Phil Hughes will start for the New York Yankees tonight as they will face the Baltimore Orioles in the finale of a four-game set, one which the Yanks have won two of three so far. This is a very risky move by manager Joe Girardi, because Hughes was recently moved to the bullpen due to the ghastly year he was having.
Girardi’s explanation was that Hughes has more experience than lefty David Huff, who was vaguely on tap to start tonight and replaced Hughes in his last scheduled outing.
Not to state the obvious, but this is a very crucial game, and I don’t trust putting the ball in Hughes’ hands in a game that could put the Yankees into a tie for the second Wild Card spot. He’s a fly ball pitcher and Camden Yards, like Yankee Stadium, is conducive to home runs.
At Camden, Hughes is 2-2 with a 5.91 ERA in seven games pitched, but surprisingly has only allowed four taters. This year, he’s only made one appearance there and had a quality start, going six strong innings only giving up two runs, but that was on May 21, a lifetime ago in Hughes’ baseball life.
Since he’s been in the doghouse, or in this case the bullpen, he has made one appearance in which he got only one out. His ERA from that stellar outing? 108.0.
I have no clue why Girardi is throwing Hughes out to the wolves tonight, but I guess it is a situation of picking your poison. Huff, in a lone start in which he replaced Hughes, could only last 3.1 innings while giving up nine runs on eight hits.
So if Girardi says he wants experience on the mound tonight, he’ll get experience — the experience of letting Phil Hughes implode and lose a chance to be in the second Wild Card slot at the end of the night.