Another day, another bad start for Phil Hughes who gave up four runs in just 2.2 innings. It was the same old story too, his fastball was good, his secondary pitches awful, and his command was even worse. He could get ahead of hitters, but couldn’t finish them off.
“Every outing like this is disappointing in its own way,” Hughes told Chad Jennings of the Journal News. “It’s tough to deal with. The last start wasn’t good by any means. None of them have been good, so it’s a tough thing to deal with. You just hope things get better before they get worse. I’ll do everything in my power and do my best to try to do that.”
It’s been a long time since Hughes came up in 2007. He’s no longer a rookie and instead is a veteran presence on the club, albeit a not so great one. Games like this should be happening with less frequency by now, but instead it has become a regular thing. This is not even like the way A.J. Burnett used to struggle where there was one or two blips in the game, but he was at least able to give them some innings. This more has the feel that even if he were able to hang in there and have a good outing, he would still be out by the 5th or 6th because his pitch count is way too high.
However, without a clear option to replace him at this point, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he has no plans to remove Hughes from the rotation at this point.
“Our plans are to send him out there again,” Girardi told Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger.
The problem is that the Yankees like Hughes and think his “stuff” will eventually translate into a strong, young starter even if he hasn’t shown even an inkling of pitchability or ability to improve his secondary stuff. So they will continue to run him out there even if they lose every fifth day because if he somehow could prove that this is merely a slow start and not a continuation of the past year and a half then they would be a significantly better team for it.
What gets interesting is when Andy Pettitte comes back. Hughes is not the only one struggling and the Yankees will have to make a tough choice about who to remove from the rotation, a veteran well past his prime in Freddy Garcia or a young pitcher who has never lived up to his reputation.