Pitching his way from a 7.48 ERA to a 4.50 ERA, Phil Hughes has become a much more aggressive pitcher. He’s attacked hitters with his four-seam fastball, taking a reliever’s approach to the rotation and winning six of his past eight starts. That approach might be especially necessary today.
“Make pitches is what you’ve got to do,” Joe Girardi said. “Locate, and today I think it’s probably important to have some quick innings with the heat. You worry about your starting pitcher a little bit on a day like today.”
It’s already hot here at the stadium, and it’s supposed to get into the mid-90s by mid-game.
“I think the most important thing is to attack today, in the zone,” Girardi said. “Have some quick innings and try to keep their guys out there a long time.”
That approach has worked for Hughes, who’s been more aggressive and pitched to a 3.27 ERA during his past eight starts. He’s trying to build on the Yankees streak of 19 consecutive games in which their starters have lasted at least six innings.
“A lot of those have been National League cities,” Girardi said, “where you have to have a lead and have to be pitching well or you’re probably going to pinch hit.”
• Turns out, Girardi was considering giving Teixeira today’s game off anyway. Last night’s groundball off the heel only cemented the decision. “We had talked about giving him the day off today anyway,” Girardi said. “And with what happened last night, it just makes a lot of sense.”
• Andruw Jones was by a pitch in the foot last night, but Girardi said he should be available.
• This is Derek Jeter’s eighth start at designated hitter. It’s Jayson Nix’ fourth start at shortstop (Eduardo Nunez started those other five games at short).
Associated Press photo