• April 28th @ The Tigers

    Posted by on April 28th, 2009 · Comments (22)

    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.

    Now that I think about it, this game might be the best one that Hughes has thrown in the bigs outside of that game of May 1, 2007. Yup, he was that good.

    Lastly, Mark Melancon is still looking like a younger, skinnier, and blonder, Roger Clemens to me. Am I the only one seeing that?

    Comments on April 28th @ The Tigers

    1. yagottagotomo1
      April 28th, 2009 | 11:13 pm

      Gameday’s pitch identification system was changed this year, and I’ve noticed a lot of glitches.

      About Hughes, I was most impressed with how well he was locating to both sides, and how much movement he was getting on the cutter. Nice game for him.

    2. April 28th, 2009 | 11:26 pm

      I wonder how much of an impact having Molina behind the plate really makes.

    3. clintfsu813
      April 28th, 2009 | 11:46 pm

      Yanks kick butt and The Rays and Sux both lose it in the 9th. I could get used to this!

    4. Pat F
      April 28th, 2009 | 11:56 pm

      good job here steve. obviously, we are all glad hughes pitched well. but whether he pitched well or poorly, it’s about him building/learning from each start, taking his regular turn, and getting better each time out. it’s about being good on a consistent basis, even though the results obviously aren’t always going to be as good as tonight. for now though, we can all enjoy how good tonight was.

      man, is it too much to ask girardi to bunt with a runner on first and no out and molina at the dish? i know i’m complaining after a much needed W, and i know he bunted him later in the game that scored the first two runs, but man, he really is a head scratcher. we had scored 3 runs in the last 20 innings when melky singled to leadoff the third. girardi has to bunt him there, get the runner to second, and put the pressure on jackson to get two outs without allowing a single. we need more from joe in that spot, and it concerns me that he flubs that kind of stuff so often.

    5. YankCrank
      April 29th, 2009 | 9:01 am

      What a fun game to watch. Hughes just did not back down, even with the umpire seemingly giving him no help, and when he got out of that bases loaded jam I knew he was going to have a good night. I know it’s one start, but it was so encouraging. Goof for him.

      Melancon was fun to see too, but I don’t understand why the YES announcers kept referring to him as a “fireballer.” It seems like he mixes good breaking stuff in with a modest 91-93 mph fastball. Now let’s see if Joba can follow him and put up a third straight quality start for the Yanks.

    6. butchie22
      April 29th, 2009 | 9:22 am

      I haven’t been the biggest Hughes fan BUT he certainly was impressive , I tip my hat off to him. Hopefully, he can only get better BUT the Yankees’ version of kryptonite is coming up: The Orange County Angels of Pasadena, California, Planet Earth! If the kid can keep it up, then they have one less problem/headache to deal with. HOF 2000 interesting question. I wonder if Raf can dig up opposing BA and the Yankee ERA when Molina catches vs Posada. That would be an interesting metric to see if anything.

    7. bfriley76
      April 29th, 2009 | 9:26 am

      Another bright spot…Swisher had a pretty good night: 2-3 with a homer, 1 rbi, 2 runs scored and on base 4 times. Maybe the reports of his demise were a bit premature. ;)

    8. Pat F
      April 29th, 2009 | 9:48 am

      lol bfriley.

    9. YankCrank
      April 29th, 2009 | 9:50 am

      lol bfriley i thought the same thing but decided not to post it, knew somebody would you and got it!

    10. April 29th, 2009 | 10:01 am

      Swisher? Com’on guys. We’re talking about a game where Jose Molina was one of the hitting stars and Melky Cabrera had two walks. It was human-batting tee night at Comerica on Tuesday…if you were a Tigers pitcher. Let’s not say Swisher is out of the woods yet.

