It sounded like Hughes' fastball was quite good last night (I was listening on the radio for the first few innings). Sterling is pretty funny with Hughes by the way. I love Hughes like everyone else, but Sterling was comparing Hughes' fastball to Beckett's and AJ Burnett's.
My real concern with last night's game was Ohlendorf, who is obviously suffering from some overuse. I think Girardi has done an unbelievable job splitting the bullpen use between everyone, but Ohlendorf has pitched a ton (albeit, with rest in between outings), and clearly didn't have it last night.
there was an article in the post or the dily news about 2 days ago. phil himself said he's a 91-93 mph guy. and that he touches 95 on a rare occasion. that's right from the horses mouth, if you look it up in the archives for the post or the daily news from either this past wednesday or thursday you'll see what he said.
April 24, 2008 -- CHICAGO - There are three reasons that people, Hank Steinbrenner included, want Joba ChamberlainJoba Chamberlain pitching every fifth day instead of working in the bullpen. Mike MussinaMike Mussina pitched last night against the White Sox. Phil HughesPhil Hughes goes tonight and Ian Kennedy faces the Indians Saturday.
Mussina is 39 and has seen almost everything there is to see in the big leagues, so the 1-3 ledger and 5.75 ERA he lugged to the U.S. Cellular Field mound last night was no big deal. Hughes is 21 and has 17 starts in the major leagues. Yet, the 0-3 record and fat 8.82 ERA wasn't keeping him awake at nights. Ditto the 23-year-old Kennedy, who is 0-2 with a 9.64 ERA.
By no means is Hughes satisfied with the start of the season. However, Hughes says his confidence is not sagging.
"If I did that would be really bad because of how early it is," Hughes said of losing confidence after four starts. "I don't look at it like that after a couple of bad starts."
Nor are the Yankees getting ready to ship Hughes out. One, they believe he improved from a two-inning sting against the Red Sox on April 13 to the 51/3-inning outing last Friday in Baltimore. Two, if they believed Hughes needed more seasoning at Triple-A, they would require a replacement.
At this point the options are $46 million bust Kei Igawa and Darrell Rasner, who is pitching very well in a starting role for SWB, but is viewed as a long man in the big leagues.
"I would be worried if I saw the approach change," Joe Girardi said. "I have not seen his approach change." When Hughes surfaced in spring training two years ago Jason Giambi looked at the fastball and compared Hughes to a "young Roger Clemens." Immediately, Hughes was pegged as a power pitcher who threw in the mid-90s. It's a label he says was wrong. "I never threw that hard, even when I was going good at Trenton (Double-A), I looked at the reports and it was 93. There were three times all year I touched 95," says Hughes, who routinely pitches at 91-92 mph.
The Yankees are convinced Hughes and Kennedy have the stuff to succeed in the big leagues. What they have lacked so far is aggressiveness and have fallen in the trap of pitching away from contact.
"It all comes back to command, command, command," Hughes said. "It all stems from the command of the fastball. You have to make them put the ball in play, use two or three pitches."
As for the slow start, Hughes pointed to the calendar. "It's early, if it's August and I am having the same problems I probably wouldn't be here," Hughes said. "I have to pitch well and everything else will take care of itself."