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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Postgame notes: “Definitely an eye-opener”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Notes, Podcast on Aug 20, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

It was earlier this month that Phil Hughes seemed to be pitching for his spot in the rotation and delivered that six-inning, rain-shortened shutout in Chicago. That was less than three weeks ago, and Hughes is no longer looking like an odd man out. Right now he looks like the Yankees No. 2 starter.

“It’s not even my focus, the playoffs or the next rotation around and who’s going to be the guy left out,” Hughes said. “It’s not really anything I think about. I’m happy with the way the last few starts have gone, and that’s really all I think about, and the next one I get.”

In his past three starts, beginning in Chicago, Hughes has a 1.37 ERA, allowing nine hits in 19.2 innings. Tonight he walked more than he struck out — fourth time he’s done that this season — but in his past four starts he has 15 strikeouts and five walks.

“This was definitely an eye-opener for me,” Russell Martin said. “Just being back there and hitting spots like he was and having confidence. He shook me off a couple of times and wanted to go in with the fastball in and he executed a pitch about eight, nine times out of 10. Definitely pretty impressive.”

Joe Girardi’s been talking a lot about Hughes’ confidence lately, but he seems most impressed by Hughes confidence in his secondary pitches. Martin said Hughes’ curveball was only “okay” tonight, but Hughes was still mixing plenty of offspeed pitches all night. He’s started throwing the changeup a lot more, and the cutter’s becoming a weapon again (though not as overused as it’s been at some points in the past).

“That’s the game plan,” Hughes said. “Moving my fastball in and out, changeups when I feel like I need to, cutters when I need to, and curveballs in the right situations. It just seems like we’re picking the right pitch at the right time right now. Russ and I have been on the same page for the most part, and it makes it fun to do that when you and your catcher are seeing eye-to-eye like that.”

The Yankees still have rotation questions to answer — and they still have more than a month to play — but Hughes is making his case. He was hurt, then he was rehabbing, then he was getting himself back into a rhythm at this level. Now he’s showing how good he can be.

“We think all our guys can help,” Girardi said. “We’re just going to let this all play out, continue to try to win ballgames and win series. We have a long ways to go before we get to the playoffs, but I’m very pleased with the way he’s throwing the bal and the way a lot of our guys are throwing the ball.”

Here’s Hughes.

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• Mark Teixeira reached 1,000 career RBI with his two-run double in the ninth. “You almost can’t believe it,” Teixeira said. “I’ve always been someone that’s just played every game and every year. It’s a grind, and it’s never easy. When you reach something like 1,000 RBI in only nine years, you look at yourself and say, ‘Okay, I’m doing all right.’ Just keep doing what you’re doing, keep working hard and hopefully there’s a lot more to come.”

• Russell Martin had his third multi-homer game of the season. He had one before this year. He’s now homered three times in his past two games after hitting two home runs in his previous 34 games. “I just kind of simplified my approach,” Martin said. “Just going up there and just swinging the bat hard and trying to see the ball. See the ball, hit the ball. And that’s really all I’ve been doing. I’ve been working with K-Long a lot in the cage, and he’s a confidence booster. You spend a lot of time with him and he just makes you feel good about yourself. I think that’s the main thing.”

• Hughes was asked if he was happier with Martin’s work at the plate or behind the plate. “I’ll go with the two homers,” Hughes said. “It’s nice to have that run support. He’s automatic when it comes to calling a good game back there. To see him break out like that is pretty exciting.”

• Did you expect this? The Yankees are now tied with Kansas City for the American League lead in stolen bases. Curtis Granderson stole his 23rd of the season and the Ynakees have 121 for the year. They have 40 steals in his past 33 games.

• Derek Jeter is hitting .353 with 10 doubles, two triples and two home runs in his past 37 games. The guy just keeps hitting, and his batting average is up to .292. His 152 career hits are ninth-most against the Twins among active players. He’s a career .321 hitter against Minnesota.

• Jeter needs four hits to tie Rod Carew for 22nd on baseball’s all-time hits list.

• Hughes on the home run by Trevor Plouffe: “Trevor’s a good fastball hitter and I made the mistake of trying to overpower him. I leaked over the middle of the plate and he put a good swing on it. I made the adjustment with him. Some other guys, we got some good game plans, but it was one run. I knew we could score some runs and we scored plenty tonight.”

