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

Postgame notes: “Trying to get that next guy”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on May 21, 2013 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Phil Hughes

The Yankees play a lot of close games, and when that’s the case, nights like this are bound to happen. The bullpen has been terrific, and Vidal Nuno looks promising, but some point a reliever is bound to give up a home run. That’s what Nuno did in the 10th inning, and in the short term, that’s what matters.

Bigger picture, though, Phil Hughes was far more interesting.

“I just tried to execute as many pitches as I could early on,” Hughes said. “I had to battle the first hitter I faced, and he ended up getting a base hit out of it. I was encouraged I was able to get the next three guys and get that last start out of my head a little bit. I was able to get a little rhythm going. It was good to get into that sixth with that high pitch count and have a good inning there as well.”

Hughes was good tonight. He wasn’t great — “I could’ve been better,” he admitted — but two runs through six innings is good enough. Sure, you’d like to see him pitch deeper, and home runs are obvious mistakes, but Hughes gave the Yankees a real chance to win tonight. And he did it coming off the worst start of his career.

“I’m encouraged,” Joe Girardi said. “Hughesy’s run some pretty good streaks for us together. He hit a little rough spot. He’s come out of them before, so there was nothing that led me to believe he wouldn’t come out of it again.”

Hughes is a fastball pitcher, Chris Dickerson is a good fastball hitter, and Hughes got into situations where he needed to throw fastballs to Dickerson. That’s a bad combination, and Dickerson capitalized. After the second homer, Hughes fell behind 2-0 against the next hitter, at which point Larry Rothschild went the mound.

“Just to take a breather,” Hughes said. “Sometimes I have tendency of some bad habits. I start overthrowing a little bit, and I wanted to back off a little bit and collect myself.”

Hughes wound up walking that hitter, but only after his next five pitches after the mound meeting were fouled off. He pitched around an error that inning and retired the last five hitters he faced, three of them on strikeouts. He wasn’t perfect, but he was good enough to forget about last week.

“To be honest with you, nothing about that last start really crept into my mind at all,” he said. “It was just about trying to get that next guy and execute that next pitch.”

Nate McLouth• Nuno on the home run pitch to Nate McLouth: “Just trying to get the first pitch over, trying to locate, and when I missed with the cutter in, I had gone with the fastball away. Got it, and then tried to do it again. Got the game plan, but it just (didn’t execute). … It was supposed to be a cutter away, and it was just a little bit off, and he took advantage of it.”

• Obviously not an easy situation for Nuno, who hadn’t pitched since his spot start last Monday in Cleveland. “We’ve tried to keep him going with sides and everything that he’s done,” Girardi said. “Just thought, with all the lefties that they had coming up, that he could give us some distance but unfortunately he gave up a home run.”

• Girardi said he never really considered having either Dave Robertson or Preston Claiborne pitch more than one inning. He liked the left-on-left matchup, and didn’t want to use his short relievers any more than he had to. “I can’t wear them out,” Girardi said.

• Speaking of Claiborne, he continues to impress. Tonight he entered a tied game in the ninth and delivered a scoreless inning, including a strikeout to end the inning after an infield single. “He’s been really good for us,” Girardi said. “The kid’s grown up in front of our eyes. He’s been in some tough situations and he’s seemed to respond.”

• Hughes on the two home run pitches: “He’s a good fastball hitter. Really, I got into situations where I had to throw my fastball. (First one was) 3-2, outer third I thought. He was just looking for a heater and put a good swing on it. The other one I felt like I was trying to go up at the belt and in. It was just down where a lefty wants it. It was two pitches that were out over the plate a little bit. Obviously he did what he was trying to do.”

Robinson Cano, Matt Wieters• Hughes seemed particularly upset by the second Dickerson home run. “I’m annoyed after every homer,” Hughes said. “It’s tough. I felt like I made a good pitch inside to him there — really didn’t set myself up to attack him the way I wanted to, with offspeed stuff. I was falling behind and was forced to give in a little bit.”

• Obviously the Yankees know all about Dickerson, who was playing center field only because Adam Jones has a sore leg. “He’s a strong kid,” Girardi said. “He’s very athletic. He’s a good player. We’ve had him up a couple of times and he’s done some good things for us. And he helped them tonight.”

• Two more RBI for Travis Hafner, who also drove in a couple of runs yesterday. He’s 4-for-9 the past two games.

• The Yankees have not had much success in the past against Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez. “He’s got a good mixture of pitches,” Girardi said. “I think he knows how to move his fastball in and out. His split’s a nice chase pitch. I thought we swung the bats maybe better tonight against him than we have, we just hit some balls at people.”

