• August 26th @ The Tigers

    Posted by on August 26th, 2007 · Comments (19)

    That Marcus Thames’ homer in the third was off an 88-MPH fastball, down the middle, from Phil Hughes. How is Phil Hughes serving up an 88-MPH fastball to the third batter in the third inning? Should he not have more life on his fastball than that – so early in the contest?

    David Justice, in the YES post-game, was right. When Hughes hits the corners with his fastball, he’s tough. But, when he gets too much of the plate with it, Hughes’ fastball is very hittable to major league batters. John Flaherty said this back on August 4th as well – that Phil’s 89-91 MPH fastball was very hittable in a spot where it’s expected.

    It will be interesting to see if this will always be the case with Phil Hughes.

    Less than two weeks ago, the Yankees were just 4 games back of Boston in the A.L. East. Since that time, New York has gone 5-7 while the Red Sox have gone 9-4. The gap between the two teams is now 7 games in the loss column.

    It’s probably safe at this point for the Boston Red Sox to put that 2007 A.L. East Crown Champagne on ice.

    To date, this season, the Yankees have gone 3-0 against the Pirates, 5-1 against the Rangers, 6-0 against the Indians, and 3-0 against the Diamondbacks. That’s a total of 17-1 against the Pirates, Rangers, Indians and Diamondbacks. This means New York has gone 55-57 against everyone else (not named the Pirates, Rangers, Indians or Diamondbacks). Heck, maybe the 2007 Yankees are just not that good?

    Comments on August 26th @ The Tigers

    1. August 26th, 2007 | 9:25 pm

      Steve, two (half) of those teams lead their division.

    2. Corey
      August 26th, 2007 | 9:58 pm

      the problem for hughes is he doesn’t have a third pitch (at least one that he uses) that he can throw consistantly for strikes. When he can’t locate on his curve, hitters just sit fastball and crush it.

    3. Joel
      August 26th, 2007 | 11:40 pm

      Let’s all just relax here. Hughes will be fine. At this point, Steve is so down on Hughes that even if the guy throws three perfect games in a row–he just might have the privelege of winding up like Andy Benes. He’s a young pitcher. He’s going to get hit. Lincecum gets hit. Cain gets hit. Even King Felix gets hit. If Hughes stays healthy, he’ll be a front-end of the rotation guy for the next 12-15 years.

      And, did any of us seriously think that the Yanks were going to win this division? So what if the Red Sox win it. Three back in the loss column with 32 to go is very doable. The schedule gets easier. Seattle’s gets tougher. And they did the Yanks a favor by losing again to a bad Texas team.

      No reason whatsoever to despair. Nothing is “slipping away.” We still have a very good chance.

    4. Zack
      August 27th, 2007 | 1:29 am

      Gee, thats funny, I also saw Phil Hughes throwing 93 MPH fastballs in the 6th inning. I also saw him retire 11 in a row, strike out 6 compared to 1 bb, and, other than the 2 HRs and one horrible misplay by Matsui, allow but one hit. You can’t take away the two Hrs of course, but a) the Tigers offense is very very good b) Hughes was far more economical this start c) hes 21 and missed a lot of time that sapped him of development d) he had a thigh injury, which is where a power pitcher generates his velocity from 3) oh yeah, hes 21, pitchers don’t reach their prime until 26-27…

      Phil actually has 4 plus pitches, but for whatever reason, the Yanks game plan has kept him solely to fastballs and curves. His changeup is ML ready and his slider is filthy…

      I guarantee you that Joba, with his 100 mph pitches, would be going through the exact same thing. Chill

    5. August 27th, 2007 | 8:16 am

      ~~~Steve, two (half) of those teams lead their division.~~~

      Ok, take Arizona out. That still means it’s 14-1 against the Pirates, Indians and Rangers and 58-57 against the rest.

      And, yes, the Indians are in 1st place – but, that’s not because they’re good – it’s because they got off to a hit start and are 14-5 against the Rangers and Devil Rays.

    6. rbj
      August 27th, 2007 | 8:44 am

      Steve, Phil got much better later in the game. One HR was a misplay be Matsui. The other two Phil had 2 strikes on the batters. He’s just a young guy learning to pitch at this level.