• Robinson Cano has an 11-game hitting streak.

• Jeter was taken out of the game in the ninth inning. Girardi said he’s not hurt, just pulled because it was an 8-1 game. Jeter is fine after the play at the plate.

Associated Press photos

 
 

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53 Responses to “Postgame notes: “Definitely an eye-opener””

  1. pft2 August 20th, 2011 at 12:55 am

    “Jeter is fine after the play at the plate.”

    Gulp.

    The test will be tommorow as it may stiffen up on him overnight. He was definitely feeling it after the play.

  2. Nilsson August 20th, 2011 at 12:56 am

    Once Hughes’s arm strength is 100%, you won’t see hitters tomahawk his high heat the way Plouffe did tonight. He just needs to stay in rotation and build his arm back up.

  3. Vineyard Yankee August 20th, 2011 at 12:58 am

    I love Phil Hughes he pitched a very nice game tonight. He is a nice man. If you are unsure about how nice Phil is, ask Nellie.

  4. West Coast Yankee Fan August 20th, 2011 at 12:58 am

    Phil is nice.

  5. JM August 20th, 2011 at 1:42 am

    The Captain is on fiah

  6. jacksquat August 20th, 2011 at 2:07 am

    Colon goes 4-1 with a 2.79 ERA in his previous five starts and then has ONE poor start and almost everyone here including Chad is ready to throw him under the bus.

    You all don’t deserve his performance.

  7. Pat M. August 20th, 2011 at 2:09 am

    It’s enjoyable here especially the Yankee post game after a win…..the game thread was void of the doomsday rhetoric and actual good baseball discussions favor the dialog…..Good to see some old pals……Maybe in time ours visits can become the norm rather than the exception……Mick, you’re a funny guy, and you remind me a little of the early days of Nick in SF…..Nick has developed this cerebral sense of humor that is and can be challenging to say the least…….It was a good visit guys…..Good morning to Doc Joe and the breakfast club…..I do miss Doreen and Erica…Irreplaceable those two….Avoir

  8. Pat M. August 20th, 2011 at 2:11 am

    jacksquat…..I’ve been saying it since before the All Star break, in the end, it’ll Garcia who’ll be answering the phone down the stretch and into October……In the bullpen is where he’ll be

  9. Wang IS Taiwan August 20th, 2011 at 2:37 am

    No one on this blog has ever had the wit to match Nick in SF. No one.

  10. West Coast Yankee Fan August 20th, 2011 at 4:38 am

    Au Revoir is nice.

  11. BIG AL August 20th, 2011 at 7:27 am

    A huge Yankees win, and civility returns to LoHud. :)

  12. upstate kate August 20th, 2011 at 7:37 am

    a double win Al, hopefully AJ keeps it going

  13. NYY fan in NH August 20th, 2011 at 7:52 am

    Missed the game last night, but am very happy that Hughes seems to be getting his arm strength back and command is alot better. Martin had a nice game at the plate and has 15 HR now. Not a stretch to see him between 20-25 HR. He’s worth an extension just for what he does behind the plate, but his offense is coming around.

  14. MaineYankee August 20th, 2011 at 7:57 am

    BIG AL August 20th, 2011 at 7:27 am
    A huge Yankees win, and civility returns to LoHud.

    ———————————————————

    The level of immaturity by some was tiresome, but otherwise much better.

    The late night was more like in the past with some good baseball discussion.

  15. 108 stitches August 20th, 2011 at 8:04 am

    Continuing upward trends from Phil Hughes is a breath of fresh air. If the playoffs started today, Hughes would be the No. 2 starter with Burnett not on the playoff roster at all.
    The team as a whole is clicking on all cylinders with Alex close to return.
    Like a good horse race, what’s done at the 3/4 turn tells what the pulse of the team is.

  16. MTU August 20th, 2011 at 8:06 am

    Morning to you all.

    Just a relatively quick drive by.

    I have work to do to keep my promise to Hughes.

    I promised him a tribute hike with photos so I’m off to Bryce Canyon NP in a little while to do those things.

    Nick should be happy as he got his Double-double from In n Out, and Luis will be going to the beach today.

