This is what we thought we'd see a lot more of from Phil Hughes in 2008. He matched AJ Burnett inning-for-inning in a pitcher's duel that showcased two top talents. Both allowed two runs over eight innings, and while Burnett struck out 11 (and Hughes six), Hughes was more efficient, throwing just 100 pitches without a walk (compared to Burnett's 117). He threw 71% strikes (which is very high), and gave up just five hits. This was the Hughes who dominated the IL playoffs for Scranton the last few weeks (20 Ks in 13 innings).
His fastball velocity wasn't great (averaging 90.2 MPH), but he located it well with good movement, and because of his easy motion and plus-plus curve, the hitters reacted like it was 95 MPH.
Juan Miranda got the first two hits of his career, even including a double off a lefty(!) which ignited the Yanks four-run 10th inning.
The big blow was Bobby Abreu's grand slam in the 10th. He's now at 99 RBI.
- Hank doesn't like the division set-up in MLB. And I frankly agree with him. It should be just one 14 team league with a balanced schedule (do we really need to play Baltimore and Toronto 38 times?). The playoffs would be simple: #4 vs. #1, #3 vs. #2. I know it's convenient to be saying this the first year the Yanks miss the playoffs, but I've believed this for a while. It would create matchups as such: Yankees at Anaheim and Boston at Tampa, while the NL would feature Milwaukee at Chicago and the Mets at Philly. Would anyone argue those aren't the four best teams in each league?
That Hank is likely saying this out of frustration clouds the fact that he's probably right.
(Thanks to Jason B for the link)
- Sidney Ponson will start in place of Andy Pettitte on Saturday in Boston. He's suffering from a 'tired' shoulder. Sunday may have been his last major league game.
- Ian O'Connor thinks Arod won't be a Yankee for the duration of his 10-year contract. He probably will though, but I'd be pleasantly surprised if he did get traded at some point. I'll get into this topic in the off-season - we have months to discuss and dissect every problem, solution, signing, trade, player, team and moment.