Phil Hughes (Finally) Adds The Slider

It wasn’t long ago that Derek Lowe called himself a tinker, but if this is a competition, Tinker of the Year goes to Phil Hughes. First he lost his cutter, then he added an 11-5 curveball, and then he dropped his arm slot. All these changes have amounted to a Phil Hughes who’s given up just 3 earned runs over the last 21.0 innings.

I believe a lot of the recent poor contact is due to the lower arm slot slightly reducing vertical movement in his fastball, in favor of a tremendous increase in horizontal movement. Two weeks ago, I wrote about the fastball, a pitch that was once the most important whiff pitch in his repertoire, but is now showing the horizontal break of a two-seam. In theory, he should gain more groundballs and less strikeouts over time. While this is a brilliant move for a right handed fly ball pitcher in Yankee Stadium, I questioned whether he’d be able to thrive without a true out-pitch.… Click here to read the rest

The Farm Report: 8/28/12

Tampa lost to Dunedin 5-1 in Game 1:
The Blue Jays got their first run of the day on a RBI single by Marcus Knecht in the bottom of the second. Back-to-back doubles started the Dunedin rally in the third, aided by a throwing error on a pickoff attempt by Shane Greene and a wild pitch that allowed a run to score. Jon Talley drew a walk and a couple singles plated one more run, giving the Blue Jays a 4-0 lead. Dunedin got a little more insurance with a run in the bottom of the sixth, as the Yankees had to rally in the seventh. Tyler Austin got things started with a double to right. Kyle Roller singled, putting runners on the corners. Gary Sanchez hit into a double play, pushing Austin across the plate for the first Yankee run of the day. Unfortunately, Zach Wilson grounded out and the Yankees took the 5-1 loss. Austin went 2-3 with a run scored and two doubles.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees Bounce Back With A 2-1 Win Over The Blue Jays

There’s nothing like a good bounce-back victory to help get rid of the rancid taste of last night’s loss from everyone’s mouth.

Phil Hughes, who struggled in his last outing against the Blue Jays, went seven innings for the Yankees, only giving up one earned run on four hits and out-dueled Ricky Romero who also went seven innings tonight, giving up two earned runs on five hits for Toronto. Romero, who started the year 8-1 is now 8-12 for the Blue Jays.

Hughes struck out five and the lone run was a solo shot by Adeiny Hechavarria.

Nick Swisher started things for the Yankees in the third inning with an RBI single that scored Jayson Nix. Nix had himself a good night at the plate finish 2-3 with two singles – he was the only Yankee with a multi-hit night. Curtis Granderson hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth which scored the newly arrived Steve Pearce for the Yankees’ only other run.… Click here to read the rest

Game 129: The Split Squad Lineup

I could take a somewhat optimistic approach to analyzing this lineup and point out that it’s a righty-heavy group against a southpaw that has been battered by most every opponent – gaining the platoon advantage against such a pitcher may well be icing on the cake. A more pragmatic mindset may note that Romero has historically been better when faced with the platoon disadvantage, holding righties to a .672 OPS … as opposed to a .844 OPS against left-handed batters. Though, I suppose that has been narrowed a bit this year (.741 OPS v. .892), and many of the Yankees ‘lefty-mashers’ haven’t lived up to that profile (meaning Romero may well lose his platoon disadvantage advantage) – so, there’s that.

The pessimist in me is too baffled at the presence of Steve Pearce and Russell Martin batting fourth and fifth, respectively, to say anything witty or snarky.

Onto the line-ups:

Toronto Blue Jays New York Yankees
Rajai Davis, LF Derek Jeter, SS
Colby Rasmus, CF Nick Swisher, 1B
Edwin Encarnacion, 1B Robinson Cano, 2B
Adam Lind, DH Steve Pearce, DH
Yunel Escobar, SS Russell Martin, C
Yorvit Torrealba, C Curtis Granderson, CF
Mike McCoy, 2B Andruw Jones, RF
Moises Sierra, RF Jayson Nix, 3B
Adeiny Hechavarria, 3B Ichiro Suzuki, LF
Ricky Romero, SP Phil Hughes, SP

The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m., on YES.… Click here to read the rest