New York Yankees: Phil Hughes Is a Mess and Needs to Be Moved To the Bullpen

By Nik Swartz
Phil Hughes New York Yankees
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have come back strong since their 1-3 start. They just completed a series win over a divisional rival and have won four of their last five games. This gives the Yankees and their fans a lot of hope they may not have had after the first four games, but there is one big issue that will keep the Yankees out of the competitive race in the AL East — the pitching of Phil Hughes.

Hughes was crushed again on Saturday in a loss to the Baltimore Orioles. In that game, Hughes did not make it out of the third inning and did what he does best – give up home runs.

It may be early in the season, but Hughes is the same pitcher he has been for over a year. He gets down in counts, gives up a lot of home runs and lacks composure on the mound.  At times, he has a confused look on his face, a look like he is not even sure what he is supposed to do.

After getting rocked for five runs, three via the long ball, it is time for the Yankees to get Hughes out of the starting rotation.

The man who bailed Hughes out on Saturday and helped keep the Yankees in the game, pitcher David Phelps, has proved he is more than capable of being in the starting rotation. Phelps came into the game Saturday and put the Orioles hard hitting lineup in check.

When Spring Training started, manager Joe Girardi stated that there would be a competition for the fourth and fifth spots in the rotation. What he said and what really happened seems to be two different things. Phelps out-performed Hughes and Ivan Nova in the spring, and both are in the starting rotation, while Phelps is out in the bullpen waiting for the call to bail each one out.

It makes no sense to bring Phelps out of the pen in every Hughes start. Why not save all the problems and just start the man?

Nova isn’t exactly lighting it up for the Yankees either, but Hughes is beyond bad — he is horrible. Hughes is so bad he doesn’t even remember how bad he is. His inability to remember bad starts would seem to be some sort of psychological defensive mechanism.

After the loss to the Orioles, Hughes was asked specific questions about the game and he did not remember them. He knew he was a fly ball pitcher, he talked about how that will never change and he just has to figure out a way to keep the ball in the park – what?

Watching Hughes pitch and throw batting practice fast balls is one of the most annoying parts of a Yankee season.

Hughes had no idea that he gave up three bombs and that four of the five runs he gave up came from extra base hits. When he was being asked questions about the game, he had a look similar to someone that is intoxicated. How any of this is possible is mind-boggling.

The AL East is going to be a year long battle where the teams beat up on each other all season. This makes it very possible that there may only be one team from the AL East that makes the playoffs. The reason this is so important is that a team cannot expect a loss every fourth day.

Girardi talked about the moving of Phelps into the starting rotation after the game. He said it was early and that he would not be making any changes to the starting rotation. The Yankees strength is the top three pitchers in their rotation, but for the team to stay competitive this season, they need consistency from the back-end of the rotation.

Nova has been far from good, but he has showed signs that he at the very least can be effective. Having Nova winning 10-12 starts would be great, but the Yankees need the pitchers ahead of him to win more and that will never happen with Hughes in the rotation.

Girardi needs to give Phelps the spot in the rotation. The Yankees will not make it into the post-season with Hughes in the starting rotation.

Nik Swartz is a featured columnist for the New York  Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @Sweetnesz13  or Google+.

You May Also Like