Thursday, April 15, 2010

I Can Feel Phil Hughes Coming In The Air Tonight... Oh Lord!

Tonight's the big night! Phil Hughes, the winner of the 5th Starter Sweepstakes makes his regular season debut. And with Javy Vazquez setting the bar nice and low for him and his pitching counterpart on the Angels being somebody the Yankees traditionally destroy, everything is set up for Hughes to have a good night.

It will be interesting to see what kind of innings/pitch limit Joe has Phil on tonight. I mean, this IS the same guy who fanned 12 in a simulated Spring Training game not too long ago, so you don't want to risk overworking him. But if he's as dominant as he was against those simulated hitters, you have to leave him out there.

In a perfect world, you'd love to see Phil go 7+ tonight and give up a run or 2. But if he is aggressive towards batters, hits his spots with all his pitches, and shows enough confidence to try to work in his new changeup, I'll be happy with 5-6 innings and 3-4 ER allowed. And in all seriousness, 90-95 pitches is plenty for tonight.

A Message To Javy Vazquez

(Photo Courtesy of Anthony Causi/NY Post)

Javy Vazquez was less than stellar yesterday, that's a fact. And while yesterday's start wasn't as bad as his first start against Tampa last week, it still wasn't the type of performance people were expecting. So between that, and Javy's history in New York, I can understand why Yankee fans would boo him after he was taken out of the game yesterday. Apparently Javy doesn't.

“I feel like it’s unfair because that was so long ago. Like I’ve said plenty of times, I’m trying to concentrate on this year.”

That's all well and good, Javy. But the fact of the matter, based on that statement and based on the fact that you getting booed yesterday upset you so much, is that YOU haven't forgotten about 2004 just like the fans haven't. You probably aren't concentrating enough on this year because you remember what happened the last time you pitched in pinstripes, and you're walking on pins and needles right now, trying not to make mistakes instead of dealing and putting hitters away.

If you are focusing solely on 2010, then you should realize that you're 0-2 with a 9.82 ERA, 1.73 WHIP, and a .304 BAA right now, not exactly cheer-worthy numbers. So 2004 aside, you haven't exactly given Yankee fans a lot to praise you for so far.

It's like Jeet said, "“Yankees fans come to the park looking to cheer the Yankees. They are looking for good things to happen.” Nobody came to the park with the intention of booing you yesterday, Javy. But Yankee fans have good memories and you didn't exactly come in here with a clean slate. The bottom line is you had some work to do this year to erase the memories of '04; you knew that and the fans knew that. Your performances in your first 2 outings have done nothing to erase those memories. If anything, they have served to bold the memories and then highlight them in neon yellow.

Stop tip-toe-ing around hitters out there, stop worrying about 2004 and how people are going to react to you, start pitching better, and you'll get cheered. It's that simple.