    7. August 27th, 2007 | 9:21 am

      ~~~He’s just a young guy learning to pitch at this level.~~~

      Agreed, 100%. But, can the Yankees afford to do this, at this time? And, is it the best thing for Hughes, and them, to be doing this now?

    8. rbj
      August 27th, 2007 | 10:03 am

      No, Yankees can’t afford this right now. But what else are you going to do? Put Kei Igawa in? Should Cashman have signed David Wells when he had the chance? The wild card is still in play, which realistically is all that’s left. I think Clemens/Pettitte/Wang can get them there.

      AS for the best thing for Hughes, I think this is best for him. He’s learning to pitch at the highest level, in the midst of a pennant race, and if the Yankees don’t make it, it isn’t his fault — he’s just the rookie fifth starter anyway.

    9. August 27th, 2007 | 10:29 am

      ~~~No, Yankees can’t afford this right now. But what else are you going to do?~~~

      Hire a GM who won’t count on Pavano and Igawa to be 40% of his starting rotation.

      Again, if Cashman plans better last off-season, then Hughes is not needed and maybe you can use Mussina as just the 5th starter.

    10. baileywalk
      August 27th, 2007 | 11:34 am

      I’m shocked and disgusted by how people are burying Hughes. I’m not talking specifically about Steve here, either. Michael Kay was a disgrace on the air yesterday calling Hughes overrated. Al Leiter is even worse for not articulating the obvious: PHIL HUGHES IS THE YOUNGEST PITCHER IN THE LEAGUE, ALL OF 21, THIS IS HIS SEVENTH MAJOR-LEAGUE START AND HE’S LEARNING ON THE FLY! You’re talking about someone who spent a few WEEKS in AAA. He basically went to the big leagues straight from AA. Is anyone stupid enough to think he’s not going to get hit?

      I didn’t hear Justice say it, but if he truly said “he’s tough when his fastball is on the corners but when it’s over the plate it’s hittable” then he should get a gold star for obviousness. You can say the same thing about every pitcher in baseball.

      Everyone was already claiming Hughes was a piece of garbage yesterday. Even a place like Pending Pinstripes, which was a real shock to me.

      I just don’t understand what people expect. Do they expect no-hitters every time he’s out there? Complete-game shutouts? He’s proving he can hang in the majors at 21. That’s pretty impressive. Even when the end results haven’t been stellar (like yesterday) he’s still been pretty good. He only gave up four hits — two were misplaced fastballs for home runs and one was a bad play by Matsui that turned into an inside-the-park home run.

      Hughes is 21, still learning how to pitch, still improving. What you see today is not what you might see in just a year or two. Are people this dense? You might accept this from fans, but writers too? It’s unbelievable to me.

      And the velocity thing… it just seems like it’s going to be an endless debate. I don’t know why people pay so much attention to radar guns. Remember when Yankee fans were so upset because YES was clocking Randy Johnson at 88 and NESN and ESPN had him at 95? The Stadium gun is always 1-2 miles per hour faster than YES. The gun in Comerica is 3 miles an hour faster. The difference between the SNY gun and Shea gun is sometimes as much as 5 miles an hour. Which is right? And frankly, who cares? The velocity of a fastball always has to be judged based on how a batter reacts to it. In the case of yesterday’s game, Phil put two right down the middle and paid for it. But it wasn’t the lack of velocity — it was location.

    11. Andrew
      August 27th, 2007 | 11:42 am

      Excuse me, “plans better”?

      Even in hindsight, what should Cashman have done? Did you want him to sign Zito to a 7-year deal? Ted Lilly for $11 million for 4 years? Jeff Weaver? Predict that the Red Sox were going to become exactly like the Yankees and use their financial advantage to blow everyone else out of the water for the Matsuzaka negotiation rights, and blow THEM out of the water? Those were the options. Not everything can be exactly perfect. No GM can just go out and sign good, solid free agent pitchers to short-term deals. Oh. But wait! He did! Andy Pettitte! Funny how he never gets credit for things that work out excellently.

