Thursday, August 15, 2013

Hughes and Co. Embarrass Yanks

I shouldn't necessarily be saying that Phil Hughes embarrassed the Yankees today, but his efforts were not enough as he allowed three runs in six innings which qualified him for a quality start. However, the quality start statistic means so much when you are on the losing end of a game. In Hughes' case it was the Chris Nelson home run that allowed the game to get away from him. Before the home run to Nelson in the fourth inning, Hughes had only given up five hits and struck out five batters. Hughes' loss today is the eleventh for him on the season in a year where he is looking for a big contract from a Major League team. If Hughes knows what he is doing, he would take a qualifying offer from the Yankees to show that he is better than 4-12 with a 5 ERA. However, there will be a team, and probably more than one, that will be open to giving Hughes the big contract he wants. Hughes has been on the wrong side of close games more often than not this year which has contributed to his very high loss total. on the flipside of that, whenever the Yankees score for him, Hughes promptly allows the tying and go-ahead runs to score.
Today, Soriano drove in Gardner who tripled earlier in the third inning but Hughes came back with two runs in the fourth on a Hank Conger sac fly and Nelson's first home run of the year. Chris Nelson wouldn't be done in the fourth inning as he hit a grand slam off lefty Boone Logan with two outs in the eighth inning. The two home runs by Nelson were his first two of the entire season. Maybe the Yankees would have held on to him if he showed such a power display with New York. The bullpen let the Yankees down more than Hughes did, but he had to keep the game tied and compete instead of leaving balls in the middle of the plate for mediocre hitters to hit. The offense let Hughes down even more than the bullpen did. If the Yankees scored when they had opportunities to do so, Joe Girardi could have gone to his first-tier relievers. The team went 5-13 with runners in scoring position and left twelve men on base. Three of the five hits with runners in scoring position came in the ninth when the game was over for the Yankees. Vernon Wells was the biggest culprit of them all as he grounded into a double play with the bases loaded early in the game and grounded out again with two outs and a runner on third. He atoned for his offensive woes with a two-run double in the ninth but it was too little, too late. Wells is hitting fifth for the Yankees, which is probably too high to begin with when you have Granderson hitting behind him. Alfonso Soriano continued to stay hot today, going 4-5. Alex Rodriguez went 2-5 and Robinson Cano went 3-5 in the loss to the Angels who take one from the Yankees in the four game series.

A positive spin for the Yankees is that they were able to win two straight series against the Tigers and Angels. Both teams have the ability to play very well, and one of them is a favorite to reach the World Series. If the Yankees keep winning series they shouldn't have a problem with gliding into the wild card race. Things won't get any easier for the Yankees this weekend as they head to Boston for a crucial three game series against the red hot Red Sox. Struggling Andy Pettitte will take the mound tomorrow night and Felix Doubront will pitch for Boston in the opening game of three. Again, if the Yankees can take the series from the Red Sox they should be in good shape to get the second wild card. They also have a shot to re-enter the division race. In the case that they get swept or drop two out of three, all of their efforts over the last week will have been wasted as the games come off the calendar.

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