Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Goodbye To Hughes

(Ahh, the good old days... )

It's been a homestand full of finales and goodbyes, and it continues tonight when Phil Hughes takes the mound in place of CC Sabathia.  After having the rotation rearranged to remove him from what could have been an important series, Phil gets to step back on the Yankee Stadium mound one more time in what will in all likelihood be his final appearance as a New York Yankee.  Unsurprisingly, there's no pregame ceremony planned.  With the way Hughes' season has devolved, there's almost no point in even giving him the ball in the first place.

Wednesday Late Morning/Early Afternoon Food For Thought

Hiroki Kuroda in the 1st inning in 2013: 32.0 IP, 46 H, 8 BB, 21 ER, 5 HR

Kuroda in the 2nd-9th innings in 2013: 169.1 IP, 145 H, 35 BB, 53 ER, 15 HR

He said he doesn't have an explanation, and given the fact that it's been a season long problem it doesn't seem like Joe or Larry Rothschild do either.  Make no mistake though, the 1st inning has killed Hirok this season.  Subtract that inning and its terrible results and he's probably still in the hunt for the AL Cy Young.  It wouldn't be such a problem if he had some offensive support, but the current lineup Joe's rolling out is almost as short and powerless as it was during the lowest times of the summer.  Once the 1st inning was over last night, so was the game.

The Reason Joe Didn't Play The Kids Last Night

("And I played Wells too, BAHAHAHAHA!!!!!"  Courtesy of Getty Images)

With little to play for entering last night's game except pride, many around the blogopshere were calling for Joe to pull the plug on the sub-replacement level guys like Ichiro Suzuki, Vernon Wells, and Chris Stewart, and play the kids.  Knowing that you've got nothing to work with in those 3, it made sense for next season to see what you've got in guys like J.R. Murphy, Zoilo Almonte, and even David Adams and Dellin Betances.  Yet there were Ichiro's, Wells', and Stewart's names on last night's lineup card while the young guys stayed glued to the bench.

We all saw how that decision worked out and it wasn't pretty.  If you're upset at the call by Joe and don't understand why he did that, the answer is pretty simple.

Game 157 Wrap-Up: TB 7 NYY 0

(Game over.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

I have to admit, there's a small big part of me that enjoyed reading about all the Mo bobblehead night confusion and commotion last night.  I wasn't getting one anyway, so if all you lucky folks who did had to stand outside the stadium a little longer than you anticipated, good.  I hope you value that bobblehead.  And of course, with as perfect as the Mo ceremony on Sunday was, it came as no surprise that the team who paid Ichiro millions of dollars to play baseball for them for 2 full seasons couldn't go 2-for-2 and screwed up the bobblehead night.  Oh yeah, there was a baseball game last night too.  That kinda gets lost in the wash when the Yanks entered the game with a less than 1% chance of making the playoffs.  I wonder if they improved those chances.

Game Notes:

- For some reason, Hiroki Kuroda didn't have the feel for his stuff at the start of the game.  He gave up a leadoff home run to Matt Joyce and it only took him 11 pitches and 4 batters faced to make it a 3-0 Rays lead.

- The Yankee lineup, weak and unnecessarily veteran-heavy as it was, certainly made Matt Moore work early.  His command wasn't there either and they drew 5 walks against him in the first 3 innings.  They also only got 1 hit and had no runs to show for all their patience.

- Whatever it was that wasn't working for Hirok in the 1st got fixed quickly.  He held the Rays hitless through the next 4 innings, their only baserunner coming on an Eduardo Nunez error.

- Then he lost it in the top of the 6th and lost it in a big way.  Kuroda loaded the bases on a pair of walks and an Evan Longoria double and then gave up a 2-run double to James Loney to make it 5-0 Rays.  He didn't make it out of the inning.

- The offense stayed pathetic, scratching out 3 more measly hits from the 4th on and stranding all 3 runners.  Against the Tampa bullpen they managed just 1 hit and 4 strikeouts in 4 innings.

- Just for good measure, the Rays tacked on 2 in the 9th against Shawn Kelley.  In the end the people who waited in line all night to claim their bobbleheads didn't miss much and the Yankees are now 1 game away from playoff elimination.