There's an important game tonight, and the fate of the Yankees' season rests on the right arm of a 24 year old, Phil Hughes.
He threw 176 innings during the regular season, 30 more than his career high- set back in 2006 between A and AA.
With CC Sabathia available in the pen for short relief, with Kerry Wood and Mariano River prepared to air it out, and presumably AJ Burnett available for longer relief, I expect Joe Girardi will have a quick hook ready for Hughes.
The Hardball Times takes a look at Phil Hughes' pitch selection in his 2 postseason starts.
One of the key observations in that lengthy and fascinating analysis is how consistent Hughes' approach was against the the Twins and Rangers. With two strikes, Hughes was around the heart of the plate a lot; in the ALDS he got the breaks, and the Twins made outs- but in ALCS Game 2 the breaks went the other way, and the Rangers recorded 2 out hit after 2 out hit.
If Hughes wants to have more than BABIP luck on his side tonight, he needs to throw better strikes. If he doesn't have his fastball command, I want Joe G to get the bullpen up.
Former scout Frankie Pilliere offers this insight on Phil Hughes' mechanics:
When it comes to his curveball, his command of it has been a recurring problem for Hughes despite his strong 2010 campaign. Sometimes he lacks the extension he needs and begins to push his pitches. You'll see his fastball command suffer from that and you'll also see a lot of bouncing curveballs.
I was never much of an athlete, so I love tidbits like that. It makes me a smarter fan watching the game.
On a different note, Mike Sielski of the Wall Street Journal tries to jump start the "Arod the Choker" narrative.