    Absolutely Phreakin’ Phantastic game by Phil.

    :)

  17. Yankee Trader August 20th, 2011 at 8:17 am

    Good morning, morning people:

    “Jeter needs four hits to tie Rod Carew for 22nd on baseball’s all-time hits list.”

    Jeter will be keeping pretty good company when he passes former Twin and Angels superstar Rod Carew-15 straight >.300 seasons out of the 19 seasons he played till age 39.

    Hughes was terrific against a practically all lefty lineup, with 3 lefties-Mauer, Morneau, and Kubel in the heart of the order-not exactly a walk in the park.

  18. ron August 20th, 2011 at 8:19 am

    In hughes audio interview,i loved hearing that he just tries to throw what the batters are not expecting.
    Curve,cutter,fb,change.

  19. GreenBeret7 August 20th, 2011 at 8:20 am

    MaineYankee August 20th, 2011 at 7:57 am
    BIG AL August 20th, 2011 at 7:27 am
    A huge Yankees win, and civility returns to LoHud.

    ———————————————————

    The level of immaturity by some was tiresome, but otherwise much better.

    The late night was more like in the past with some good baseball discussion.

    ————————————————————————————————————————-

    Morning, Maine.

    Not buying the new, gentler LoHud atmosphere. It may not be as out in the open, but, The Usual Three Plus One are still trying to get crap started and keeping it going, just in a quieter way. Just saying.

  20. blake August 20th, 2011 at 8:22 am

    I don’t think this team has even came that close to tapping into their offensive potential ……they could be a special offense and a special bullpen.

    Normally you need dominant starting pitching to win in October…..but the Yanks might have enough if they can hit like they are capable. They have a true #1 in Sabathia and if Hughes continues to progress then they might just have enough when combined with the shut down pen they’ve assembled.

    Id still love that additional frontline starter to go along with CC…..but Hughes is capable of that and I probably feel the best about the Yankees WS chances this morning that I have all season. They are a very good, deep,and balanced team……and they are getting ready to add one of the 10 best players of all time back to the lineup.

  21. PacoDooley August 20th, 2011 at 8:24 am

    In the 7 starts since Hughes returned from the DL he has given up more than 2 earned runs only once. His ERA as a starter in that stretch is just over 3.5 and he has pitched at least 6 innings in all but that one bad start.

    I’ve been saying it since the trade deadline – this team didn’t make any trades, but they got a lot of talent back around the trade deadline, including a legit #2 starter in Hughes.

  22. GreenBeret7 August 20th, 2011 at 8:25 am

    Trader, by the end of the next week, Jeter will be in passing Henderson and Biggio to move into 20th spot.

  23. blake August 20th, 2011 at 8:26 am

    Jeter makes the offense go…..he always has.

  24. Vineyard Yankee August 20th, 2011 at 8:28 am

    It doesn’t matter that we enjoyed the game, had a few laughs and some good fun last night. Now according to some it is being immature.

    The old saying goes that you can please some of the people some of the time and other people……………………..well you know. Bottom line is it was fun and civil and we are not here to seek your approval Maine.

    So as DadinIowa so aptly taught us last nite………….You have a ‘nice’ day……….LOL !

  25. Yankee Trader August 20th, 2011 at 8:30 am

    Also on Hughes:

    Pitched quickly-game was over in 2hours:44minutes+ 70 pitches of the 106 were strikes.

    GB-

    “Play nice” was the theme of the night. UGH! Finally I left with “Say goodnight Gracie.” “Goodnight”

  26. MaineYankee August 20th, 2011 at 8:31 am

    GB7
    Morning, Maine.

    Not buying the new, gentler LoHud atmosphere. It may not be as out in the open, but, The Usual Three Plus One are still trying to get crap started and keeping it going, just in a quieter way. Just saying.

    ——————————————————————————————

    Morning.

    I’m not sure how many of them are on but it seems their goal is to stir things up.

    I’m really enjoying the extra speed on offense and defense this team has.

    It had been missing and it is just another thing teams have to deal with from this team.

    It makes this team dangerous with so many weapons.

  27. MaineYankee August 20th, 2011 at 8:33 am

    Vineyard Yankee

    Thanks for proving the point.

