Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Hughes Finally Victorious

Phil Hughes pitched a fantastic game against a Twins offense that can score some runs. He kept the middle of the lineup in check, aside from allowing an RBI single to Joe Mauer to begin the scoring in the game. The turning point in the game came in the bottom of the fourth inning when Hughes walked Plouffe to begin the inning and gave up a double to the very next batter, Oswaldo Arcia. Phil Hughes did something he has not done all season, and that was keeping his composure. He struck out the next two batters and retired the final batter of the inning via groundout. Hughes found something within himself to be able to get gritty and mow down any threats that he faced in the inning. Overall, the third and fourth innings would prove to be the toughest for Hughes. Afterwards, Hughes buckled down and went seven innings, allowing just one run on the Mauer RBI single. He didn't blow anyone away, striking out only two batters, but he made the strikeouts count. Two of the punchouts came in the fourth when Hughes was almost bound to allow two runs to get the game out of hand. He knows that the offense has not been scoring any runs lately, especially for him and settled into a groove which allowed him to have more composure on the mound, as well as looking more confident in his stuff. Hughes was always able to blow people away with his fastball but now he has to rely more on fly balls and pop-ups. As Hughes is realizing that he doesn't need to blow past batters it is making him a better pitcher which in turn will come in handy when Hughes is looking for a hefty payday at the end of the season. There will be a team that will be willing to spend on a pitcher who had a bad season. As I say time and time again, Hughes needs to be on a team that plays in a big ballpark. Tonight, he allowed a double to deep right that would have easily been gone at Yankee Stadium and many other ballparks. Hughes will be an invaluable asset to a team that decides to pay him on the basis of knowing he can get outs in their large park.

After Hughes escaped trouble in the fourth inning, the Yankees offense was able to relax and get some of the weight of overcoming a huge deficit off their shoulders. In the very next inning, Alberto Gonzalez hit a two-run double and Ichiro got another infield single with a runner on third base. They were able to score three runs in the inning and weren't done as Gonzalez decided that he liked the concept of the RBI. He would notch another run batted in when he hit a single to the right side to score David Adams. Robinson Cano is preparing for the Home Run Derby, and is making it loud and clear that he is back. Cano smashed a three-run shot in the seventh inning that essentially put the game away for the Yankees. However, Claiborne would not be able to finish out the game. He allowed a two-run double to Brian Dozier in the ninth with two outs and Girardi had to go to the bullpen. Adam Warren walked the only batter he faced, so the manager had no other choice but to bring in Mariano Rivera for the one out save. Rivera retired the final batter of the game on two pitches.

The Yankees have started the extended four game set with two straight wins. A victory tomorrow would put the series on the Yankees side. With Baltimore losing to the White Sox, the Yankees move closer to the Red Sox in the standings with their win over the Twins. In tomorrow's game the Yankees will send CC Sabathia to the mound who is probably chomping at the bit to prove himself after his disastrous start against Baltimore on Friday night.

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