It's easy to see. He's shown a few flashes since coming back, but long gone is the consistent 92-94 mph fastball and pinpoint control of his breaking ball that no hit the Rangers into the seventh inning before he got hurt on May, 1st. We got a glimpse of what the #1 pitching prospect in all of baseball was going to be like for years to come on that day and it was thrilling. But now after a 60 day absence while he rehabbed a severe ankle sprain as well as the hamstring pull that put him on the DL, Hughes is struggling to get through five innings. Tonight made it four out of his nine Major League starts that he couldn't crack the mark.
I'm not sure if he'll regain the form that had scouts drooling this season after watching him get beat up by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays Friday night and it's sad to see. After a few innings his fastball starts clocking in at 90 mph and his curve hangs up in the zone for an eternity. And with 23 BB's in 47 IP's, his control has left him. Is that just a matter of confidence? Curt barely hit 87 mph on the gun the other day and only gave up two runs to the Bombers, so there's no reason why he can't throw strikes even if his velocity is down. I never bought into the argument that since he was out for two months his arm would be strong down the stretch. He needed to pitch---period---and I hope he regains his arm strength soon because unless Ian Kennedy comes up big, I don't see the Yanks making it into the playoffs with two fifths of the rotation in shambles.
The Yanks were fortunate that Seattle and Boston lost also, (Detroit is still playing) but an emotional letdown after the sweep of the Red Sox wasn't surprising yet terribly disappointing.