You knew this would happen. You just knew it.
The Yankees lost four in a row and the fans wanted everybody fired. Then Phil Hughes pitched six shutout innings and now everybody wants to know what will happen when Chien-Ming Wang comes back.
Oh, heavens, they’ll have too many good pitchers. What a dilemma.
Here’s a wild thought: Sit back and watch the game tonight and stop worrying about it.
Hughes pitched one game. Let’s wait a few starts before deciding that his being good is such a problem. Meanwhile, Chien-Ming Wang will throw 40 pitches to 17-year-old kids on Saturday. He’s not exactly racing up the interstate to the Bronx.
But for the sake of internet traffic (and my e-mail in-box), let’s say that Wang comes back in early June and Hughes is 4-1, 2.85. What then?
You shake Phil’s hand, thank him for a job well done and send him back to Scranton until he is needed again.
Get this much straight: CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte are pitching every five days if they are healthy. That’s a given. There is not going to be a six-man rotation. Those guys are conditioned to pitch every five days and they’re getting a pile of money to do so.
Joba Chamberlain also needs to pitch. One good start by Hughes in April should not start the “We need Joba in the bullpen” nonsense. Who knew that Tyler Kepner was such a rabble-rouser?
Here is what some people can’t seem to understand: Joba threw 100 innings last season. He needs to throw 150-plus this season so that in 2010 he can throw 180-plus. Then he can throw 200-plus in 2011 and so on. This is a young man with a great arm, four pitches and the makeup to be an ace. The Yankees would be foolish not to give him every chance to be a starter.
If you send him back to the bullpen, you’re starting the process all over again and increasing the risk of injury by suddenly changing his role. Joba has a 2.43 ERA in 15 starts over the last two seasons. That is really, really, very, very good.
This season is going to take twists and turns none of us can see coming. The odds of Sabathia, Burnett and Pettitte each making 33 starts are slim. I wrote this in spring training and more than I ever I believe it to be true: Hughes will throw 100 innings in the majors and be a very important piece of this team.
Oh — by the way — he’s not ready to go 180 innings, either. Given his history, what in the world suggests to you that he’s going to pitch every five days from now until October?
Let this play out. Hughes can fill in for Wang right now. Mark Melancon is here and looking great. The other relievers aren’t as bad as they have been so far. It’ll work out.
If the biggest problem the Yankees have this season is what to do with all of their great starting pitchers, the second biggest problem will be what day to have the parade.