Last night, I made the following comment at this blog:
Heck, you may never see Mussina or Hughes go late into a game this year.
And, already, I’m catching some heat from the “Friends of Hughes” throng for that statement. So, I thought I would add this to show why I made that statement.
Last season, Hughes made 13 big league starts. In 6 of those 13 starts, he did not pitch 6 innings. And, in fact, in only one of those 13 starts did he pitch 7 innings.
Based on Phil Hughes’ P/BF mark of 4.04 last season, and the fact that the Yankees will probably keep him to about 100 pitches per start this season, you can only expect Hughes to face around 24 batters per game this year. So, for Hughes to pitch 7 innings in a game this season, with that P/BF rate of 4.04, he’s going to have to pitch a three-hitter with no walks allowed, each time out. And, that’s not going to happen.
You see, when I say “go late into a game” I mean pitch 7 innings in the contest.
Andy Pettitte had 7+ innings in a start last year 17 times. Chien-Ming Wang did it 14 times in 2007. It can be done.
I just don’t see Hughes pitching 7 innings or more (in a start) too many times in 2008. If he does it more than seven times all season, I’ll be shocked.
If you think Phil Hughes will pitch 7+ innings in a start, and meet my definition of “go late into a game,” more times than not this season, then that’s great for you. Me? I’ve yet to see anything to suggest that’s a reasonable expectation to have for this season.
Sure, maybe Hughes can improve on his 4.04 P/BF rate this season? Maybe that will allow him to go deeper in games? But, we have not seen that this spring. So, again, I stand by my prediction: You may never see Hughes go late into a game this year.
O.K. never is a strong word. Make that “hardly ever.” Yeah, that’s better. “You may hardly ever see Hughes go late into a game this year.”
Let’s all promise to look back at this come October, OK?