)

        • Need Pitching

          baby steps ….

  • forensic

    Twenty-two of his 27 outs were recorded on the infield.

    This gets me back to something that Larry’s series preview got me thinking about.

    This is probably a bad day to get opinions on this given today’s game swaying people, but would you trade Hughes for Porcello? It puts an extreme flyball pitcher in a huge park and a groundball pitcher in Yankee Stadium. The Yankees infield defense is better (though still not very good) for Porcello than Detroit’s, he’s younger, and he’s got one more year of control than Hughes. But, he doesn’t have the K-stuff that Hughes does, despite all his frustrations.

    I haven’t been able to come to a final decision myself since I find it hard to judge Hughes with a clear mind (I’m on the opposite end of the ‘prospect-hugger’ spectrum, I’m overly frustrated with him). Seems like something that would work out for both teams, but I was curious about other opinions, if anyone cares…

    • Mike E

      Tigers wouldn’t do this, they lose 2 years of team control and are opting form a pitcher that’s run into health/work-ethic issues. They seem to believe that Porcello is going to develop at some point, and indeed his velocity is way up this year, yet the strikeouts aren’t.

      Also, the Yankees won’t do this because Hughes is finally showing some crazy strikeout numbers.

      • forensic

        I know neither team would do it since both are too attached (in my opinion) to each pitcher. I’m just wondering in the abstract as far as how people here would view it.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          I’d be interested in Porcello, but not in a “one or the other” situation.

    • Manny’s BanWagon

      Interesting question to say the least.

      Hughes would seem to have the higher ceiling since he misses a lot more bats but Porcello is a better fit for YS3 compared to Hughes given his much better ground ball %.

      In the end, I’d prefer Hughes since I’m skeptical Porcello can have long term success with such a low K/9 ratio.

      • forensic

        I’ve given up on Hughes’ ceiling with his career performance as a starter. I would probably still stick with him though because his K’s might be able to lead to more fluke good games than Porcello’s grounders. But, a part of me is still just done with Hughes and would welcome a change of scenery.

        • Manny’s BanWagon

          He’s been frustrating, no doubt but he’s still only 25 years old and I’d hate to see him reach his potential on another team.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            We’ll see what happens in the next season and a half.

          • Kosmo

            he´s 26 yrs old.

            • Bo Knows

              no he’s 25, he doesn’t turn 26 until the all star break

              • Kosmo

                he turns 26 on June 24th prior to the allstar break.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    A few hours later, just wow. Brilliance. Bravo.

  • 28 this year

    I just looked at the PItch fx data on brooks and its interesting that the home plate strikezone was actually quite good today and Hughes did not get anything that wasn’t in the strikezone or within normal deviations while the Tigers got more pitches off the plate. Its a good sign cause to me, Phil was hitting the corners with his fastball and he wasn’t getting help from the umpire which is a good sign moving forward.

    • Havok9120

      Yeah, it was actually a pretty good (and definitely consistent) strikezone, at least anecdotally. Possibly the best one I’ve seen on this road trip.

      • Mike Axisa

        Agreed. You know it was good because no one complained about it during the game. Not noticing the umps is a great thing.

        • Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

          “The Best umpires are the ones you never hear about.”

        • Evan3457

          I think Verlander did some complaining after the 1st inning.

          • Havok9120

            Neither guy was getting the low-just-off-the-plate strike call. Verlander needed it.

  • Charlene

    I saw the ad for White House Black Market and I had to buy a dress. Love your ads they are Brialiant!!!!

  • Charlene

    Hughes Rocks – He was throwing hard darts today…

  • Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

    So, as some regular commenters know, I’m a huge proponent of moving Alex up to the number 2 spot in the line up because his power just isn’t what it used to be. That said Alex has played in 51 (of 53) games this season and has hit 9 homers, Which extrapolates out to roughly 27.5 homers over the course of the season. If somebody where to tell me at the beginning of the season that Alex would play in 155 games have a .370 OBP and hit 27 or 28 homers while playing an average third base I would sign up for it in a heartbeat. Are those A-Rod in his prime numbers? No, but he’s no longer in his prime, so we should expect a decline. I’d hate to throw this into it, but especially from somebody who admitted to taking PEDs. Certain anabolic steroids have long term degenerative side effects.

    • forensic

      I completely agree with your premise, but a few notes:

      He’s played in 52 of 53 games.

      You could just wait until after Tuesday’s game and extrapolate easily then as it’s the one-third pole (just saying since I saw your calculation attempts earlier).

      Is it surprising at all that he’s being criticized? It’s been that way for almost a decade here. Not saying he’s never deserved it, but I think he’ll go down as the most-underappreciated all-time great (guess Bonds is in the discussion too) and possibly the most underrated all-time great Yankee.

      On the flip side though, it did take a bit of a homer binge to get to this point. Prior to the last 10 games he was on pace for about 22 homers. Certainly not terrible, but given all the circumstances it’s still disappointing in a healthy (to this point) season.

      • forensic

        Prior to the last 10 games he was on pace for about 22 homers.

