May Day, indeed. Another injury? Another pitcher? I’m calling it “The Curse of Jeff Mangold.”
This game reminded me that there’s a difference between disappointment and pain. Sure, disappointment can be painful. And, pain can be disappointing. But, there’s no contest between which hurts more – pain wins. Disappointment is getting an ice-cream cone and watching the top of it fall to the ground before your first lick. Pain is when someone punches you in the gut when you’re not expecting it.
That’s the way I felt about Hughes’ fortunes in this game. When he had to leave the game, and lost the chance at the no-hitter, it was disappointing. But, when I lip-read Gene Monahan (during the YES broadcast) say “It popped” (when talking about Hughes’ hamstring), I was in pain. Like a punch to the gut.
I have to confess that I missed most of the first six innings of this game. Tuesday evening is an Idol/House night in my home. (Hey, I don’t live alone and I’m not a TV dictator in my relationship.) However, from 8 pm to 10 pm, I did tune into the game during commercials – because I wanted to see Hughes. And, wouldn’t you know it – up until 9:30 pm, every time I turned to the game, the Yankees were batting.
By the time I first saw Hughes, it was when he was facing the first batter of the bottom of the fifth inning. I made note of the fact that he was throwing 89-90-91 on his fastball (and around 71 on his curve) – and that he was around 40 pitches. But, I did not know that he had yet to give up a hit. It wasn’t until the next commercial break that I found out about the potential no-hitter.
When House was over, and I got to the game full-time, it was the start of the bottom of the seventh. The YES boys said that Hughes was at 78 pitches. His first three pitches were fastballs: 89-91-92 on the YES gun. His next pitch, his last, was a curve at 74 MPH.
So, once again, Phil Hughes was showing us a fastball in the range of 89-92 MPH during his game. The difference in this contest was his control – 63% of his pitches were for strikes. If someone wants to say he had “no-hit stuff” in this game, that’s probably not correct. What Hughes had was “no-hit command.”
Shame, now we won’t see Hughes for another 6 weeks or so. It’s a tough break for the kid. For him, it must feel like someone punched him in the gut after he just dropped his ice cream cone.
By the way, I think the umpires blew a call in this game. Hughes had an 0-2 count on Teixeira when he had to leave the game. Myers came in and Teixeira then switched to batting righty. (He was batting left against Hughes.) If I recall correctly, a switch-hitter cannot move to the other box during an At Bat once he has two strikes on him. (At least, I think that’s the rule.) If I’m right, shame on the umps for letting that slide – and on Torre too for not picking that up.
In any event, the Yankees won the game – which is good. Strange though, with the Hughes injury, it feels like a loss.
Lastly, pretty funny of the YES crew last night to put the camera on Pavano shortly after the Hughes injury. Much like Horace Clarke being the face of the 1966-1972 Yankees, Pavano is becoming the face of the 2005-2007 Yankees, with all these pitching woes, huh?