Here’s a slice of Phil Hughes’ season, his last eight outings: bad start, really bad start, good start, good start, bad start, good start, bad start, bad start. The latest one was the second game of the doubleheader Wednesday night when he allowed five runs and a season-high 10 hits over six innings in the Yankees’ 6-0 loss to the Dodgers. It marked the fifth time he has given up at least five runs. He has a staff-high six losses to go with three wins, and his ERA is up to 5.09 after 14 starts.
Asked at what point he needs to start seeing some more consistency from Hughes, Joe Girardi said, “Now. We need all of our players to be consistent. … Right now, he’s struggling with that.”
He’s a perplexing case. You look at Hughes’ 14 starts, and seven of them could be described as good and seven could be described as bad. It’s certainly not a good way to chase a new contract. This may be somebody else’s problem next season. For now, Girardi could use that steadier work. There’s certainly talent here. It’s just visible half the time.
“I haven’t really thought about moving Phil out of the rotation,” Girardi said. “I think he’s capable of doing a good job for us. But right now, he’s struggling.
“I think it’s location for him … location of the fastball, staying out of long counts,” Girardi said. “I think he is (still learning). I think he gives it his best every time he goes out there.”
Ivan Nova is waiting for a return here. He’s 2-0 with a 2.04 ERA in three starts for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, with two good ones sandwiched around a so-so one. Michael Pineda has begun his 30-day rehab clock, but he has made only one start, allowing one run and two hits in 4 1/3 for Single-A Tampa.
Hughes indicated that he hasn’t been thinking about Nova or Pineda lurking in the wings and possibly taking his spot.
“My only concern is pitching well,” Hughes said. “Things I can’t control, I don’t concern myself with.”
Hughes has come to one conclusion: “I have to be better. That’s for sure.”
The Yankees showed their inconsistency in the doubleheader with a good first game and the bad nightcap, mixed results, especially offensively for them, as well as for Don Mattingly in his return, although he appreciated the love from the fans in his brief stay. Here’s the link to my story on the ups and downs of a long day. There’s also a link at the top of the story to a video I shot of Girardi talking about managing his way through this injury onslaught. Also, the Yankees got to see firsthand what all the fuss is about. Here’s my notebook article led by how they did against Cuban rookie phenom Yasiel Puig, including the showdown with Mariano Rivera, plus items on Zoilo Almonte, Fernando Martinez, the latest on the A-Rod Biogenesis situation and Vernon Wells’ horrendous slump.
Photo by The Associated Press.