Hughes’ Underlying Performance

(Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Last night the Yankees won a very well-played game and outplayed Minnesota in every part of the game for the second straight day. Russell Martin hit two homers, Derek Jeter had two hits and scored two runs, and Robbie Cano had another big game as well. But probably the biggest part of this one was Phil Hughes outing. He allowed one run on two hits and three walks while striking out two over seven frames. But was he as dominant as the line shows?

The answer is no. I saw some writers on Twitter saying how good he looked and one in particular went on to say that it was the best he has looked in over a year. I could maybe get on board with the former comment, but the latter is a bit ridiculous. I think he looked a lot better in his start in Chicago a few weeks back. In that outing, he struck out four, walked none, and probably would have gone more than six innings if it weren’t for the rain.

Back to last night’s start, a look at the peripherals will show that Hughes was playing with fire, for lack of a better term. He posted a GB% of around 30%, an unsustainable BABIP of around .045, only recorded two swinging strikes, and was only sitting at around 92 mph with the fastball until it dipped as the game went on.

Don’t get me wrong, Hughes still worked efficiently, only needing 106 pitches to get through almost eight frames, but he wasn’t dominant against a Jim Thome-less Minnesota lineup that I think he should have begging for mercy (only two guys in last night’s Twins lineup had an OBP over .300!!).

There are definitely good things we can take from this start and maybe it gave Hughes some confidence, but we should approach his next start with skepticism and not expect another game of almost eight innings of one-run ball.


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