      Anyway Steve, please, please, PLEASE tell me what teams have exact, solid plans for their fifth starters that you know will work out 100%. Heck, the ‘best team in baseball’ Red Sox counted on Julian Tavarez and (eventually) Jon Lester to make 20% of their teams starts. That has worked out better for them than they could even have dreamed. How is that much different than Pavano and Hughes?

      It’s easy to criticize in hindsight, Steve. But it’s not real intelligent, or fair, or constructive.

    12. August 27th, 2007 | 12:28 pm

      ~~~Ted Lilly for $11 million for 4 years? ~~~

      How much did they spend on Igawa – including the posting fee? That would have covered Lilly, and been a better investment, no?

    13. August 27th, 2007 | 12:33 pm

      ~~~How is that much different than Pavano and Hughes?~~~

      The plan was never Hughes and Pavano. The plan was Pavano and Igawa. And, that’s a bad plan. Cashman has to be held accountable for that, IMHO.

    14. Andrew
      August 27th, 2007 | 12:34 pm

      In hindsight, maybe. Just maybe. Lilly’s pitching okay for the Cubs…in the NL.

      Also factor in that you’re paying him $11 million without luxury tax, with the 40% luxury tax, it’s more like $16 million a year, which is significantly more than what they spent on Igawa + the posting fee. And I doubt Lilly would have been able to be sent to the minors.

      So, no. Even in hindsight, you can’t say definitively that it would have been a better investment.

    15. Andrew
      August 27th, 2007 | 1:07 pm

      The plan was Pavano and Igawa, with Hughes as a contingency. Hughes was always going to come up this year, unless you seriously thought Cashman believed that Igawa and Pavano would last the entire season.

      Believe me, if Cashman didn’t actually have contingencies in place, we’d be talking about one of the worst Yankee teams of all time. Thankfully, Cashman knows what he is doing, and even though the Yankees had 1 starter for all of April, they’re still in contention today. Cash doesn’t get credit for that, though, does he?

    16. August 27th, 2007 | 1:25 pm

      ~~~Thankfully, Cashman knows what he is doing, and even though the Yankees had 1 starter for all of April, they’re still in contention today. Cash doesn’t get credit for that, though, does he?~~~

      I’ll give Cash the credit for having, pun coming, the “cash” to go out and buy Roger Clemens – and get 20 starts (by the time the season is over) that he would have had no one else to cover – thanks to his plan of Pavano and Igawa. Brian was lucky that Roger was out there – and that Stein was willing to pay. Otherwise, it would have been Wang and Pettitte, only, and the Yankees would not be in contention now.

    17. Andrew
      August 27th, 2007 | 3:52 pm

      Cashman said they allotted that amount of money for Clemens before the season even started. As I said, it was a contingency plan he already had in place, not a pull-it-out-of-your-ass desperation move.

      Unfortunately for the Yankees and Brian Cashman, they needed those contingency plans. I would love to see where the Sox would be if they even needed to use more than one ‘contingency’ during the entire season. It’s been a blessed season for them, and a wretched one for the Yankees. Not to excuse poor performance, but to put the jobs by various GMs in perspective.

    18. Joel
      August 27th, 2007 | 4:46 pm

      Andrew–Give us all a break. With an owner who has spent a billion bucks on players over the last five years, it is very easy to come up with endless “contingency plans.” You are far too generous to Cashman, who operates with a cushion like no other GM in professional sports. Cashman is blessed with the capacity to make expensive mistakes–and then spend more to correct them.

    19. Raf
      August 28th, 2007 | 12:37 pm

      I’ll give Cash the credit for having, pun coming, the “cash” to go out and buy Roger Clemens – and get 20 starts (by the time the season is over) that he would have had no one else to cover – thanks to his plan of Pavano and Igawa.
      ===============================
      I think it has been overlooked that while Pavano & Igawa were counted on to be the 4th & 5th starters, there were backups in Kartsens & Rasner. Hughes, IIRC, was to come sometime after the ASB. DeSalvo was available to spot start as the org felt he had turned a corner.

      Yanks happened to have a perfect storm of injuries and ineffectiveness.

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