• This was the first time the Yankees lost a game when scoring first this season. They were the last MLB club to have not lost a game when scoring first. According to Elias, the Yankees 18-0 start when scoring first was the longest such stretch all-time for an American League team.

• Final word goes to Hughes: “For the most part I thought my stuff was pretty good and gave us a chance to win the game so obviously it was a lot better than last time. It’s progress, so I’ll build off this one. … I could’ve been better. Two mistakes. I felt a little out of rhythm out of the windup and I’m trying to work on that in my next bullpen session. Overall it was decent. Hopefully I can take steps forward from this one. ”

P.S. – Don’t forget we’re doing a chat on Wednesday at noon. Stop by if you can.

Associated Press photos





41 Responses to “Postgame notes: “Trying to get that next guy””

  1. Rich in NJ May 22nd, 2013 at 12:17 am

    Jeez, the O’s do the AJ walk-off pie in the fact routine:

    That’s just wrong.

  2. sammiejohnson May 22nd, 2013 at 12:55 am

    Rich in NJ May 21st, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    I’ll take the over on with regard to Hughes getting $7.1m for at least three years.


    I absolutely agree. I would venture to guess that Hughes next contract will be in the 4/$40M range. Whether or not it is with Yankees’ remains to be seen.

    Anyone who thinks “He’s an overpaid fifth starter now. At this point I’d offer him a year and $4M base with a mutual option for the same, take it or leave it” is just not very realistic. Gee, I wonder if he would “leave it”? Anyone who would think that Phil is going to sign a 1/$4M deal (or a 2/$8M) is probably a couple of cans short of a six pack.

  3. Nick in SF May 22nd, 2013 at 1:01 am

    Soriano blown save in San Francisco with one strike to go to win it for the Nats.

  4. Nick in SF May 22nd, 2013 at 1:05 am

    That is, needing just one strike to win it for the Nats, Soriano instead blows the save.

    And they go to extras. In case anyone is refreshing LoHud to get updates of other games in progress.

  5. Jerkface May 22nd, 2013 at 1:13 am

    Mike Trout is the youngest player to hit for the cycle since 1929. Huge talent.

  6. Nick in SF May 22nd, 2013 at 1:21 am

    But did he hit a walkoff homer like the Panda just did?

  7. Run it Out May 22nd, 2013 at 1:36 am

    Panda seems to do better with his weight back up.

  8. sammiejohnson May 22nd, 2013 at 1:40 am

    Nats’ not doing real well on their west cost trip. 3-6. 1-2 vs. LAD, 2-2 vs. SD, 0-2 vs. SF with one more to go tomorrow. Ouch.

  9. sammiejohnson May 22nd, 2013 at 1:44 am


  10. NYYanksFan May 22nd, 2013 at 3:19 am

    A-Rod hit for the cycle at 21 too.

  11. MG May 22nd, 2013 at 7:11 am

    tough loss last night, that probably wasn’t the best spot to use Nuno but no complaints, the ‘pen has been unbelievable.

    Kuroda goes tonight against Jason Hammel who hasn’t been very good this year, a win tonight and a series win would be a big plus.

  12. Doreen May 22nd, 2013 at 7:25 am

    Good morning.

    MG, when else would you bring Nuno in, though? Assuming you’ve decided you need him there and not save him for a start that may or may not come? It was a clean inning. He just missed location, and that nasty youth, Nate McClouth, did his anti-Yankees act yet again. ;)

    The Orioles on defense are really very good. Over the last two games they’ve taken a couple of hits away from the Yankees hitters. It’s too bad the team couldn’t squeak out one more run, that’s really why they lost. And the second Dickerson HR. Ouch.

  13. blake May 22nd, 2013 at 7:38 am

    I’ll take 2 of 3 at Camden every day and twice on Sunday

  14. blake May 22nd, 2013 at 7:40 am

    I must say I really can’t stand Nate Mclouth…..he’s one of those annoying terrible players that always seems to decide to be a star against your team. I’m sure he’s a nice enough guy in real life but……still

  15. blake May 22nd, 2013 at 7:41 am

    “The Orioles on defense are really very good. Over the last two games they’ve taken a couple of hits away from the Yankees hitters”

    True…..their left side infield defense is especially awesome

  16. Doreen May 22nd, 2013 at 7:47 am

    Blake, their defense is their biggest area of improvement over early last year. They seem to get to everything, and have shown some strong throwing.

