Yeah, the Yankees scored like a gazillion runs in this contest. But, that’s not the story from this game.
Tonight belongs to Phil Hughes. Wow. What a difference a year makes!
This evening, Phil Hughes faced 23 Tigers batters and retired 18 of them. All told, Hughes went 6 innings in this game, throwing 99 pitches (with 58 being strikes), and he allowed zero runs. Last time I checked, you can’t do better than allowing zero runs. So, Hughes was real good today.
But, more so, what impressed me was the quality of Phil Hughes’ pitches in this game. Here’s what I saw via the YES coverage:
- A fastball in the range of 91-93 MPH
- A cutter in the range of 86-88 MPH
- A curveball in the range of 72-75 MPH
Now, I know that many Yankees fans don’t believe the YES gun – claiming that it’s slow. So, once this game was out of hand, I went over to MLB.com’s Gameday and they showed me just about the same MPH marks for Hughes (as YES). The only difference was that Gameday called Hughes’ cutter a “slider.” (Big deal. Same difference.)
It was very nice to see Hughes’ fastball in the range of 91-93 MPH tonight. According to the Yankees’ Brian Cashman, that’s where Hughes’ fastball should be, in terms of speed, and that’s where it wasn’t recently. (According to Fangraphs, in 2007, Hughes average fastball was 91 MPH, and, in 2008, his average heater was 91.2 MPH. So, this backs up Cashman’s point about Hughes’ fastball being below expectations the last two seasons.)
Again, Phil Hughes was very impressive today – sans a few hanging curves – and he fully deserves another turn in the rotation. And, that should come on Sunday, May 3rd, at Yankee Stadium, on “Cap Day,” against the Angels and Joe Saunders. I’m very much looking forward to seeing that one – and what Hughes does to follow up on this evening.
Lastly, Mark Melancon is still looking like a younger, skinnier, and blonder, Roger Clemens to me. Am I the only one seeing that?