“It’s obviously something to be worried about,” Phil Hughes said in the clubhouse before Tuesday’s Yankees-Orioles game was rained out. “This is my job, my livelihood and I don’t have the stuff I know I’m capable of going out there with. It’s worrisome and it’s frustrating.”
“I feel good, but it is impossible to tell,” he said. “And I’m still confident that it will be there. But it’s definitely something I’m worried about. I wouldn’t be out there trying to get it right if I wasn;t worried about it.”
I have to agree with Hughes, this is something to be worried about. The Yankees have a good team despite the attention that has been paid to the depth of their rotation. With the offense the Yankees have that back-end of the rotation can be overcome if the Yankees 1-2-3 pitchers have strong seasons.
If Hughes cannot be counted on consistently the Yankees will have almost an impossible task of winning the division and would certainly be forced to battle for a WildCard. It would also increase the cost of injuries. If Hughes has a poor season and somebody like CC Sabathia or A.J. Burnett went down with an injury the Yankees will be lucky to even be in the mix for the playoffs at all.
But, Hughes has now thrown almost 400 innings in the majors and he has looked good for a young pitcher. It seems odd that at this point in his career he would take such a big, sudden regression. He has worked on a few things mechanically and he is very likely implementing strengthening exercises. Unless he is injured he should be able to turn this poor start around. Remember, it has only been two bad games so far in the grand scheme of things that isn’t very much at all. We shouldn’t overstate this like it is the end of the world at this point.