        And, he had just one homer in 23 games before that. It’s reasonable to question things at that point.

        • Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

          It’s also said that Alex, like a lot of other power hitters, hit homers in bunches. I’m sure that statement is hyperbole to an extent, but I also believe it’s got a certain truth to it. I would look it up, but don’t even know how to start doing that research.

          • thenamestsam

            It’s said about all power hitters because people are just terrible about underestimating variance. People expect hitters to get to their 30 homers by hitting one exactly every 5th game. The reality is that no player is consistent. Every player is the average of hot streaks and cold, that’s just the nature of variance. Is ARod more streaky than others? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t bet on it just because someone said “Oh, he always hits his homers in bunches” as though there were some hitters who space them perfectly.

      • Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

        About the 52, yeah…I was looking at his Baseball Reference page, they haven’t updated to include today’s data yet. I absolutely agree him being criticized for the past ~decade, and you’re right, he’s been vastly underappreciated in his time here and it’s sad. Don’t get me wrong he hasn’t lived up to his contract, but the only way he could’ve done that was to be 2007 Alex Rodriguez for the entire life of it…which is just not possible. I’m just saying for him to still be as good as he is at an age where most of his contemporaries are either retired or on a much steeper decline than he is, it’s an impressive feat.

      • Cris Pengiucci

        but I think he’ll go down as the most-underappreciated all-time great (guess Bonds is in the discussion too) and possibly the most underrated all-time great Yankee.

        I’d put Bonds ahead of ARod all-time, but ARod will almost certainly be the most underappreciated Yankee of all-time. I have never been an ARod lover, but I have to admit he is a great player and has put up awesome numbers as a Yankee. Too bad we couldn’t have just played out that first contract and then re-signed him to a more reasonable contract when it completed. That would have made him look even better to most people (as they tend to look at performance relative to contract).

        • Kosmo

          Bonds underappreciated ? Not in the Bay Area.
          To me the most underrated alltime Yankee great is Yogi Berra. He seems to always get lost in the shuffle. 10 WS rings.

    • Kosmo

      Arod could easily go on a month long HR binge and then everyone starts talking about 40 HR. If I remember correctly he hit a 94 mph Verlander fastball for his dinger. Lot of RAB bloggers say he can´t catch up to a good fastball. Well he did. I think if Arod remains healthy 30 HR are not out of the question.

  • hawkins44

    Good to see you crack out the “St. Phil” tonight, well deserved.

  • Bartolo’s Colon

    somehow i missed this game completely. i woke up at 12:30 and just forgot about the game. i think this was the first game of the year that i didn’t at least follow on mlb at bat on the phone, pretty weak. i turned the game on to see the post game and jeter was talking about how the hitters were just shut down, i obviously thought he was referring to verlander. it was a nice surprise to see how it all worked out.

    • forensic

      You may be on to something here. You now have to ignore all of baseball through the Rays series and we’ll reassess your permission to watch baseball again on Friday.

  • mustang

    I started the season believing in Hughes, but I lost faith along the way. I know he is not going to be like this all season, but a month ago I would LOL if anyone would of told me he would pitch like this.

    Seriously people counting this team out and the players on it seem to be a losing proposition. Every time people do they rebound. I still think they are missing a piece, but right now I love it.

    • mustang

      Raul Ibanez done after horrible spring.

      Andy too old to comeback.

      A bullpen that loses Mo.

      A rotation that loses Pineda with ERA over 6 in first month.

      Hughes so bad that he had one foot in the pen.

      Last place on May 21st.

      Still a loooong way to go.

  • Brandon

    Hughes has actually pitched okay in the last 5 of his 6 starts. The only blunder in that stretch was his last start against the Angels. I think/hope he is finally beginning to put it together. The kid is 25 years old, and people still are giving up on him. Love to see him shutting everyone up with todays gem.

    • YankeesJunkie

      It is only a good stretch, but it is promising to see Hughes fastball being up near 94 and scratching the cutter. If he could get the change up a little more refined and he may have a chance as a starter. At the very least he has a good career as a relief ace ahead of him.

    • Havok9120

      If his detractors are going to shut up after this one start then they should never have spoken up to begin with.

      • Havok9120

        Or even these 6 starts.

  • dkidd

    i admire that a-rod is taking his singles and not over-swinging

    i’ll take this version (370 OBP with the occasional 455 ft homer) over all-or-nothing alex

  • Nathan

    I appreciate Hughes for the way he’s been pitching and I truly hope he keeps it up. I’ll be pulling for him though I’m not exactly ready to declare him the #2 of the staff just yet. He has yet to put together a consistent strong season (great first half ’10, poor second half).

    The handful of times I’ve watched him this season, it’s primarily fastballs with few other pitches. I remember him having a good cutter out of the ‘pen and his curve can be just as good as it can be bad. This season the curve has been mostly missing than hitting.

    • Havok9120

      That cutter has been death for him. Avoid it at all costs.

  • Monterowasnotdinero

    Verlander has given up 8 hits or more in 20 0f 211 career starts. Never twice in a row. 19 and 20 were his last two starts.

    If there ever was a YCPB game, it was yesterday.

