Monday, April 4, 2011

Hughes Starts off 2011 Like He Ended 2010: Poorly

Let's look at some stats first before any Phil Hughes fanboys get insulted by my headline:
  • Hughes first 13 starts in 2010: 7-1, 2.54 ERA.
  • Hughes last 21 appearances in 2010: 11-7, 5.11 ERA.
So clearly, while many were hypnotized by his early season performance, last year was not all good for Hughes. And that brings us to his first start of the new season, which like most of his post-May starts last year, was disappointing.

In four innings, Hughes was knocked around for five runs on five hits while walking two and striking out just one Tiger. It was basically batting practice for Miguel Cabrera, who blasted two two-run homers of Hughes on his way to a four RBI day.

Not much went well for Hughes. His fastball was underwhelming, averaging just 89.25 MPH and topping out at just 91.1 (last year he averaged 92.5). Besides the lack of velocity his location wasn't there either. The rest of his stuff--cutter, curve--was flat as well.

Maybe his biggest problem on the day was an inability to put batters away when he had two strikes. Of the 19 batters he faced, he was able to get to two strikes on 12 of them. Clearly, had he been able to put batters away more efficiently, he wouldn't have needed 90 pitches to get through four. That's clearly shown by the fact that he needed more pitches working on those two strike counts than he did to get there: 34 pitches to create the two-strike counts, and 36 to try to put those hitters away (hat-tip to RAB for those numbers).

It's start number 1 of the year, so there's no need to get crazy about it, but still, it was not a great way to start the year for Phil.

After the rough start, the bullpen was unable to stop the bleeding. In his first game as a mop up man, Bartolo Colon was ineffective, allowing four runs in four innings. The big hit against Colon was a two-run homer by Brennan Boesch, who like Cabrera had a monster game, going 4-for-4 with 4 RBI.

Joba Chamberlain also allowed a run in his inning of work and then ate his glove in a fit of rage.

Give the offense credit for hanging in this game despite the bad pitching. Mark Teixeira continued his hot start, hitting another homer, his third in three games. Jorge Posada and Robinson Cano also went deep, their first homers of the year. Nick Swisher and Russell Martin also had good days at the plate, picking up three hits apiece. But there is only so much you can do when your pitchers can't keep the other side's offense down. That said, after three games, the offensive is looking pretty good, and that's without any production from the top two in the lineup.

Again, it's just one loss, one bad start, so no need to go any further than that. Hopefully Larry Rothschild can work with Hughes, get his velocity up a bit, and most importantly, instill a little confidence in the kid. For someone who has been here for three years now and had some success along the way, he still doesn't look like he knows how to get big league hitters out.

And of course, every loss to the Tigers is made worse by Jose Valverde and his idiotic dance steps on the mound. It's game three you asshole. Calm down.

Ivan Nova will take the hill for the Yankees tomorrow night as they open a series with the AL Central champion Twins. First pitch is 7:05 PM.

B Gardner LF50000317.167.167.167
D Jeter SS40001016.200.308.200
M Teixeira 1B51210015.333.4291.083
A Rodriguez 3B50100119.400.538.900
R Cano 2B52110114.231.286.538
N Swisher RF32312020.364.429.455
J Posada DH52240013.273.385.818
C Granderson CF40000224.182.182.455
R Martin C40300016.455.455.818
2B: R Martin (1, M Scherzer); N Swisher (1, P Coke)
HR: J Posada 2 (2, 2nd inning off M Scherzer 1 on, 1 Out; 5th inning off M Scherzer 1 on, 1 Out); M Teixeira (3, 3rd inning off M Scherzer 0 on, 1 Out); R Cano (1, 3rd inning off M Scherzer 0 on, 2 Out)
RBI: J Posada 4 (4), M Teixeira (7), R Cano (2), N Swisher (3)
2-out RBI: R Cano
Yankees RISP: 1-8 (M Teixeira 0-1, C Granderson 0-2, B Gardner 0-1, A Rodriguez 0-1, J Posada 0-2, N Swisher 1-1)
Team LOB: 9
DP: 1 (R Cano-M Teixeira).

P Hughes
(L, 0-1)
B Colon4.064415169-459.00
J Chamberlain1.031101021-124.50
First-pitch strikes/Batters faced: P Hughes 11/19; B Colon 11/19; J Chamberlain 2/5 
Called strikes-Swinging strikes-Foul balls-In Play strikes: P Hughes 14-2-25-16; B Colon 17-4-11-13; J Chamberlain 1-3-4-4 
Ground Balls-Fly Balls: P Hughes 2-9; B Colon 3-4; J Chamberlain 2-0
Game Scores: P Hughes 31

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Miguel Cabrera

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