Starting Pitching is Hard!!

Wanger had a better outing last night and seems to finally be putting things together.  Another story from last night, however, is the dominance that Phil Hughes appears to be exhibiting out of the bullpen.  Once again, his fastball averaged 94mph, which is about 3mph faster than a typical start for him.  He went two innings, giving up only a single hit, with no walks and 2 strikeouts.

Contrasting Phil Phranchise’s stats as a starter versus his stint out of the pen reveals a stark difference.  His ERA is more than 3 points lower (2.35 to 5.45, his average against is almost .100 points lower (.179 to .276), and his k/9 is well over 9, versus a sub-9 mark as a starter.  It’s become obvious, judging by how hard Joba and Phil have to work as a starter versus the relative ease with which they dispatch helpless batters in relief, that the starting role is much more difficult.  This we’ve always known, but the two neophytes make this fact that much more apparent with every appearance.

This is why Hughes should be yanked from the pen immediately and sent back down to AAA.  Whaaat?  But you just said how good he was as a reliever.  Yes, but it just goes to show you how tough it is to find good starting pitchers and how much work Joba and Phil need to put in to fulfill their ultimate potential.  Joba needs to figure out how to maintain consistent velocity over 7-8 innings while reducing the violence of his motion and keeping his pitch count down.  Phil needs to further refine his cutter and get more consistency with his curve, particularly the spike curve.  Both players desperately need to stay healthy and up their innings count over the course of the season.  All these skills can only be learned and earned by starting.  Hopefully, we’ll make the playoffs, and Phil can make a dynamite reliever in the post-season after he’s eaten his recommended yearly allowance of innings, but until then, he should start, be it in the majors or the minors.

The Narrow Margin video

Charlotte’s Web the movie

Running on Empty Dreams

2 thoughts on “Starting Pitching is Hard!!

  1. Who better to learn the cutter from than Mariano? That’s who helped him with it last season.
    He can improve it this season in the bullpen and throw it in winter ball and/or Spring training next year.
    Sending him down borders on the ridiculous with 3 starters who aren’t pitching well.

  2. Phil has 42+ innings as of now (I think), if he stays in the BP he’ll end up around 100+/-, unless he gets a start or two. Say he dose get two starts he may end up with around 120 innings. Winter ball gets another 30+ innings he can go about 180/200 in 2010, right?
    No need to go back down to AAA. Also, people shouldn’t get to excited about the 95 mph fastball…Coke also gained speed as a reliever, that is the nature of the beast.
    The experience he will gain in the BP, will help him next year as a starter.
    On the subject of sending him down, I have changed my mind after seeing how well he is doing in the BP. Maybe he has learned the secret of pitching in the bigs…mix it up and throw strikes.