    11. Raf
      April 29th, 2009 | 10:05 am

      I wonder if Raf can dig up opposing BA and the Yankee ERA when Molina catches vs Posada. That would be an interesting metric to see if anything.
      ————-
      JM: .212
      JP: .314

      I’m surprised b-r doesn’t have the ERA sorted by catcher, but that is merely a nit… I could figure it out, but that’s more trouble than the exercise warrants :D

    12. YankCrank
      April 29th, 2009 | 10:18 am

      Swisher? Com’on guys. We’re talking about a game where Jose Molina was one of the hitting stars and Melky Cabrera had two walks. It was human-batting tee night at Comerica on Tuesday…if you were a Tigers pitcher. Let’s not say Swisher is out of the woods yet.
      —-

      I think bfriley was just referring to the fact you spent half your day making a case to everybody on this blog, through a post and many comments, that Swish was about to go into this mega-hitting swoon of preposterous proportions and he went out and had a pretty nice night. Two walks, single, home run, two runs scored including the go-ahead run…just kinda funny, that’s all.

    13. Pat F
      April 29th, 2009 | 10:53 am

      right, what yankcrank said. and also, since you used a small sample size to say swisher was heading in the same direction as last year (for sure) and we needed nady back, we used an even smaller one to say that we don’t!

      we obviously aren’t saying swisher is out of the woods (which is too draconian a term for a short cold streak), but it’s also not fair to discredit what someone does based on what other people do. because molina and melky get hits, what everyone else does is discredited? when jeter has a bad game, is it okay for everyone to have a bad game? i know you weren’t taking it that far, but pretty close. a good game is a good game is a good game no matter how your teammates (good hitters or not) perform around you.

    14. Pat F
      April 29th, 2009 | 10:56 am

      i could just as easily throw out one of swisher’s 0-4′s because it was “human don’t give up any hits night” for the opposing pitcher, and jeter andn teixeira couldn’t get any hits so therefore swisher can’t. but i doubt you would throw that 0-4 out. good games are good games, bad games are bad games, no matter who the competition and definitely – definitely – no matter what your teammates do around you.

    15. Jake1
      April 29th, 2009 | 11:06 am

      why is anyone expecting a good managerial move from girardi? havent u watched the past yr???

    16. Pat F
      April 29th, 2009 | 11:13 am

      very good point jake.

    17. MJ
      April 29th, 2009 | 11:53 am

      why is anyone expecting a good managerial move from girardi? havent u watched the past yr???
      —–
      I wouldn’t go that far. He’s not without his quirks but I wouldn’t say he did a BAD job last year. If nothing else, he handled the pitching staff very well in 2008.

    18. Pat F
      April 29th, 2009 | 12:24 pm

      MJ – agreed that he handled the bullpen very well last year. but at the very least, some of that has dissappeared this year. at worst, it’s calling the validity of his work last year into question.

      and that’s on top of what i view continued boneheadedness in other aspects of the game. berroa over pena at third. not bunting molina when we haven’t scored in a week with a runner on first and no out in the third last night. consistently leaving starters in far too long (did it what seemed like every time rasner pitched last year, CC last week, AJ on sunday). i realize that some of that may be a product of him not trusting his bullpen as much this year. but he’s also partly to blame for the bullpen, because he has it going like a merry go-round this year trying to reinvent the wheel with matchups. a lot of it comes back to him, and outside of a few sound moves (damon/jeter flop), he’s been poor this year IMO. as one of my roommates, who is not a yankee fan, said on monday, “girardi wants to win so bad, when things are going badly, he wears it all over his face. that wears on a team.” i don’t fault girardi for being such a fierce competitor – i love that about him. but as the manager he can’t let it show, and he does. and i think sometimes this fire interferes with his rationale and affects his decision making. i’m very down on him, i hope he turns it around because i really like him as a person and want to see him, and the yankees, do well.

    19. butchie22
      April 29th, 2009 | 1:24 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Swisher? Com’on guys. We’re talking about a game where Jose Molina was one of the hitting stars and Melky Cabrera had two walks. It was human-batting tee night at Comerica on Tuesday…if you were a Tigers pitcher. Let’s not say Swisher is out of the woods yet.

      He’s not ready to become Babe Ruth Mark 2 by any means, but let the Swisherites/Swishers have their fun. Yeah Jose Tres Hermanos hit and so did Melkman as well as Swisher Sweet, that certainly is a miracle of some sort.

