Phil Hughes' final start of the season couldn't have possibly gone better
. In what will undoubtedly be a wasted year for the kid, a season which saw him battered, injured and relegated to AAA, Hughes bounced back in a big way tonight. The season will end without a win from Hughes and Kennedy, but I'll be spending the Winter eagerly waiting to see what a healthy Hughes can do for this team in 2009.
Phil threw 100 pitches over 8 innings, allowing only 2 runs, 5 hits, striking out 6 and walking none. The Hughes I saw tonight reminded me of the guy who electrified the team last year with a no-hit bid, and dominated the Indians in the post season. I saw a kid who threw all four pitches in all kinds of counts and put batters away with a deadly curve. What I saw tonight leaves me excited for the future, which isn't a feeling I've had much this season.
Unfortunately, Phil gave up a solo bomb which tied the game at 2 in the 7th and the Bombers wouldn't be able to reclaim the lead until Bobby Abreu hit a salami in the top of the 10th. The Yanks finally bested A.J. Burnett, even though he didn't factor in the decision and pitched very well.
Maybe the key to Yankee success is sending their AAA lineup out there. A-Rod, Jeter and Damon all rode the pine tonight. Damon pinch-ran late, but didn't break a bat (those Nady bats are made of granite, apparently). I'm not sure if Girardi will sit the A team from here on out, I sure hope not. There are a lot of us fans out here who have stuck with this team, and while I'd love to see what Juan Miranda has, there's really no reason to take an extended look at Betemit. Jeter is probably hurt from that bean ball on Saturday, so if he isn't 100% go ahead and rest him. A-Rod and Damon should be in there, though.
Tomorrow the Yanks face their other nemesis, Roy Halladay. Carl Pavano will take the hill in his final start of the season. I'm expecting a shut out, if not a no hitter out of Pavano. He is pitching for a contract, after all, and not for his team. Seems like the perfect set of circumstances for the stiff.Player of The Game:
87-71 (16 games over!!!)Damon:
Screw you Nady.
I almost forgot, it's been widely publicized that Phil Hughes will pitch in the Arizona Fall league in an effort to build up his inning total heading into 2009. It makes perfect sense. Here's my question: Why isn't Joba doing the same? If the ultimate goal is to insert Joba at the top of the rotation, which I believe it should be, then isn't every inning he can pitch this season vital? Get him another 20 innings of work this fall and that's another 20 you can add to his workload in the regular season next year.