This is now two really bad starts in a row for Phil Hughes.
Whether Hughes was too amped up in the first, or, if it was just a meltdown thing (see the bad pitch-out and the cross-ups), the result was the same: 39 pitches for that one frame is just flat out ugly.
Actually, truth be told, I was very impressed when Hughes returned the next inning and only needed 11 pitches in the second. When that happened, I thought “Hey, there’s a chance that he might rebound here and actually give the team four or maybe five innings tonight.” But, then came the third inning – where Hughes was done for good…just 15 pitches into it.
Next Friday night will now be a big start now for Hughes. He needs to show a better effort in that one, against the O’s.
If Hughes is unable to give the Yankees a decent start more than half the time he pitches, New York will have to begin to consider a point where it’s time to ponder other options – just as they will for Ian Kennedy if he continues to struggle as well.
Presently, the next great Yankees pitching prospect, Alan Horne, is injured. This means the pool of potential replacement starters at Triple-A is down to Darrell Rasner, Steven White, Jeffrey Marquez, and Kei Igawa.
Marquez and White, to date, have been pitching poorly at Scranton-Wilkes Barre. Rasner and Igawa have both done well in their first two starts there – but we’ve seen what major league hitters can do to them.
Brass tacks, there’s no net here. If Hughes and Kennedy cannot consistently do the job, the Yankees, and their season, could be toast.
Sure, it’s been bad weather and the Yankees have been facing good teams and hot teams in their first 13 games this year. Personally, I see these things as just being excuses. You’re going to face bad weather and good/hot teams in October. So, what’s the difference about facing them in April?
And, yes, I know that this “BF<=15 and ER>=6″ game result tonight from Hughes and the “BF<=15 and ER>=6″ game result from Kennedy on April 4th have come just as we’re barely into the season. Additionally, I know that Andy Pettitte, in his Yankees career, has posted 5 games where he’s pulled the “BF<=15 and ER>=6″ trick – including this turkey as a 23-year old in his 18th career start – and Andy’s career has lived to tell.
So, yes, the last two games for Hughes – and Kennedy as well – should not be taken as a lock that they will continue to fail more often than not and will need to be replaced in the rotation.
But, you cannot ignore the last two games for Hughes and Kennedy and just write them off…especially if they continue to struggle.
It’s a big night for Kennedy tomorrow and a big night for Hughes on April 18th. Hopefully, they’ll both start to pitch better than we’ve seen lately.