The New York Yankees are on the verge of falling out of the race in the American League East.
With the Boston Red Sox playing close to .600 baseball, the Yankees haven’t been able to keep pace of late, and had to rally last night to beat the Minnesota Twins to avoid a six-game losing streak. However, this four-game series with the Twins provides a chance for the Yankees to build some momentum before they head home for a 10-game stretch that leads up to the All-Star break.
But as the saying goes, momentum is only as good as tomorrows starting pitcher and unfortunately for the Yankees, today’s starting pitcher is Phil Hughes.
It has been a frustrating year for Hughes and Yankee fans. At times, he has looked like the can’t-miss prospect he was touted to be, but at others, he has looked helpless. He has given up a startling 14 home runs this year, and the Yankees have only won one time in his last eight starts.
In fairness, it’s not entirely Hughes’ fault. The notably weak Yankee offense has been particularly putrid in those same eight starts. Outside of the one win (6-1 over the Seattle Mariners on June 6), the Yankees offense hasn’t scored more than two runs in any game. He pitched well against the Texas Rangers the last time out, but was beaten 2-0.
With a 3-7 record, it’s possible the Yankees will try to trade Hughes at the deadline in order to make room for Michael Pineda as he returns to make his highly-anticipated Yankees debut. It’s not the career path Yankee fans expected from Hughes, but their patience has to be wearing thin.
Perhaps tonight, Hughes can have another nice start to match the quality start he had last time out. A win would help the Yankees stay close in the AL East, but more importantly give Hughes some much-needed confidence.
B.L. is a sports writer for Rant Sports and can be followed on Twitter @coachlip.