In Phil Hughes‘ latest chance to prove that he belongs in the Yankees rotation he blew it, he blew it completely.
Hughes was pitching decently through the first two innings, but seemed to lose his effectiveness very quickly. After he blew one lead, the Yankees got it back for him only to watch him blow it again in the 6th inning.
It was tough to watch and a tough loss to the Red Sox as the Yankees drop to 1-1/2 games behind them for the AL East lead. Much worse than the one loss is the long-term implication of what it means to Hughes.
After a short but promising streak following his return from the phantom DL he had some success, but in his last two starts he has proven that was merely a fluke. Even if A.J. Burnett pitches terribly tomorrow and is removed from the rotation, Hughes may not be suitable either.
When he was a prospect Hughes was supposedly a 4-pitch pitcher who had a 95-97 mph fastball and a great curveball who had front end potential. What he has become is a 3-pitch pitcher on his best days and a guy who battles with just a flat fastball on other days. Instead of a front end guy there is serious question as to whether he can even be a starting pitcher at all.
Luckily for the Yankees the rosters expand to 40 players today. That will give the Yankees a chance to call up a pitcher like Hector Noesi or Adam Warren and maybe work one of them in as the no. 5 starter rather than either Hughes or Burnett. It’s not like the Yankees are going to need a fifth starter in the playoffs anyway, might as well begin to work somebody into the rotation for next season.