  • mt

    It’s interesting to watch different TV feeds – to the comment above by Mike Axisa that both teams must have been OK with strike zone, you must have been watching YES because on TBS all they could talk about was how Verlander was not pleased with zone. Actually they caught him on cameras soon as ARod hit his homer, before the ball even landed 455 feet away, taking the new ball from the ump and being very agitated in his comments (he was really upset about one of the prior pitches to Arod being called a ball.) Apparently it was not the first time either.

    Leyland also mentioned (during his in-game TBS interview) that JV was out of sync and some of it was due to Magglio Ordonez ceremony lateness leading to first pitch start time being off by 7 or 8 minutes . (I admired Smoltz piping up in booth that although pitchers do get thrown off by such stuff, the impact was way bigger on Hughes since Hughes alos had to calculate how long top of first would take. Got impression that Smoltz thought that was a little bit of excuse for Verlader.)

    Also TBS commentators noted how JV was out of sync since Santos was catching him in a game the first time – all the shakes that were occurring with the signs.

    In addition, JV did not look too pleased when that “triple” landed – he put both his arms on his head and looked disgusted and then was late covering third and did not back-up a throw he should have prevented from going into the camera well.

    JV showed his butt a little bit.

    (Actually on catcher thing, one thing that is pretty amazing is that CC is an ace level pitcher but took to a new Chris Stewart pretty quickly. Normally those types of pitchers are finicky about their catchers. CC is so low maintenance.).

    On the Detroit line-ip thing, past Cabrera and Fielder (without Ajax who was smoking hot and Avila), Tiger line-up was definitely anemic. BUT Cabrera and Fielder are such terrors especilaly to a flyball pitcher like Hughes (who Cabrera has absolutely mashed in the past) I still think it was an impressive performance.

    • Havok9120

      On the ump thing:

      TBS mentioned several times that Verlander wasn’t please; you’re right. However, they also made it pretty clear that they thought he was wrong and that the strikezone was pretty accurate and definitely consistent for both teams. Verlander was pissed because he wasn’t getting a ton of close calls, but Phil wasn’t either.

  • Dave M

    Hughes da man!

  • Bavarian Yankee

    credit where credit is due: Hughes was awesome. To me it felt like he wasn’t overthinking everything in the final innings and that’s why he was cruising and looked like a pitcher that won 18 games in the past. Let’s hope this gives him plenty of confidence.

    • LarryM.,Fl.

      I agree with your assessment of his game yesterday. Not to minimize his game but I hope he can learn to use his other pitches on days that his fastball control or speed maybe off a bit. This would indicate to me that he has become more of a pitcher than just an aggressive relief pitcher and mowing batters down.

      Hughes would be such an asset being a total pitcher.

  • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero

    Beanball war in Toronto/Sux game.

    Glad it wasn’t us.

    • Steve (different one)

      Ever notice that it’s always the Sox in the beanball war? Sox/rays, Sox/O’s, Sox/Jays, Sox/Angels a year or two back….

      Why is that?

      • vicki

        because they lead the majors in hbp every year, usually by a lot?

  • Billion$Bullpen

    I would love for Phil to pitch better the next few games and then get traded. I am still sick of him. Either suck or be good on a regular basis. Also cut the mullet if you plan on sticking around Phil…. mullets suck.

    • LarryM.,Fl.

      Patience, starting pitching does not grow on trees. He may be a slow developer but IMHO has been showing progress with each start. OK LAA was bad but the Cy Young Award winner ( Verlander) has lost 3 starts in a row.

      • Kosmo

        Yes Verlander has lost 3 in a row, one was a 2-1 loss, the other 2 were Nova-esque type performances.

      • Billion$Bullpen

        I am not pretending to be rational here. I dislike when a player who gets paid tons of real world money to play a game can not stay or get into shape, especially a young one. Also his mullet is terrible. He looks like a Mess or Red Sux player.

  • JohnC

    great way for Bombers to bounce back yesterday after such a frustrating loss on Saturday night. Was particularly galled cause of how they let Valverde off the hook after he was practically begging them to take the game. Hope Hughes can build off this start when he takes on the Mets next weekend

  • Alex

    Even with this game’s results being all well and good, 99 fastballs won’t get it done in the Majors with any consistancy. I mean, I love Philburt’s sense of urgency and need for aggression lately minus the LA start because conservative Phillup didn’t work. But what happens if aggressive Philly doesn’t work?

  • Steve

    “Martin lined into an inning-ending double play in the fourth that would have resulted in two runs”

    I see Mike is taking lessons from John Sterling (i.e. “two runs will score on a base hit”). Cabrera moved to his left to catch the line drive…thus very unlikely that the ball would have gotten past the left fielder and scored the runner from first. Even if it actually got to the wall, definitely no guaranties Eric Chavez is scoring from 1st base with one out.

    • Havok9120

      As I recall, it was runners on 2nd and 3rd for that AB.

      • Steve

        Nope – Swisher singled and chavez singled. Swisher was doubled off second on the line drive.

      • Steve

        Actually swisher walked. Sorry.