Hughes dominates Tigers in road trip finale

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

IF Matt Antonelli was placed on the DL (mystery injury) and IF Yadil Mujica has been bumped up to Triple-A Empire State to take his place. There was no corresponding move on the Double-A Trenton end.

Triple-A Scranton Game One (4-0 win over Norfolk in seven innings)
RF Kevin Russo & LF Ronnie Mustelier: both 2-4, 1 K — Russo stole a base and scored a run when Mustelier singled him in
2B Corban Joseph: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI — power was a big question coming into the year, but he already has three homers in 27 games after hitting just five in 131 games last year
DH Jack Cust & CF Colin Curtis: both 0-3 — Cust drew a walk and Curtis struck out twice
1B Russell Branyan: 0-1, 4 BB — yep, Branyan’s seeing the ball fine
C Frankie Cervelli: 0-4, 2 K
3B Brandon Laird: 1-3, 1 2B, 1 RBI
SS Ramiro Pena: 1-3, 1 R, 1 K — quietly has six hits in his last 11 at-bats (54.5%)
RHP Adam Warren: 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 8/2 GB/FB — 60 of 92 pitches were strikes (65.3%) … best start of the season, he needed an outing like that

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Sunday Night Open Thread

(REUTERS/Rebecca Cook)

Phil friggin’ Hughes, eh? This afternoon we caught a glimpse of the pitcher he was supposed to become after all the hype and prospect lists and unmet expectations. Outside of the total stinker in Anaheim, that’s five pretty good starts in his last six times out. The win gave the Yankees a very awesome 6-3 road trip that could have been 8-1 with a little luck in the two walk-off losses. Pretty awesome.

Here’s your open thread for the night. The ESPN Sunday Night game is the Cardinals at the Mets (Westbrook vs. Niese) plus there’s some NBA playoff action on as well. You folks know how these things work by now, so have at it.

Yankees remain interested in Jorge Soler

Via Dan Martin, the Yankees remain interested in 20-year-old Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler. MLB declared him a free agent recently and the Yankees were said to have “serious interest” back during the offseason. His agent still needs to secure an unblocking license from the Office of Foreign Asset control before he can officially sign, but that’s not considered a major obstacle. Soler will be subject to the new spending restrictions come July 2nd, so expect him to sign for some ungodly amount rather soon.

2012 Draft: Walker Weickel

The 2012 amateur draft starts tomorrow, so I’m going to highlight some last-minute prospects individually rather than lump them together into larger posts.

Walker Weickel | RHP

Weickel has starred for Team USA throughout his high school career and has been on the draft radar for years. He attends Olympia High School outside of Orlando and is committed to Miami.

Scouting Report
Listed at 6-foot-6 and 195 lbs., Weickel went through a growth spurt last year and is still figuring out how to pitch with his new frame. He usually throws his fastball in the low-90s with a power curveball in the upper-70s, but this spring he’s been more upper-80s with the heat and low-70s with the curve. He also throws a changeup. Weickel has struggled with his delivery this spring and it’s led to his declining stuff. His frame oozes projection and there’s a lot to dream on here.

Keith Law (#29), (#31), and Baseball America (#37) all have Weickel in the mix for the end of the first round, which is where the Yankees pick (#30 overall). For what it’s worth, Baseball America says he’s on the team’s radar in their latest mock draft. I would prefer to see the Yankees take a player who isn’t as much of a project early on, but Weickel offers a lot of upside and would be a fine first round selection. Talent is talent, and he has a lot of it.

Game 53: The Sixth Win

Kill 'em all Joe. (Leon Halip/Getty Images)

I dunno about you, but a 6-3 road trip would look a whole lot better than a 5-4 road trip. Justin Verlander is standing in the way of that aesthetically pleasing sixth win, so the Yankees are going to have to earn it. If Ivan Nova‘s pre-game batting practice session — he homered — is any indication, they’ll be fine. Too bad that doesn’t mean anything. Here’s the starting nine…

SS Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
DH Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
1B Mark Teixeira
LF Raul Ibanez
RF Nick Swisher
3B Eric Chavez
Russell Martin

RHP Phil Hughes

Today’s game starts a little after 1pm ET and can be seen on YES locally and TBS nationally. Enjoy.

2012 Draft: Lucas Sims

The 2012 amateur draft starts tomorrow, so I’m going to highlight some last-minute prospects individually rather than lump them together into larger posts.

Lucas Sims | RHP

Hailing from Brookwood High School in the Atlanta suburbs, Sims has been a factor in this year’s draft since pitching for Team USA two summers ago. He’s committed to Clemson.

Scouting Report
A 6-foot-3 and 190 lb. right-hander, Sims sits in the low-90s with his fastball and has shown 97 in shorter outings. His top secondary offering is a power slider in the low-80s, but also throws a loopy curveball in the low-70s. He doesn’t have much of a changeup yet and will likely have to focus on just one breaking ball in pro ball. Sims has a fairly simply delivery but he does have a slight wrist-wrap, which is typically considered more of a potential command issue than a health risk. His stuff is among the best in the class and he supplements it with a strong track record in high-profile events.

Miscellany (#23), Baseball America (#29), and Keith Law (#32) all agree that Sims is right in the mix for the back-end of the first round, and it’s worth noting that Baseball America said the Yankees have some interest in him for their first round pick (#30 overall) in their latest mock draft. It’s weird, I like Sims less than guys like Zach Eflin, Shane Watson, and J.O. Berrios, but apparently the three major publications like him more than those three. I just feel like they have comparable stuff but maybe fewer questions about their long-term command and delivery, but that doesn’t means Sims would be a bad first round pick by any means.