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Yankees Recap: Hughes Recovers from Early Stumble to Beat White Sox 4-2 on Old Timers’ Day

Phil Hughes: He subdued his dark side.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Phil Hughes: He subdued his dark side. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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Having just received my driver’s license and been given my first car, I and my friends drove to Yankee Stadium on July 16, 1988 to take in Old Timers’ Day, see Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio, both of whom were nice enough to be alive that day. Tommy John, the Jamie Moyer active-old timer of his day, was slated to pitch against the White Sox. Being a neophyte at the whole driving-from-Jersey-to-the-Bronx thing, I left late, got stuck in traffic, and arrived to find that all of the official lots were full. I asked a policeman directing traffic for a suggestion. "Park on the street here," he said.

"Is it safe?" I asked.

"Sure! I’ll be watching the whole time."

By the time we got into the park, Mantle and DiMaggio were long gone. John proved not to have his best stuff, giving up a home run to Steve Lyons of all people, and though Astros great Jose Cruz pinch-hit a grand slam for his sole Yankees home run, the home team went down to defeat …And when I exited the ballpark, I found the cop was gone and so was my car.

Today turned out better, though you would be forgiven for thinking otherwise given that Phil Hughes staked the White Sox to a 2-0 lead on the hits. It seemed possible that Hughes’ evil side, which last appeared against Atlanta on June 20, might have manifested itself. However, Hughes settled down, getting out of trouble by striking out the ever-popular A.J. Pierzynski. He rolled from them on, allowing just three more hits while striking out another seven over the next seven innings before yielding to Rafael Soriano.

Hughes had a 7.88 ERA in April, a 4.66 ERA in May, and a 2.67 ERA in June—that start against the Braves was the only bad moment. This is Hughes’ best run since his hot start to 2010, and it bodes well for the Yankees surviving this current run of injuries to starting pitchers.

All of the offense was supplied via two-run homers by Eric Chavez and Robinson Cano. Cano shouldn’t surprise given the power-trip he’s been on, but Chavez continues to shock with each hit. He’s now batting .275/.331/.492, which is getting close to classic Chavez territory. Given his 1,001 injuries and averages of .238/.288/.341 (including five home runs in 390 at-bats) over the previous four seasons, it seemed that Chavez was no longer capable of this kind of production. At this point, he’s made a good argument that when/as/if Brett Gardner returns, it’s Raul Ibanez who should sit, not him.

Now it’s off to Florida for three games against a Rays team that just can’t hit, especially with Evan Longoria out of the lineup—over the last eight weeks they went 26-29 while hitting .224/.306/.353 and scoring about four runs a game. Even in a season of diminished offense, that’s bad.