Hopes for a series sweep of the Tigers were shattered yesterday, as the Yankees came up short in a 10-7 loss. This was a game that any baseball person would say should have resulted in a win since 6 of the 7 runs were made via the home run. But great offense is never enough if it's not backed up by solid pitching.
Phil Hughes was the starter and loser of today's game, and it was obvious from the first inning that his day would fare "problematic." After allowing a hit to Detroit DH Brennan Boesch, he gave up a 2-run homer to Miguel Cabrera on a breaking ball that sailed across the middle of the plate, putting Detroit up 2-0. Victor Martinez was next, and after getting him behind in the count on 2 strikes, Hughes struggled to put him away as Martinez fouled off several pitches. This struggle continued throughout the day for Hughes, and after only 4 innings, he had 90 pitches. He came through the second inning unscathed but in the third gave up an RBI single again to Boesch allowing Austin Jackson to score, followed by another 2-run shot to Cabrera. Throughout his start, Hughes struggled to locate his fastball. He would pitch 4 innings, give up 5 hits, 5 ER and only record one strikeout. He starts 2011 with an 11.25 ERA and decreased velocity on his fastball which failed to reach 90 mph.
Bartolo Colon at the stadium and it was easy to forget his great Spring Training, yet remember why so many fanatics were up in arms when the Yankees signed him. He gave up a single to his first batter, Ramon Santiago; followed that with a 2-run homer to Boesch, who would go 4 for 4 today. Colon settled down though, striking out the side, but there was more of the same in the 6th inning. He walked Jackson, gave up 2 singles to Jhonny Peralta and Santiago, putting Detroit up 8-6, and then followed with a sac-fly to Boesch to put Detroit up by 3. He managed however, to make it through the 7th and 8th innings without giving up a run.
Joba Chamberlain pitched the 9th and after giving up Boesch's 4th hit, it seemed like he might make it out of the inning okay after inducing a 4-3 double-play. But he wouldn't. Outfielder Ryan Raburn tagged Joba for an RBI double, scoring Boesch and Detroit would go up, 10-7. The one plus to Joba's outing, was that he dialed his fastball up to 96 mph.
Jorge Posada which tied the game at 2-2 in the second inning. Mark Teixeira hit his third homer in as many games in the 3rd, putting the Yankees within 2 behind Cabrera's second 2-run shot. Robinson Cano's solo shot to the second deck in right field followed in the 3rd, and Posada came through again the 5th, hitting another 2-run homer, putting the score at 7-6. Russell Martin had another solid outing, going 3 for 4 with a double and 2 singles and Nick Swisher finally broke through, going 3 for 3 with 2 line-drive singles and an RBI double.
Not a great day for Yankee pitchers, particularly Phil Hughes. It's not at all time to push the panic button yet, but Hughes did give some cause for concern. Decreased velocity, poor location of his fastball and the inability to put batters away after 2 strikes are not a recipe for the kind of success he saw in 2010. Hopefully, we'll see a marked change in his next start.
Alex Rodriguez continued his hit streak today, going 1 for 5 with a single to center.
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