  28. blake August 20th, 2011 at 8:33 am

    Rose’s record probably isn’t realistic for Jeter…..but he’d just need a little over 3,500 (3,514) to pass Tris Speaker for 5th all time. That would be quite an accomplishment……even Aaron in 3rd place coukd be attainable. We’ll see.

  29. MG August 20th, 2011 at 8:37 am

    I just read the comments from late last night and it’s always a pleasure when CB shares his insights, they are always spot on.

    Of particular interest was the description of Hughes’ late life on his fastball and how it’s coming back but not all the way there yet-that’s a far cry from some of the other, much less knowledgeable claims that the 4 seam fastball, from Hughes or anyone else, is ‘straight’ with ‘no movement’.

    There have always been some outstanding posters on LoHud, that’s the reason for my long time participation, and it’s a shame that so many of them have left to be replaced by boorish and uninformed ‘fans’ with little or no insight into life let alone baseball.

  30. Vineyard Yankee August 20th, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Your welcome. You only have to ask and you shall receive. :wink:

  31. MG August 20th, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Maine, the best thing to do with that moron is just ignore him and his buddy, all they want is attention and once they stop receiving it will fade into the background.

  32. Vineyard Yankee August 20th, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Great game by The Yankees and Hughes last night. The ‘CB’ poster has some very insightful perspectives, good stuff.

  33. blake August 20th, 2011 at 8:42 am

    The hitters tell you what kind of fastball a guy has…..and when Hughes is right guys just cant square it up. He was hitting locations like a machine last night…..up, down, in, out…..changing eye levels…..he’s using his other pitches more effectively and that’s very encouraging because as mentioned he still doesn’t have all of his velocity back yet.

  34. MaineYankee August 20th, 2011 at 8:43 am

    MG

    I guess only some are able to express their opinion. :roll:

  35. Yankee Trader August 20th, 2011 at 8:45 am

    Supposedly the dimensions in Target Field are close to the old Metrodome, without the wind currents blowing out while the Twins are at bat, like in the Metrodome.

    With that 23″ high right field wall it’s no wonder guys like lefty Joe Mauer have only one homerun. Looked like Tex was even trying to hit to left.

  36. MG August 20th, 2011 at 8:46 am

    blake, what I found really interesting about Jeter last night was that he didn’t have a good night at the plate (he was having trouble picking the ball up out of Slowey’s hand, it was pretty obvious) and still managed to get 2 hits.

    When a 1st ballot HOFer busts it down the line late in a game that isn’t close to beat out a hit, as Jeter did last night, it shows how a captain sets an example by effort as opposed to rah rah speeches and tells you all you need to know about him.

    Assuming he keeps this up he’ll be north of .300 by the end of season, maybe as soon as September 1st.

  37. blake August 20th, 2011 at 8:46 am

    JackCurryYES 19 Aug Gustavo Molina DFA’d to open spot on 40 man

    Nick in SF mourns the loss of Gusty ;)

  38. MaineYankee August 20th, 2011 at 8:46 am

    blake

    It seems like Hughs was pitching with more confidence and conviction.

    He had seemed unsure of himself and his pitches earlier

  39. Vineyard Yankee August 20th, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Doubtful, its not necessary to chime in with the name calling now is it. Perhaps you need to hook up with ‘DadinIowa as well, I’m told he does out calls.

  40. MG August 20th, 2011 at 8:50 am

    Maine, it’s tough to pitch with confidence when you don’t have any strength in your shoulder.

    He’s well on the way to being back to 100% and can be a huge factor in the postseason because he missed so much of the season and will be fresh.

    And, as always with LoHud, his return and success validates those of us who had confidence in his ability and knew he was capable of being a valuable starter in the rotation for the Yankees.

  41. blake August 20th, 2011 at 8:50 am

    MG,

    Jeter always plays the game right…..you’ll never ever see him 70% it to 1B. It did look like he was having a rough time picking up Sloweys release point…..

    3 big developments in the last month for the Yankees. 1) soriano’s return 2) Jeter’s resurrection 3) Hughes getting healthy

    Those three things coukd have big playoff implications and hopefully we can add a 4th soon when Alex.comes back.

