Yanks beat O's 5-3 in late, rain-soaked contest

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

After a four-plus hour rain delay, the Yankees and Orioles kicked their Tuesday night contest off just after 11pm, and the Yankees ended up topping the O’s 5-3 just after 2am, notching their sixth straight win. I stayed up through the first four innings and hit the hay with the Yanks leading 1-0 and Phil Hughes escaping from a bases-loaded two-out situation.

Hughes needed 70 pitches to get through those four innings, but was ultimately able to get through six innings only giving up two runs — both coming on a Matt Wieters home run that was hit on an 0-2 count, which, more on that in a moment — while striking out five. Perhaps it was the weather, but Hughes’ velocity was noticeably down in this one (if you click on that link it appears this was his lowest velocity since returning from the DL), with his four-seamer averaging 91mph and topping out at 93mph. While it’s silly to gripe about the results — which were good — in the grand scheme of the Great Phil Hughes Development Project this one should probably be graded as an incomplete.

Getting back to that 0-2 business, Hughes himself had this to say about both his start and the pitch to Wieters, per Yankees.com:

“[The start] could have been a lot better,” Hughes said. “I made a dumb pitch there to Wieters, and that kind of puts a little sting in me there at the end. If you look at it, I guess it was all right, but I really didn’t want to make that pitch.”

On the highlight video it looked like Hughes grooved a fat fastball right down the middle, although per Brooks it looks like it was almost out of the strike zone. Either way, the pitch had no speed — 89.6mph — or bite on it, so it’s not terribly surprising it wound up in the stands.

As Matt Imbrogno noted on Twitter last night, and as we’ve all been privy to firsthand having watched Hughes start regularly for almost two years, Hughes continues to frustrate with his seeming inability to put hitters away after getting ahead. Per Baseball-Reference, after Hughes gets hitters in an 0-2 count this season they have a line of .283/.345/.434 against him (and this is prior to last night’s contest). While that’s worse than they usually perform against him (86 tOPS+), this is likely one of the worst lines allowed in the entire league after getting hitters in the most favorable count possible, as it represents a 246 sOPS+. Even after a 1-2 count, batters still hit Hughes 81% better than the league performs in this split (181 sOPS+). I wish I had the answer as to why Hughes continually struggles to put hitters away even when getting into favorable pitchers’ counts, but unless he can eventually figure this out he’ll continue to profile as more of a mid-rotation pitcher at best.

Anyway, on offense the Yankees slugged three solo home runs — one by Zombie Jorge Posada, the other two by Francisco Cervelli (his career-high third!) and Brett Gardner of all people.

Also, since we didn’t have a chance to note it on the site yet, Hector Noesi, Andrew Brackman, George Kontos, Greg Golson and Ramiro Pena were all called up yesterday.

8 thoughts on “Yanks beat O's 5-3 in late, rain-soaked contest

  1. While his fastball was eh at best, Phil’s curveball looked great last night. He was locating well with it and got quite a few swing and misses from it if I recall correctly.

    Sadly, all Phil has going for him at this time IMO is age. If he were a few years older and didn’t have the hype he had coming up we’d probably have traded him away by now. He really needs to see an uptick in his stuff for me to believe he has a long term future in NY. At this point I’ll gladly take a mid to back end starter with an era in the low to mid 4’s. He just doesn’t have an explosive fastball to go with his on and off curveball. He did throw one really nice change up to Weiters (think it was him) to get a strikeout in a big spot early in the game.

  2. From ESPNNewYork.com:
    It was Cervelli’s third home run in his last four games after having just two in his previous 471 at-bats. “I think I’m eating more food right now”, Cervelli said to explain his sudden power surge.

    That’s humorous! Cervelli, keep chowing down brotha.

  3. Noesi not only got called up, he got into the game. Two thirds of an inning in the 6th. Put a runner on and came out for Logan, who continues to be brought in against lefties and continues to get pounded by lefties, including letting Noesi’s runner score.

    • I was saying the same thing to myself. Has Logan got a lefty out in awhile? I seem to recall a few times he’s come in to face a lefty in a one batter apperance, and got hit.

      • His splits are interesting. Against righties he’s got a slash line of .236/.300/.291/.591. Against lefties, it’s .253/.310/.462/.772. He gives up twice as many extra base hits per PA against lefties as he does against righties, including all 4 of the home runs hit against him this year.

        On the other hand, he strikes out lefties twice as often as righties.

        For his career, he’s more effective against lefties. I don’t know if this year is an anomaly, or if there’s something different happening.
        Perhaps he’s challenging lefties a bit too much. If so, it would be the rare caswe of a Yankee who needs to nibble more.

  4. Enjoyable recap Larry! I went to sleep at the same time you did and was glad to wake up to a win. The info on how Hughes has been doing when he is ahead in the count is discouraging. Here’s hoping he’ll work on that with Larry Rothschild and improve.

  5. Hughes lacks a put-away pitch. With his very average velocity, he needs a pitch that fools hitters that he isn’t afraid to throw. For all the talk of developing curves and change-ups, we’ve yet to see it. At this point, alas, what you see is likely what you’ll get.

    The most optimistic take I’ve read on Hughes is that we’re seeing the effect of last year’s heavy innings workload. That might help account for his decline in velocity early in the season. If you believe that, next year should see a return to higher velocity. Even so, his fastball doesn’t seem to have a lot of movement. I see a 4th or 5th starter, and thus a very expendable or repalceable player.

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