Friday, April 8, 2011

Hughes Fastball Still MIA

If you happen to see a baseball wandering around your neighborhood at about 92-93 mph, please call the local authorities. Do NOT try to apprehend the baseball yourself. We don't know why the known fastball has abandoned its owner-Phil Hughes- but pitching coach Larry Rothschild better find out in a hurry.

After a tremendous first half last season, Hughes struggled in the second half, primarily because of the lack of location. Now, the question of location is where is the velocity on his fastball? Just as in his prior start against Detroit, Hughes' teammates put runs on the board, but he couldn't keep them in the lead as his fastball resembled Javier Vazquez's. He lasted just two innings, and was yanked after he allowed five runs to the Boston Red Sox in the second inning to put his squad behind 6-3.

The Yankees rallied to tie the game before the Red Sox scored three runs off of Bartolo Colon and Boone Logan and fell 9-6. The victory was the first of the season for Boston, which had lost its first six games. Boston starter John Lackey fared no better than his counterpart, allowing six runs in five innings, but earned the victory. In his two starts, Lackey has allowed 15 earned runs in 8.2 innings pitched.

Hughes entered the bottom of the 2nd inning with a 3-1 lead thanks to a 2-run Robinson Cano dobule and an RBI double by Brett Gardner. But Boston loaded the bases on three straight singles with no out to start their half of the 2nd frame. A Marco Scutaro ground out scored one run, but Hughes looked like he might get out of trouble when he got Carl Crawford to bounce out for the second out of the inning. Dustin Pedroia, who homered in the 1st, had other things in mind and lined a 2-run single to center for a 4-3 Boston lead.

Pedroia moved to 2nd base on a Curtis Granderson throwing error and came home on an RBI single by Adrian Gonzalez. After Hughes walked Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz brought home the final run of the inning with a single. Hughes probably would have been pulled then, but Youkilis was caught in between 2nd and 3rd and was eventually tagged out by Alex Rodriguez to end the inning.

The Yankees got single runs in the 2nd through 5th innings, including a solo home run by Rodriguez, but failed to score against the Boston bullpen. Former Yankee Al Aceves made his Red Sox debut and was followed by Bobby Jenks, Daniel Bard, and Jonathan Papelbon.

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