    McClouth just sounds like a villain’s name, doesn’t it? :)

  17. MG May 22nd, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Doreen May 22nd, 2013 at 7:25 am
    Good morning.

    MG, when else would you bring Nuno in, though? Assuming you’ve decided you need him there and not save him for a start that may or may not come?
    Doreen, like I said, no complaints, I just think it’s tough to bring a guy out of the ‘pen in the late innings who is used to being a starter, it’s different preparation.

    From a matchup situation, Nuno was the right guy to face McLouth, I would have just thought Warren was a more logical choice for that spot with Machado on deck and Adam Jones also possible in the inning.

    I’m not complaining or second guessing, I like Nuno very much and I doubt that last night is going to change his approach or confidence in his next start.

  18. Yankee Trader May 22nd, 2013 at 8:03 am

    Good morning-

    Didn’t get to see the game last night until Claiborne came in. Just looked at the two homeruns off Hughes, by Dickerson. Both looked like the same pitch, [first on a 3-2 count, second on a 1-1 count]practically the same location, and exactly where Romine had his glove set up.

    Here are more quotes from NY Post, not mentioned in the above post:

    “I made two mistakes and they cost me two runs,” said Hughes, who didn’t factor in the decision. “But overall I felt a little out of rhythm.”

    He was especially uncomfortable out of the windup, which he said made it difficult to attack batters the way he would have liked, but he was able to pitch out of trouble more than once.

    What was your assessment of Hughes last night?

  19. Yankee Trader May 22nd, 2013 at 8:12 am

    Yankees can set up 2014 pen on cheap

    “The Yankees are 21-0 when leading after six innings and 24-0 when leading after seven. They are 17-7 in games decided by one or two runs. Again, this is not all the setup crew’s doing, but it does reflect well on that group.”

    “In the big picture, Hal Steinbrenner left the owners meetings last week saying the success so far of Yankees Anonymous has encouraged him further that the club could honor his mandate to stay contenders and drop below the $189 million luxury tax threshold for 2014. He felt the front office had become more expert at finding useful, cost-effective pieces.”

    Article attached:

  20. NYYROC May 22nd, 2013 at 8:13 am

    Can’t complain about 6IP 2 ER. To me he had to work pretty hard for it though. Some of those Os own PH and he had to pitch out of some tough spots. The 2 HR to CD emphasize how he has to be able to throw something other than FB in a FB count. The only thing CD can hit is a FB from a RHP. PH seemd to get better after the 2nd HR. Finished strong. Bodes well for next start. Overall a step in right direction.

  21. blake May 22nd, 2013 at 8:15 am

    “McClouth just sounds like a villain’s name, doesn’t it? ”

    yea….he was just so terrible with the Braves that it annoys me when he does stuff like that.

  22. blake May 22nd, 2013 at 8:15 am

    if Hal can buy soccer teams and boost revenues even more then don’t try to sell us budgets.

  23. blake May 22nd, 2013 at 8:18 am

    Trout now has his OPS up to .931 now after hitting for the cycle and stealing a base last night…..remember when the media was telling us he was fat this spring? That was fun

  24. Doreen May 22nd, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Hal is nuts. There I said it.

    Yes, these “pieces” are doing well, and perhaps in the short term they can serve his goal to get under the luxury tax threshold. And for sure the team ON THE FIELD right now is a luxury tax friendly team.

    But these pieces are harder and harder to find. Other teams were already starting to copy the Yankees strategy this past winter, to some extent, as those fringe players waited to sign. And alternatively, after having good years with the Yankees players boosted their own value and had more choices the following year (Like Chavez and Ibanez).

    However, at the end of he day, the New York Yankees should not be a team of players trying to make good to prove they’re not finished. Should not forever take the identity of a rag tag team. Maybe he just means for the short term; maybe he’s hoping some of the young players be one the new stars. It is entirely possible.

    I am enjoying this team. And indeed Adams, Romine and the young pitchers have shown poise and promise. And sure, once ARod’s contact is no longer an issue, 189 should really not handcuff them in the future. It s a lot of money and more than almost everyone else spends, and should keep them better than competitive in the future.

    But I don’t think Hal should be using this season to prove his point.

  25. Yankee Trader May 22nd, 2013 at 8:29 am

    “The 2 HR to CD emphasize how he has to be able to throw something other than FB in a FB count.”


    Hughes always seems to say what he did wrong and what he needs to do the next outing, but he doesn’t seem to follow thru. On the second CD homer on a 1-1 count, he gave him the same pitch, practically in the same location, and exactly where Romine had his glove set up.

