Mood Music - Back End by MF Doom
I like back ends and I cannot lie. You other fans just can't deny. That when a vet walks in with a really grizzled face and he gets a chump to chase, you get SPRUNG. Yeah he looks real old, but he might be in control. Deep in the count, he's staring. #46 he's still wearing. OH, ANDY! you're such a good pitcher. Can I get your picture? Some people tried to warn me, but that pickoff move makes me-me-me so...I'll let you decide whether I was going to type horny or happy. I think that's quite enough of that. Andy is Back, which is also the parody name of my insanity up above. He retired from baseball at the age of 38. Retiring at the age of 38 is definitely a feat I'd love to accomplish, but unless I win the lotto that's simply not going to happen. If it does somehow happen, I'm most certainly not coming out of retirement when I'm 39. A lot of people are already talking about how Andy did on his first day back in pinstripes and will look to see how well he pitches his next start. In other words, obvious facts are obvious.
What I would like to talk about in this IGYARticle is how long I possibly could've gone with my Andy is Back parody. What I will be talking about instead is how the back end of the rotation seems to be shaping up. With exercise and proper care, it seems to be firmer, tighter, and not as saggy and soggy as when Freddy Garcia was there. Freddy Garcia now mops in the bullpen, which for the most part he seems to be good at. David Phelps was given a chance to start while the Yankees not only awaited the return of Pettitte but awaited the outcome of our other back end starter, Phil Hughes. While Hughes' starts were not as bad as Garcia's, the lack of distance and the runs allowed stoked the fires of pen duty once again. He still might be destined for the pen. I could use a few more pens myself. Hughes has pitched very well his last two starts though, with Saturday easily nominated as his best start of the year. If he can continue this and if Andy can regain his former glory, our pitching staff might finally look like it use to. Well it should with Andy back on the mound.Since Phil Hughes is clearly not as important as Andy Pettitte, I say we start by talking about Andy Pettitte. Andy Pettitte's return has been hyped up since Andy Pettitte announced that Andy Pettitte was coming out of retirement. A year away from baseball for Andy was like a year, or more, away from NYC Pizza for PSA member jetanumba2 was. Fast forward to now. Jetanumba2 is back in NYC and so is Andy Pettitte. Pettitte looked a bit rusty on the mound on Sunday but overall did what he was suppose to do; pitch a lot better than Freddy Garcia did. Pettitte gave up four earned runs over 6.2 innings. Garcia's last start yielded six earned runs over 1.2 innings. I trust you can see the difference in performance with those little itty bitty stats I gave you. This is not to say that Andy's return does not still leave some cause for concern. This is just to point out that for a back end starter, Andy Pettitte did his job better than Garcia did and that is what counts at this point in time.
In his last two starts, Phil Hughes has also recently done his job a lot better than Garcia did. I should stop with the Garcia bashing. Just one more quickie. Most back end starters in Major League Baseball did their jobs a lot better than Garcia did. Feel free to insult Garcia more in the comments section if you so desire. Meanwhile, back to Phil Hughes. The questions of what to do with Phil Hughes have been discussed for a couple years now. Do we trade him? Can he be a starter? Is he more valuable in the bullpen? Why won't he use the changeup more? Should he get a haircut? Hughes came out of Spring Training this year hoping to answer a lot of those questions for the Yankees organization and all the fans. His performance kept those questions alive and well, especially the haircut one. No one is rooting against Phil Hughes. I'll repeat again for the stupid fans out there. No one is rooting against Phil Hughes. We just don't know what to do with him.
Phil Hughes last two starts have been very promising, with Saturday easily being nominated as his best start of the...I said that already. On May 6th against the Royals, Hughes gave up three earned runs over 6.2 innings. It certainly helped that the Yankees scored ten runs that day, but the important thing is the distance. On Saturday's game against the Mariners, he only gave up one earned run over 7.2 innings, which was a vast improvement over his April woes. The key word here is improvement. Hughes is showing improvement. In fact the whole back end of the rotation is showing improvement. I really like to see improvement. I'd still like to see some from some slumping hitters on the Yankees who shall remain nameless. You know who they are though. OR DO YOU? To repeat once again, no one is rooting against Phil Hughes. We want him to shine. We want him to succeed. We want him to improve. I cannot even fathom why someone would root against him, but somehow I have a feeling someone will tell me in the comments one day.
There are still questions because there will always be questions. It's called baseball and there's a rumor mulling around that you cannot predict it. Despite my Garcia bashing earlier, he might very well find his way back in our rotation or another team's rotation. Unless you have not been paying attention to baseball, MRI visits seem to be piling up. Fan favorites like Brett Gardner, Brett Gardner, and Brett Gardner have left us to wallow while they heal. Pineda's injury, as well as Garcia and Hughes' rocky April, made Pettitte's comeback more important than it originally seemed. Rivera's injury weakened the bullpen depth in addition to our hearts. I'd really love for those to be the only injuries of the year but somehow I doubt it will be. The good thing is that except for Gardner (/loudly weeps) the injuries have primarily been in the area we have a decent amount of depth at. The Red Sox have no depth in this area and it has shown the past three years.
So what I saw last week from the Yankees gave me a bit more hope for the rest of the season. Pettitte was pinstriped once again and pitched as well or better than I expected. Phil Hughes seems to be moving in the right direction. The back end of the rotation looks a lot sexier than it did last month and that sexiness should hopefully give our stellar bullpen some rest. If we want to foolish look to the future after only two improved starts from Phil, which I do, the other great thing about Hughes' pitching well is that he's still young. We have young pitching. Manny Banuelos has come back from his injury like gangbusters. There is still hope for Michael Pineda. David Phelps has shown signs of working his way into the starting rotation. The future might be more promising that we originally hoped. But forget about the future and focus on the now. There has been improvement. Right now the back end of the rotation has turned around and stuck it out. Even white boys got to shout.