An early hook has become a regular part of Phil Hughes' starts (Source: AP).
You can never have enough starting pitching. During the offseason, that was Brian Cashman’s mantra as he built a rotation that went seven men deep. Tonight, it was a lesson the Yankees learned the hard way.
After announcing that Michael Pineda would miss the rest of the season with a torn labrum, the Yankees were looking for Phil Hughes to put his stamp on the rotation. However, those hopes were quickly dashed as the enigmatic right hander couldn’t even pitch his way through the third inning. Even more disconcerting than the four runs he allowed in his brief appearance was the continued lack of command that has dogged him since the second half of 2010. On several occasions, Hughes missed Russell Martin’s target by a wide margin, and almost without fail, the Rangers made him pay.
The Yankees scratched their way back into the game with two runs in the top of the fourth inning, but David Phelps, who may have been auditioning for a role in the rotation, didn’t provide much relief. In 2 1/3 innings, the young right hander allowed three runs, including two long balls, which effectively put the game out of reach. In the process, Phelps’ hiccup probably also quieted any outcry to have him take Hughes spot in the rotation.
With Hughes continuing to struggle and Pineda on the shelf, Andy Pettitte’s outing in Trenton took on even greater importance. In five-plus innings covering 81 pitches, the veteran lefty allowed seven hits and four runs, but was still pleased with his outing. However, he did admit that he wasn’t quite ready to return to the big leagues, which means the Yankees will have to hold their breath with Hughes and Freddy Garcia for at least a few more weeks.
Over the first 18 games, the Yankees have only recorded five quality starts, which, over a similar span, is the second lowest total in franchise history. It probably wasn’t what he had in mind at the time, but, so far at least, Brian Cashman’s pre-season assessment appears to be right on the money. The Yankees most certainly do not have enough starting pitching.
[Featured Image via The Tropical Variation]