On The Hughes Blues

Phil Hughes is scheduled to make his fifth start since coming off the disabled list tonight and it’s probably his most important. The Yankees have been talking about going with a six man rotation, but Hughes, the weakest link as of right now, might not stay in it much longer. With Ivan Nova’s solid start on Saturday night, a bad start tonight for Phil could mean he will lose his spot.

(Nick Laham/Getty Images)

I mean it does make sense. Hughes hasn’t been nearly the same pitcher he was last year. After striking out more than seven per nine innings in 2010, that total is now down to around four and a half while he is walking almost one more per nine. He has lost an average of two miles per hour on his fastball which has forced him to use it 8% less which has made him use his curveball 6% more. This all being said, he is missing almost 4% less bats which is bringing down his numbers.

So if Hughes were to underperform tonight, what would happen? They can’t just keep sending him out there every six or so days to get killed. It hurts him and it hurts the team. Well, a lot of people say that he should go to the bullpen, but what good does that do him and the team? He has proven that he can be an effective starter and he would the most value as a starter. Since this rules out the bullpen, why not do what they did with Ivan Nova and send him to Scranton to work on a few things and get his confidence up.

So a lot will be put into tonight’s start. He has made two poor starts in a row and a third one may be the last straw. The Yanks are still trying to win ball games and Hughes is not helping that. I hope he pitches well and is able to somewhat bounce back, but at this point I just don’t see that happening.

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