    20. butchie22
      April 29th, 2009 | 1:32 pm

      Pat F wrote:

      MJ – agreed that he handled the bullpen very well last year. but at the very least, some of that has dissappeared this year. at worst, it’s calling the validity of his work last year into question.
      and that’s on top of what i view continued boneheadedness in other aspects of the game. berroa over pena at third. not bunting molina when we haven’t scored in a week with a runner on first and no out in the third last night. consistently leaving starters in far too long (did it what seemed like every time rasner pitched last year, CC last week, AJ on sunday). i realize that some of that may be a product of him not trusting his bullpen as much this year. but he’s also partly to blame for the bullpen, because he has it going like a merry go-round this year trying to reinvent the wheel with matchups. a lot of it comes back to him, and outside of a few sound moves (damon/jeter flop), he’s been poor this year IMO. as one of my roommates, who is not a yankee fan, said on monday, “girardi wants to win so bad, when things are going badly, he wears it all over his face. that wears on a team.” i don’t fault girardi for being such a fierce competitor – i love that about him. but as the manager he can’t let it show, and he does. and i think sometimes this fire interferes with his rationale and affects his decision making. i’m very down on him, i hope he turns it around because i really like him as a person and want to see him, and the yankees, do well.

      I like Gym Teacher Joe quite a bit and he was OK managerially last year. His only problem is that sour puss of his. I like his intensity BUT Gym Teacher Joe chill a little bit during the game. Supposedly a Yankee executive gave him a book that documented how the NY Football Giants head coach, Tom Coughlin, changed his attitude for the betterment of the team. Funny that Swisher Sweet said that he likes Joe so much because he brings everyone together!

    21. YankCrank
      April 29th, 2009 | 1:48 pm

      Yeah Jose Tres Hermanos hit and so did Melkman as well as Swisher Sweet, that certainly is a miracle of some sort.
      —–

      I know you dislike Swisher for your own reasons and that’s ok, but are you implying that Swisher is a similar hitter to Melky Cabrera? Or, in some way, that it’s a “miracle” that Swisher hit the ball last night? I think that’s what you said…

      It’s amazing to me that you lobbied for a player with a career 108 OPS+ like Nady and you think Swish is at the level of Melky. I guess a personal bias speaks louder than actual baseball statistics to some.

    22. butchie22
      April 29th, 2009 | 7:00 pm

      YankCrank wrote:

      Yeah Jose Tres Hermanos hit and so did Melkman as well as Swisher Sweet, that certainly is a miracle of some sort.
      —–
      I know you dislike Swisher for your own reasons and that’s ok, but are you implying that Swisher is a similar hitter to Melky Cabrera? Or, in some way, that it’s a “miracle” that Swisher hit the ball last night? I think that’s what you said…
      It’s amazing to me that you lobbied for a player with a career 108 OPS+ like Nady and you think Swish is at the level of Melky. I guess a personal bias speaks louder than actual baseball statistics to some.

      Mate, you are missing my point completely. It is a miracle that all 3 are so prodigious offensively! I got to see Swisher play at the Cell last year(my now ex-girlfriend lived in Chicago) and I got to see him in the flesh(as I did with Oakland and he was good with them) and I didn’t like the sample size that I saw firsthand. In addition, he had such an off year last year. If you remember correctly, my ultimate statement on Swisher Sweet is that he will not be as bad as he was with the Pale Hose BUT he won’t be as good as he was with Oakland. Swisher was cooling down until last night and I expect him to me a nice player BUT that’s it. Let’s not make him Mickey Mantle,OK? I think he’s a real character and he is different than the Yankee Inc players a lot of the younger Yankee fans have come to know. I saw the Bronx Zoo first hand and saw a lot of characters during that time. I like the fact that he is not a zombie or cookie cutter Yankee.The whole “No Emotion Nady” thing is mute at this point because he’s injured.I don’t project or postulate on him, because he’s out of the picture and I would do the same for Swisher Sweet. We will be seeing more of Swisher AND he will be quite frankly more exposed and then seem less great when his numbers come back to earth, so to speak. I want the guy to do well for the team as Nady(when and if he comes back)BUT let’s be real, Swisher is not a great player BUT at best a nice one. Nuff said!

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