Jered Weaver was hurt after 12 pitches, forcing the Angels to replace one of the game’s best starters with a perfectly middle-of-the-road bullpen. The Yankees offense scored three runs in the first inning, scored eight runs total and had the bases loaded in three times. They scored a lot and had an opportunity to score even more. The bullpen wasn’t perfect, but until Cory Wade gave up a home run for only the second time this season, the relievers did enough to keep the Yankees within striking distance.
“I feel like we have to win every game,” Joe Girardi said. “I mean, it was a struggle for Hughsie tonight, and that’s going to happen. You got to put it behind you and move on.”
Wade took the loss, and obviously the offense whiffed on some scoring opportunities, but the bulk of the blame falls on Phil Hughes. He’d pitched very well in his past four starts, but this was another night of familiar problems: He couldn’t put hitters away, couldn’t consistently locate his fastball away to right-handers, and seemed hesitant to veer away from his fastball.
“You’d like to try to string together as many good ones as you can in a row, but after the first inning I knew it was going to be a battle to keep us in the game,” Hughes said. “I knew it wasn’t going to be a good start. … I just tried to collect myself and make some better pitches and be a little smarter out there and not just try to blow people away, because it wasn’t working in the first inning. I made some OK pitches, but still, a run here, a run there. It’s hard to give our offense some momentum when I’m out there so long and giving up runs.”
Hughes said it was overthrowing that caused his fastball to tail back over the middle of the plate in the first inning. He’d done a better job of controling that adrenaline lately, but tonight it got the best of him. And when it got the best of him, he was hesitant to turn to his curveball and changeup until it was too late.
“When you get in those jams you just want to go harder and harder and harder and speed things up, and that’s never the right way to go,” Hughes said. “You know that, but when you’re out there in the moment, it’s tough to kind of slow yourself down and throw some breaking balls for strikes and changeups for strikes and things like that. There were probably a few opportunities when I could have really slowed myself down in that first inning, but instead, I was trying to squeeze the leather off the ball and throw a fastball. That’s not a good way to go.”
• Both Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher said they were fine after a massive collision in the third inning. Swisher said he never called the ball, and Granderson said he called for it far too late for Swisher to adjust (Swisher never heard him). “Both of us were reaching for the ball at the same time, and then just, kaboom!” Swisher said. “And next thing I know I’m laying there on my back, and he’s running for the ball, and I’m like, he’s alright.”
• Swisher felt like the bulk of the blow was to his upper body, but Granderson said he honestly had no idea where the impact occured. He felt absolutely no lingering effects and hadn’t seen a replay to understand how and why it happened. “I feel fine,” he said. “I didn’t have any grass marks on me, any dirt. I don’t know what happened. That’s why I’ve got to see it again.”
• Cory Wade tried to throw a changeup away to Mark Trumbo. It wound up over the heart of the plate. “If I throw that same pitch 10 more times, he’s going to hit it out 10 more times,” Wade said. “It was a pretty bad pitch.”
• Girardi decided not to make Kendrys Morales hit right-handed in the sixth inning, and he wound up doubling in two runs of David Phelps. “If I was going to turn him around I was going to do it with Boonie, and Boonie’s one of the guys I use in the seventh and the eighth now,” Girardi said. “So ijust felt it was too early.”
• Did Martin think his ninth-inning single had a chance of getting through the infield for a go-ahead base hit? “No,” Martin said. “I thought he had a chance at first. That’s why I dove. I looked kind of ridiculous.”
• Hughes has allowed a home run in each of his first 10 starts this season. That’s the most consecutive starts allowing at least one homer by a Yankees pitcher since Jim Abbott went 11 straight in 1994.
• David Aardsma tweeted today that he’ll be facing hitters on Friday. It will be hit first time throwing to a hitter in more than a year.
Associated Press photos