    Will Hughes ever achieve his potential?

  26. Yankee Trader May 22nd, 2013 at 8:35 am

    But I don’t think Hal should be using this season to prove his point.


    Hal should be doing everything that he can to convince ARod to retire, and work out some financial agreement that is within the Yankees and MLB’s legal rights that allow the Yankees to wipe ARods salary and AAV off their books for 2014 and beyond! :)

  27. Doreen May 22nd, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Yankee Trader, I would think if they could have they would have.

    Well, let’s. See what happens. I get that the LT is not so much about saving money as it is about running more efficiently, and about not wanting to pay tax.

    But I think mostly people see it as being cheap, even if he’s not, and that’s a tough sell ex
    Specially on top of the new that they’ve invested in a soccer team.

    Plus whether it’s apt or not, there will be comparisons to the Red Sox…

  28. Yankee Trader May 22nd, 2013 at 8:44 am


    This might be the starting team for 2014:

    C- Cervelli

    Bench and BP all cheap options except for DRob in last year of arbitration

    Nuno/Warren/Turley/someone else

    I know how you feel, but if the Yankees feel they can compete with this team for 2014, I’m afraid the LT limit won’t be broached!

  29. MaineYankee May 22nd, 2013 at 8:45 am


    I think he’s using this season to transition to where they want to get to.

  30. Yankee Trader May 22nd, 2013 at 8:47 am


    Right now, everything concerning ARods status is on hold. He still is awaiting final investigation from MLB on any possible dealings with the Miami PED clinic.

  31. NYYROC May 22nd, 2013 at 8:48 am

    YT, if by potential you mean #1 SP, no. In an article last year he told a reporter that the injury in Texas in 2007 changed his stride and mechanics. He admitted he is not the same pitcher.
    I do think he will be good to very good over the next 6 or 7 years. I do think, however, that it will be with another team.

  32. Yankee Trader May 22nd, 2013 at 8:53 am


    I also believe once Hughes hits FA, he’ll return to his roots in southern California and sign with the Padres or Dodgers, two parks that will absorb many of the flyballs and homers he gives up now.

  33. MTU May 22nd, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Good morning.

    Quick visit. Hike day today.


    I think that roster is possible.

    I still think Hal is a seller at some point.

  34. MTU May 22nd, 2013 at 8:57 am


    I don’t think the Yankees are going to let Hughes walk w/o a fight.

  35. blake May 22nd, 2013 at 8:58 am


    I think Ichiro will retire if he doesn’t start playing like Ichiro or a version closer than this…..he’s not gonna hang around and be a 4th outfielder IMO.

  36. Madrugador May 22nd, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Sabathia and a whole lot of unproven youth for a starting rotation in 2014. That would be less expensive but totally out of character for this organization. Not sure I believe that prediction YT.

  37. Yankee Trader May 22nd, 2013 at 8:59 am

    BTW, Mustelier, playing 3rd, went 3 for 5 last night, all singles, and has now raised his average to .247.

  38. MTU May 22nd, 2013 at 9:00 am

    New one ——>

  39. MaineYankee May 22nd, 2013 at 9:02 am


    I still think Hal is a seller at some point.


    I see this mentioned frequently here, but the thing that seems to be overlooked is that it’s not just up to Hal.

  40. NYYROC May 22nd, 2013 at 9:02 am

    YT, I agree. I think PH is bound for Cali. There are 5 teams there and I think they’d all have some interest in him. His tweets often mention his family, he seems close to them. Maybe he’d rather be close to them so he could see them more. Bigger parks would make him more effective…meaning his next contract could be even more lucrative. Plus I think he’ll always be seen as a failure to some degree by many fans and the FO because he never lived up to the hype. I think he knows that. If he went elsewhere he wouldn’t carry that baggage with him anymore, It is the classic “change scenery” move.

  41. randy l. May 22nd, 2013 at 9:10 am

    “But I don’t think Hal should be using this season to prove his point.”

    doreen , it would be like alan greenspan saying in 2005 that the successful economy was a byproduct of his housing policies. the economy was doing great, but not for the reasons he thought. and the success drove the country further down a road we are still recovering from.

    adams is a nice looking young player, but he’s 26. phelps is 26. sometimes the “proof” used for short term success doesn’t predict future success.

    my position rooting for sudden implosion is because i do not want to see a decade long “recession” caused by fundamentally bad policies at the top with hal and levine.

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