"I didn't want my season to end on that last start," Hughes said. "I look at this as a great opportunity. ... It's not like we are in the driver's seat here. We are still in this series, and we have to win (tonight), and that's the bottom line. I feel good going into it, and I think the rest of the guys in the clubhouse feel the same way."Here's what an AL scout had to say to John Harper about the right-hander:
"I'm just thrilled to have this opportunity again," he said. "It wasn't guaranteed that I would have another start in the series, and I'm just happy to be able to pitch and turn in a better start than my last one."
Hughes said he hopes being on regular rest will help, and he feels prepared to make adjustments against this dangerous Rangers lineup. For the most part, though, Hughes said his start will come down to execution. Not much different from any other start.
"I had as much if not more adrenaline in my first (playoff) start against Minnesota, and that certainly wasn't the problem," Hughes said. "It was just being very predictable, and throwing a lot of fastballs, and hitters' counts that were mistakes. (That) is what it boils down to. Have to do a better job of that, and I'm confident that I will."
"He forgot to pitch [in game 2]," was the way the scout put it by phone Friday. "I got the feeling that he had so much success with his fastball against Minnesota (in Game 3 of the AL division series) that he fell in love with the idea of being a power guy.I'm not sure what to expect from Hughes tonight, but obviously, if they're going to push this to a game seven they're going to need a big start from him.
"He's got an above-average fastball and when he locates and uses his cutter and his curveball to help set it up, he can be effective against any lineup. But when he got in any trouble against Texas, either in bad counts or runners on base, his answer was to try to throw harder, and he stopped locating. You can't beat anyone that way, especially that team.
"To me, he's a poised kid who got caught up in the moment a little too much, and that can happen to anybody in the playoffs, especially on the road. I'll be real surprised if he doesn't do a better job of using all of his pitches, getting in better counts and going fairly deep into the game."
What do you think, does Hughes deliver and send the Yankees to game 7 on Saturday?