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After shaky start, Phil Hughes effective in return against Tribe

Jul 6, 2011, 9:09 PM EDT

Phil Hughes Reuters

Phil Hughes bounced back from a two-run first to hold the Indians scoreless over the next four innings Wednesday in his first start after nearly three months on the DL with an arm problem.

The Indians started the game with a walk from Michael Brantley, a single from Asdrubal Cabrera and an RBI single from Travis Hafner.  The second run scored after strike three to Carlos Santana got away from Russell Martin and Cabrera took off for third.  The throw eluded Alex Rodriguez and went into left field, allowing Cabrera to score.

While it was an unearned run initially, it was ruled earned after Orlando Cabrera singled later in the inning.

Hughes improved from there, though he never had a one-two-three inning.  He faced four batters each in the second, third and fourth.  In the fifth, he hit two batters and walked another before getting Lonnie Chisenhall to fly out, ending the frame and his night.

Hughes threw 88 pitches, 57 of them for strikes.  His fastball started off in the 92-93 mph range, but it had little movement and the Indians were able to make consistent contact against it.  Hughes survived because of his secondary pitches, his curve in particular.

All in all, it simply wasn’t the kind of showing that suggests Hughes is going to be a force in the second half.  He needs a little more velocity or fastball movement for that to happen.

  1. isaidallo - Jul 6, 2011 at 9:16 PM

    5ip is enough to think he won’t be effective in the second half?

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jul 6, 2011 at 9:23 PM

      The events of the last three months were reason to think he wouldn’t be outstanding in the second half, and nothing tonight changed my mind.

      Anyway, I was more looking at it like there’s nothing I can see that suggests he’ll be a legitimate No. 2 for the Yankees, not that he couldn’t be “effective.”

  2. isaidallo - Jul 6, 2011 at 9:51 PM

    The last three months is still a tiny sample, espeicially being he pitched in only one of them. IMO the return of velocity is a very good sign. His control and command were shaky but that is to be expected coming of the DL.

  3. deathmonkey41 - Jul 6, 2011 at 10:11 PM

    Need a bigger sampling to see. BTW- if the Yankees don’t cut Sergio Mitre immediately following the game, Girardi and Cashman should be fired.

  4. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jul 7, 2011 at 8:36 AM

    The sample size of Phil’s mediocrity extends back to about June of 2010. The problem is that he can’t put people away. Last year it was extremely frustrati.g watching him go up 0-2 on everyone, only to have them get a hit or walk 5 pitches later. MLB hitters can foul off his fastball or cutter with ease and his secondary pitches don’t fool anyone. A flyball pitcher who can’t strike guys out will have a tough time at Yankee stadium and the AL East in general.

    • pisano - Jul 7, 2011 at 12:20 PM

      Good point, I’d use him in long relief and get Ivan Nova back in the rotation. One other thing, I was always a Sergio Mitre fan, but they have to have him on a short leash. He’s not been doing the job so I’m looking for them to cut ties with him.

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