Joe Girardi was impressed by his starting pitcher last night, but not for the usual reasons.
“He found a way to battle through it today,” Girardi said. “Which is a sign of a good pitcher, because he had no command of his fastball.”
Phil Hughes has walked five batters in each of his past two starts. That’s a season-high, a number he hadn’t reached since his first start of the year. Hughes had walked a total of six batters his six starts before this two-outing slide.
“It’s been going on for a couple starts, to so it’s starting to snowball,” Hughes said. “It’s something I need to get right, and we’ll work on these next couple bullpens, and we’ll see if we can get this thing turned around… I rely on my fastball. I throw it more than another pitch. I throw it a great deal. When it’s not there, it really makes it tough for me to do what I want to do. That was the case tonight.”
As he creeps closer to 150 innings, it’s natural to wonder whether this might have something to do with fatigue. Both Hughes and Girardi say that’s not the case.
Hughes: “It’s probably mechanical. Standing on the rubber, tonight especially, everything was different, every pitch. I couldn’t get in a groove. I did make a couple good pitches in a row, it left me and then I had to go find it again. It was a battle, and it’s not fun to pitch like that… It’s mechanical, finding consistency. It’s certainly not a strength or a fatigue issue.”
Girardi: “I don’t necessarily think it’s fatigue. I just think he’s been a little off. That’s my personal opinion. I think he’s been a little off and we need to get him back on track. Sometimes pitchers are going to go through that where they get to that point, sometimes it could be extra days rest that are a problem for a guy. He’s used to a certain routine. It seemed like when he was going every fifth day he was more consistent. The last couple of days he went on the sixth day. Sometimes there’s just no rhyme or reason.”
Here’s Hughes talking after last night’s game.
Don’t forget, Sam and I have a video chat coming up this afternoon at 1 p.m.
Associated Press photo