Phil Hughes said he felt good tonight. His fastball had good velocity. He threw some good offspeed pitches. He got to two-strikes on a lot of hitters.
Hughes had his shortest outing of the year because he wasn’t able to put hitters away, and Hughes said that was all because of command.
“That’s something that can’t happen, especially when we’re trying to win a series here,” he said “The pitch count was out of control and I wasn’t able to get that big strike or big ball off the plate I needed.”
Hughes got only 11 outs, but six of them were on strikes. When his pitches when where he wanted, they were plenty effective. But he also walked five, something he hadn’t done since his first start of the year.
“I didn’t think he had the great command of his fastball today, and I didn’t think it had the good downward plane,” Joe Girardi said. “When it’s more on one, flat level, it’s easier to foul those pitches off.”
Here’s Hughes talking after the game.
• Even thought it took him 102 pitches, Girardi said this will still count as only 3.2 innings for Hughes. “We’ll just count the innings because he’s going to get an extra day (of rest),” Girardi said.
• Is there any positive from limiting Hughes’ workload tonight? “That’s not the way I wanted it to happen,” Girardi said. “There’s no real silver lining. We’ll adjust as we have to, but obviously we didn’t have too many (innings) tonight.”
• No one seemed especially upset about the call at second base when Jose Bautista beat Derek Jeter to the bag. Hughes argued a lot on the field, but said it was “one of those plays where emotions kind of take over.”
• Girardi thought going to second base was the right play, and he thought Jeter got there as quickly as possible.
• Great night for Javier Vazquez, who seemed to have more life on his fastball, despite saying he felt physically the same as when he’s been pitching out of the rotation. “It feels good (but) we lost the game, so it’s nothing big,” Vazquez said. “To go out there and throw some zeros out there, it’s good for me.”
• Vazquez went 4.1 innings, which is as long as any of his past three starts.
• Oddly enough, the one big hit that didn’t bother Hughes too much was the Vernon Wells home run. It was a pitch up and out of the zone, like he wanted it, and Wells got it out of the park. “I’ve gotten him a few times on the exact same pitch,” Hughes said. “That’s one you, I don’t want to say live with, but you make your pitch and see what happens. That’s just two runs right there. It’s the other runs I kind of had a problem with.”
• Girardi indicated that he’ll consider playing Marcus Thames against some right-handed starters coming up. Thames has homered in back-to-back games and seems pretty hot at the moment. Half of his home runs this season have come off righties.
• Just a reminder about our daily online Yankees photo galleries.
Associated Press photos of Hughes and Brett Gardner