Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hail The Conquering Hero

Now that it's official, I can finally uncross my fingers, put my 4-leave clover away, and celebrate.


I know I've tried to put a positive spin on the last couple weeks, but now that I don't have to pretend to be OK with Dustin Moseley and Javy Vazquez sucking balls anymore, I'm just not going to.  A weak link is being removed from the rotation, and the Yankees' 2nd best pitcher is coming back just in time for the end of the year run to the division title and the start of the march through the playoffs to title 28.  That's good news when your team is a couple of timely hits away from a 10-game losing streak.  Sunday can't come fast enough.

I can honestly say that this is definitely the first, and most likely the only, time I will ever be this excited about a 38-year-old man coming back into my life.  But when that man is Andy Pettitte, I'm OK with it.

Searching For A Silver Lining

Another strong Phil Hughes start turned into just an OK one last night thanks to a couple of misplaced pitches.  This has been a constant theme for Hughes all year long and now the impact of that theme is felt even more in the heat of a division race, especially when the offense is still lost at sea without Swish and Gardner and seemingly unable to get a hit or two with RISP.

On the negative side, Hughes was given 2 leads and couldn't hold either of them.  He could have helped the Yankees gain a little more breathing room over Tampa and chop 2 more games of the divisional magic number and instead the Yanks wake up today looking back up at the Rays in the standings.  He has given up a lot of home runs this year in key situations and is still probably in limbo as far as his postseason role goes.

On the positive side, Hughes pitched exceptionally well for the rest of the game last night, hitting his spots with his fastball and mixing his pitches up far better than he had been recently.  And if you eliminate a handful of the home runs he's given up this year, Hughes could be looking at 18 or 19 wins right now.  Location and pitch selection issues aside, Hughes has pitched incredibly well this year in his first year as a full-time starter.  Improving pitch selection and location is something that comes with experience, so imagine how awesome he's going to be once he masters that over the next year or 2.