Yesterday afternoon in the Bronx, a lot of things seemed great at the end of the day. The Yankees flexed their guns and smashed three grand slams en route to a 22-9 romping. Everyone was buzzing about the incredible offensive display and some, like my fellow writer jscape2000, went as far as saying that the Yankees bullpen was something all other teams should fear come playoff time.
But I'll tell you one thing that's not exactly fearful: The Yankees' starting rotation.
More specifically, Phil Hughes is still not consistently good enough. Sure, the Yankees can have an abundance of starting pitching and all that jive. But A.J. Burnett and Hughes aren't exactly threats right now. Burnett has a more prominent resume of "Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde" type of pitching. He's dominant when he's on and absolutely terrible when he's not on.
Phil Hughes appears to be headed down that road. And he was flat out bad yesterday.
Hughes left a few too many fastballs over the plate yesterday in his brief 2.2 inning stint, allowing seven hits and six runs while even striking out five batters. Take a look at the chart below.
While the single and sacrifice fly down near the bottom of the strike zone were curveballs, and the one single directly above the sacrifice fly curveball was a changeup, all those other pitches were fastballs. The average velocity of them was 91 MPH. I'm sorry, but 91 without a whole lot of movement over the plate that many times is not a recipe for success.
I've already covered some of the problems I've seen surrounding Hughes and why he's not had more dominant, quality outings this year. This goes back to not pitching at a consistently high velocity with his fastball and not mixing in his two-seam and cutter enough. Being overly dependent on the curveball isn't helping his cause, either.
Either way, Hughes has put together some outstanding outings recently and some that are not so great. It'd be beneficial for him to find his great stuff (better control, higher velocity) and throw it sooner rather than later.
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