Man, it seems like it’s been forever since that big comeback win against the Indians. Talk about a long week.
When you factor in his age, and the way he was rushed to the big leagues, and the fact that it was his big league cherry today, I thought Phil Hughes was impressive tonight.
That said, this evening, while watching Hughes, I still see “Andy Benes.”
The key is watching Hughes against proven batters like Vernon Wells and Frank Thomas and then again versus batters like Jason Smith and Adam Lind. Sure, Phil gets the “B” batters out. But, what happened when he faced “A” batters?
Bottom line, I saw Hughes tonight as having excellent stuff – but it’s not electric stuff. When Roger Clemens and Doc Gooden were babies, they had electric stuff. I did not see that from Hughes this evening. Case in point: A.J. Burnett, after throwing 100 pitches, was still hitting 96 MPH on the gun tonight. Phil Hughes, after 80-something pitches was just touching 90 MPH on the gun.
Of course, this was just one night – and it was Hughes first major league start. Things can change in time…and maybe that electric stuff shows in later starts? But, for now, again, I see “Andy Benes” when I watch Phil Hughes pitch. That’s not the worst thing in the world for Hughes. But, it’s probably not in line with the hype and subsequent expectations that are around the kid now.
Moving on to the bigger picture, tonight’s loss puts a ton of pressure on Andy Pettitte tomorrow. With Karstens pitching on Saturday – and, thank goodness that Igawa has been yanked from the rotation – a loss on Friday could mean that the Yankees are looking at an 8-game losing streak heading into Sunday’s game…along with being 7 1/2 games back of Boston on the morning of Wang’s start on Sunday.
The Yankees need a win on Friday. I know it’s only April – and it’s hard to say a game in April is a “must win.” But, if ever there was a “must win” game in April…tomorrow is it for the Yankees.