Going into Monday night’s start Phil Hughes had a good thing going. In his previous four games he had a 2.81 ERA, had been pitching deeper into games, and was showing more pitch-ability than usual.
It didn’t last very long though as he was lit up for six earned runs against the Angels over just 5.1 innings. It was a rough outing. He gave up four runs in the 1st after the Yankees gave him a 3-0 lead in the top of the inning. After that he got lucky as four players hit outs deep to the warning track leading up to 5th inning homer by Mike Trout.
That homer was the 12th Hughes has given up this season and kept his streak of giving up at least one per game. A streak that many people have said is a product at least partially of bad luck, but last night Hughes was lucky to have only given up the one. At his current pace he would give up 47 homers over 200 innings.
The poor start gives pause to what Hughes’ four game streak actually was. On the surface, it was impressive, but then you realize it was against the 10th, 3rd, 10th, and 13th best offenses in the AL and that he was only able to finish the 7th inning against the worst of those teams, Seattle, and was knocked out after 5.1 innings against the best of them, Toronto, and it takes a lot of the luster off that shine.
Hughes is only 25-years-old so it seems premature to declare him an official bust, but he has now pitched in 81 games and has thrown just 440 innings with 349 strikeouts, 153 walks, and a 4.99 ERA. His control seems like a plus, but a lot of times he doesn’t walk a lot of batters because, like he did against the Angels, he was just firing meatballs down the center of the plate. It keeps the walks down, but he ends up giving up a ton of home runs.
There probably isn’t a whole lot of danger of Hughes getting removed from the rotation, but it’s time for him to shit or get off the pot.