I would imagine you're starting to notice a trend when it comes to Phil Hughes starts. Well, tonight was more of the same.
With 61 home runs allowed between them this year, Hughes and R.A. Dickey matched up in a duel of gopherball masters. Hughes looked to get his first win since July 2nd against the Minnesota Twins, and The Captain made his triumphant return from the disabled list.
The Yankees struck quickly against Dickey in the top of the first, as a Brett Gardner single and some smart baserunning resulted in a run on Robinson Cano's groundout. Hughes would last one scoreless inning before giving up the lead, allowing a run on a Kevin Pillar bloop single to center in the second. He would follow this up with a run allowed in the third thanks to the always silly leadoff walk that would come in to score on Edwin Encarnacion's single.
Presumably using Canadian boos to strengthen him, Alex Rodriguez hit a flat Dickey knuckleball over the right field fence to tie the game up at 2-2 in the top of the fifth. Hughes kept the game tied for about five minutes, when Ichiro Suzuki misplayed a deep fly ball to right from Encarnacion off of his glove that brought in the third run, which was followed by an Adam Lind double and a sacrifice fly to make the score 5-2 in favor of Toronto. David Huff came in to put out the grease fire Hughes left behind to prevent further damage in the inning. So it was another exemplary performance by Hughes: 4 2/3 innings, 7 hits and 3 earned runs, the tenth time he failed to get past the fifth inning in a start this year. No homers, though!
And while Hughes deserves his fair share of the blame, it probably didn't matter much as Dickey shut the Yankees lineup down for most of evening. The Blue Jays followed Dickey by closing out the game in scoreless fashion. The Yankees also didn't help their chances by going 0-7 with RISP.
It's a bad loss because the Blue Jays are a bad team, but anytime Phil Hughes is the starter, the odds are in favor of the Yankees losing the game, no matter the opponent. David Huff should not be anointed as a potential savior, but his prior excellent outing and 3 1/3 scoreless inning outing tonight shows he deserves the chance to start more than Phil Hughes does. For better or worse, make the Yankees a meritocracy at this point in the season. They simply cannot start a guy every five days performing as poorly as Hughes is and give opponents a head start.
Call of the Game: waw correctly called a Centaur-powered dinger in the fifth. Congrats!