  42. MaineYankee August 20th, 2011 at 8:51 am

    MG

    When a 1st ballot HOFer busts it down the line late in a game that isn’t close to beat out a hit, as Jeter did last night, it shows how a captain sets an example by effort as opposed to rah rah speeches and tells you all you need to know about him.
    ————————————————————————————————

    That’s always been one of the main things that separates him from the rest.

    There are many with more talent (B.J. Upton) but because of lack of that competive drive will never be as good as Jeter.

  43. blake August 20th, 2011 at 8:53 am

    Maine,

    I agree…..look his much quicker he’s working. Before it looked like he had no idea what to throw because he was afraid to throw everything for fear of it getting hit……now.he seems to be 2-3 pitches ahead in sequence in his mind and he’s attacking the zone again….with strike 1 strike 2……and he’s starting hitters off and throwing offspeed.stuff and cutter behind in counts…….he’s really “pitching ” now.

  44. Yankee Trader August 20th, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Blake and Maine-

    The pitch to Plouffe Daddy was not a terrible pitch-trying for the swing and miss at the high inside fastball. I was encouraged to see him working fast and throwing 70 out of 106 pitches for strikes, while maintaining his velocity throughout.

  45. MG August 20th, 2011 at 8:55 am

    blake, the fact that Jeter plays the game right has earned him my respect, that’s why you’ll never hear a criticism from me about his performance.

    I went to a Yankees-Rays game last month with a couple of friends, both are big Yankees fans but one of them is your typical LoHud overly critical kind of fan. He had decided Jeter was finished and they needed a new shortstop, whether it be Nunez, Hanley Ramirez, or anyone not named Derek Jeter.

    I saw him at a business function the other night and reminded him of what he had said at the game-his response was ‘I was wrong’. How refreshing to hear that…

  46. blake August 20th, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Yea….plouffe just went up and got one. He had a really nice 1st besides that……you coukd see right from the start that the trademark fastball.command was there.

  47. CountryClub August 20th, 2011 at 8:59 am

    The yanks don’t need to extend Martin. They control him for 2012.

    It appears Hughes is finally maturing to the point that he realizes he has to throw all his pitches. Maybe the initial loss in velocity was a blessing in disguise. Fans have to have patience with young pitchers. This will be especially true over the next few years as the Yanks break in even more young starters.

  48. MaineYankee August 20th, 2011 at 8:59 am

    MG

    I think Hughs lack of confidence went back to the second half of last year.

    He was giving up HR with the cutter and didn’t seem to be able to adjust.

    It may have been the start of the arm problem.

  49. MG August 20th, 2011 at 9:02 am

    the Yankees, as a team play the game ‘right’ and have been like that consistently since 1994 (you have to give Showalter some credit for that).

    I almost never criticize a Yankees player because of the effort-you’ll never see a Yankee not hustle after a ball that gets past them like Alex Rios did when he misplayed a line drive a couple of weeks ago.

    As a fan, all you can ask is for the players to give their best efforts in every game-it’s not the easiest thing to do given the number of games and the travel.

    You have to accept that even the best baseball teams lose 60-70 times a season, it’s not a video game. Losses like the one in KC the other night are tough but you have to walk away knowing they had their chances to win and while it didn’t work out it will the next time.

  50. Yankee Trader August 20th, 2011 at 9:03 am

    Just noticed that the mlb schedule has Colon, then Sabathia and Hughes going in that order for the Tuesday thru Thursday home series against Oakland.

    That would again put Sabathia at 5 days between starts.

  51. blake August 20th, 2011 at 9:03 am

    MG,

    I always have thought that if it was.possible.for Derek to find a way to be productive then he would……as he ages he’s going to have to make adjustments …….and he will probably struggle again at some point and have to adjust again……but I trust that he’ll get it done.

  52. Yankee Trader August 20th, 2011 at 9:05 am

    New Post on Martin—->

  53. Tar August 20th, 2011 at 9:08 am

    I liked his aggresiveness. No nibbling went right after the hitters.

    Maine

    The level of immaturity is astounding. What last night did was make them stand out even more than usual. I do believe even Chad is tiring of their nonsense. We just have to keep ignoring them as much as possible. Nice to see CB, GB, Pat and even a quick Randy sighting on a game thread.


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