Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Phil Hughes Getting Screwed On His Birthday (And Not In A Good Way)

How's this for a nice birthday present from your team?

"Phil Hughes has become a victim of his own success.

The Yankees right-hander with the 10-1 record and 3.17 ERA had expected to celebrate his 24th birthday, which is on Thursday, by starting the opener of a three-game series Friday against the Los Angeles Dodgers in front of a crowd that would include his parents, relatives and friends from nearby Mission Viejo, where he grew up.

Instead, having pitched 82 1/3 innings in less than half a season, Hughes' place in the rotation will be skipped and he will have to wait until the Yankees return home against the Seattle Mariners on June 29 to pitch again.  

"Innings. Innings,'' manager Joe Girardi said by way of explanation. "He's made 13 starts and averaged over six innings per start. This is a hard guy for me to sit because of the way he's pitching for us, but we can't be shortsighted on this. We have to think of this year and next year and we have to think of his future. We want to make sure we have him for a long time.'' (courtesy of ESPN.com)

Now don't get me wrong, I like that the Yankees are trying to limit Hughes' innings and trying to do it the smart way and not repeat their epic fuckup with Joba last year.  But to sit him on his birthday, in front of his entire family and friends, in his hometown???  That's just downright cold.

Let's do the math here.  Phil has thrown 82 1/3 innings so far in the team's first 70 games.  His innings limit for the year is going to be at or around 175.  That means he still has 92 2/3 innings to work with over the last 91 games.  The team already had a plan in place to skip some of his starts just before and just after the All-Star Game to give him rest and keep his innings down, and he surely won't be used by Joe in the All-Star Game that he's going to inevitably make.  So it's not like Phil is in danger of going way over his innings limit and risking damage to his arm.

Knowing that, what is the harm in letting him pitch on his birthday in front of his biggest fans in his hometown and then have him skip his next start?  The next game he would pitch would be against the fucking Mariners.  THE MARINERS!!!  The team that's last in practically every major offensive category in the American League and some categories that we probably don't even have stats for yet.  You could throw Mike Harkey out there against the Mariners and he could probably give you 6 solid innings.

This is just a dumb move by the Yankees here.  They've gone from not thinking and planning ahead enough with Joba to overthinking with Phil and blowing a huge opportunity.  The kid is going to be stoked to pitch in his hometown and he would be pitching against a team that has no history against him.  The makings are there for a dynamite performance that would lead perfectly into some well-deserved rest when he returned home.  Instead, everyone is starting to worry about his innings before they even have to and we'll end up getting to watch Chad Gaudin or Ivan Nova go out there and potentially shit the bed.  "Oof" and "Da" to that decision.

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