Hughes notches first quality start since September 26 as Yanks beat Jays 7-2

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So, Phil Hughes.

The Yankee righthander authored his best outing of the season by far, throwing six innings of two-run ball, scattering four hits, walking two and striking out five, and was able to notch his first quality start since September 26, 2010, against Boston, in one of last season’s more pivotal games down the stretch, leading the Yankees to a 7-2 win over Toronto and a split of this weekend’s four-game set. This was Hughes’ first win as a starting pitcher since September 21, 2010.

The good news: Hughes had his best four-seamer in a long time, throwing it between 91-93, picking up strikes 67% of the time — including a big six swing-and-misses — and racking up -1.3526 linear weights. If you placed that linear weights score among his 2010 starts, it would have actually been his 10th-best.

The better news: After all the talk this past week about Hughes reverting to his former curveball grip, he more than backed up his word, as his -1.1172 linear weights on the curve today was better than every single start he made in 2010.

The so-so news: Several of the fly-outs Hughes yielded to right field looked like they might have been home runs in Yankee Stadium — at least off the bat — and it also seemed like fly balls were simply dying out in right. They weren’t home runs, and so no harm no foul, but if this outing took place in the Bronx it may have looked a tad different. I’ll be interested to see the spray chart once TexasLeaguers.com updates tomorrow.

That being said, it’s difficult to be anything but encouraged by this outing from Hughes, considering how ineffective he’d been in his previous four outings this season, not to mention the fact that the Blue Jays are a dangerous offensive team even without Jose Bautista. He appeared to be far more in command and didn’t unravel the moment he began to approach anything resembling danger. Hughes obviously still has a long way to go, but this is a great step in the right direction. Now he needs to do it again.

On offense the Yankees kept chipping away at Carlos Villanueva, and were paced by three RBI from Curtis Granderson. Nick Swisher picked up two hits, and Russell Martin broke a 1-1 tie in the 4th with a big RBI double, and Cory Wade, David Robertson and Boone Logan(!) combined for three perfect innings as the Yanks would never look back.

9 thoughts on “Hughes notches first quality start since September 26 as Yanks beat Jays 7-2

  1. T.O. Chris

    On thing I noted was that his fastball velocity really decreased as the game went along. He hit 93 several times in the first 2 innings, but by the 4th was throwing as low as 88, and was sitting at 90. Not an earth shattering decrease, but something to keep an eye on going forward for sure.

    • S

      the 88 mph were cutters, his 4 seamer did hit 90 a few times but for the most part it was 91-93.

      I don’t think we’ll see him living in the 92-94 mph range with his four seamer this year (I just think that now that he has moved on passed the “dead arm” phase he really needs the type of rest that will only be possible in the offseason)

      • T.O. Chris

        Most of them certainly were cutters, but I noticed more than a couple of pitches at 88-89 MPH that certainly weren’t. Or they were cutters with simply no movement on them at all. The cutters had a noticeable movement on them, and they went as low as 86.

        I also don’t re-call a single 93 MPH after the 3rd inning. He lost the ability to get that high, and started living in the 89-91 MPH area.

        • S

          they were cutters, some were flatter than others ( Hughes’ cutter is always been susceptible to flattening out) gameday, and brooksbaseball seem to agree those were cutters (his cutter has always sat at 88-89mph and today it did top out at 90.6 mph)

          • T.O. Chris

            Then he threw exclusively cutters in one or two innings, and was throwing them at the top of the zone. Because he had innings where he never went above 91, and dropped as low as 86. At the very least his velocity did drop as the game went along, this isn’t debatable. He started out throwing as high as 93, and that disappeared after the 3rd. Topping out at 91 from the 5-6th.

          • S

            those were 4 seamers, he only threw on or two that topped out at that 90.6. Like I said gameday and brooksbrothers both agree those 88-89 were cutters,

          • T.O. Chris

            So what are we arguing here?

            My whole point was that he lost velocity as the game went along, and got to the point where he was topping out at 91, and living at 90. I find it hard to say “for the most part he was 91-93″, when after the 3rd he never hit 93 again, and was hitting 90 as often as he was 91.

  2. Phil looked much better today. Hitters were missing or fouling off his fastball instead of squaring everything up like they did earlier this year and in his first start back. He was efficient and his curve looked terrific and he threw it for strikes.

  3. [...] those of you who read my game recap know, a funny thing happened on the way to Phil Hughes delivering his first strong outing of the [...]

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