One thing I couldn't stop thinking as last night's game went on was how badly I want to see Cliff Lee in the Yankees rotation. This guy is just about as good as it gets in baseball right now and he'd dominate on this team. Too bad they're probably going to have to wait until the offseason to land him. For Yankees fans wondering if Lee would even want to be a Yankee, after the game he did have this to say when asked about pitching for the Yanks in the future:
“Yeah, I like pitching here,” Lee said. “You’re going to have a sellout and it’s going to be a lot of fans. Yeah, I’ve always enjoyed pitching here. They’re knowledgeable fans, they understand the game and get into it. As a player, that’s what you like and respect. Obviously I try to keep them as quiet as possible when I’m facing them on this side.”
Keeping the Yankees fans quiet was exactly what he did last night as he threw yet another complete game (his fifth), allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits and a walk, and struck out two.
Another thought that kept popping in my head was how angry Yankees fans are going that Phil Hughes pitched terribly after having his last start skipped. Not because he was bad, but because of the bad memories of the Joba Rules and the fear of that repeating itself with Hughes. Well, rest easy because it's not. Sure, it's likely that he wasn't as sharp as he normally is because of the extra rest--even Joe Girardi admitted that--but it's not something that should happen much if at all during the second half.
Tonight, Hughes had very little. In 5.2 innings, Hughes allowed a season-high seven runs (six earned) on ten hits, also a season high, while walking two and striking out three. He was in trouble for most of his outing and allowed individual runs in the second, third, fourth and fifth, and then a three spot in the sixth before leaving the game.
Hughes' command within the strikezone wasn't good and he had trouble executing pitches with men on and it cost him time and time again.
Offensively, the only Yankee to get to Lee was Nick Swisher, who smacked two solo homers to bring his season total to 13. Besides Swisher, Curtis Granderson was the only other Yankees to have more than one hit. And as for the other two Yankees runs; the third run came in on an error by left fielder Michael Saunders, and Jorge Posada drove in the Yanks fourth with a ground-rule double.
To make matters worse, Boston won again tonight and are now just one game behind the Yanks, injuries and all.
Things don't get much easier for the Yankees tomorrow as Felix Hernandez will take the mound for the Mariners. Javier Vazquez will start for the Yankees. First pitch is 7:05 p.m. and the game will be on YES.