Yankees Fans Love To Hate Phil Hughes

By Steve Skinner

Phil Hughes had a less than acceptable start for the New York Yankees last night against the Los Angeles Angels.  In going just 5 1/3 innings he allowed 7 earned runs (one of which can be attributed to reliever Cody Eppley), 11 hits, and struck out 3.  To his credit, after allowing 4 runs in the first inning, Hughes was able to fight through the remainder of his outing and actually kept the team in the game.  Unfortunately, he had done enough damage for the “haters” to come out of the woodwork on social media sites.

Twitter was flooded with comments ranging from “To stop a streak just put Hughes on the mound” to “Hughes has never been good. Cut our losses and let him go”.  Those were just two of the nicer examples.

How soon people forget that Phil Hughes was the pitcher that began the New York Yankees win streak on May 22nd against the Kansas City Royals.  He went 6 strong innings giving up 2 runs and striking out 7 on that day.

For whatever reason, Hughes seems to get the brunt of the Yankees fans’ frustrations and every little misstep is magnified only for him.

At the bottom of this article is a table of the statistics for each New York Yankees starting pitcher for the month of May.  What it shows is that Hughes’ performance has been comparable to the rest of the rotation, and with the exception of Andy Pettitte, his WHIP is actually better than the other starters.  If you remove last night’s start, his performance for the month is third-best among the five hurlers.

To call for his removal or to single him out among the pitchers in the rotation is not reasonable.  The remarks reserved for Phil Hughes could just as easily apply to the rest of the group (except Andy of course), and they would be more accurately directed at a couple of the others.

I am not making excuses for the performance last night, but I am saying that I think criticism (like umpiring) should be distributed consistently.  Perhaps New York Yankees expectations for Phil Hughes were set a little too high to begin with, and that is the reason for the fans creating literary lynch mobs.  Just keep in mind that the 25 year-old isn’t the only pitcher not meeting expectations, and because of his youth,  maybe we ought to give him the same type of leeway we allow the others in the rotation.

New York Yankees Starting Pitchers in the Month of May

Pitcher Record IP ER ERA Walks+Hits WHIP
CC Sabathia 3 – 2 36 11 2.75 47 1.31
Hiroki Kuroda 2 – 3 31 14 4.06 43 1.39
Hughes 3 – 3 36 2/3 19 4.66 47 1.28
Ivan Nova 3 – 2 31 2/3 20 5.68 47 1.48
Andy Pettitte 2 – 1 21 1/3 6 2.53 23 1.08

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