Hughes struggles against Oakland
August, 25, 2011
By Matt Ehalt | ESPNNewYork.com
In case you forgot with all the runs the Yankees scored, Phil Hughes, in the middle of a competition for a rotation spot, started Thursday's game against Oakland. Then again, his performance wasn't exactly worth remembering.
Hughes stunk it up Thursday in what could be his final start before the Yankees try to whittle their rotation down to five. Hughes lasted just 2 2/3 innings and gave up seven runs and six earned runs in the Yankees' 22-9 win.
"It was disappointing, a bump in the road, I felt like I had really got a little roll going," Hughes said. "I'll work hard to get over this one and hopefully not face the A's again for a while."
With injured starter Freddy Garcia set to be activated off the disabled list Saturday, the Yankees plan to shorten their rotation back down to five men. Hughes' performance Thursday won't be one for him to use as to why he should be the starter who is not demoted to either Triple-A or the bullpen.
Like many of the starts in which he's struggled this year, Hughes couldn’t put hitters away and labored deep in counts. In the first inning, Hideki Matsui worked a 12-pitch at-bat against Hughes before finally hitting a sacrifice fly to give the A's an early 1-0 lead.
"It was tough, I felt like I made some decent pitches to Matsui and he was fouling them off and then kind of set the tone," Hughes said. "It was going to be a day that I had to grind and I just couldn't get it done."
It all unraveled for Hughes in the third. With the A's leading 2-1, Oakland put together four singles and tacked on two more runs to take a 4-1 lead and get Hughes out of the game. He ended up being tagged with six runs when reliever Cory Wade gave up a three-run homer, allowing two runners Hughes put on to score. Hughes threw 78 pitches over his eight outs and said location and execution were reasons he had a rough outing.
While Hughes didn't get the loss, as the Yankees offensive onslaught got him a no-decision, it ended what had been a nice run for him. Hughes had been 3-0 in his last three starts and had not given up more than two runs in any start.
"Hopefully with some work and some repetition in my mechanics I can be back to how I was in my previous three starts before this one," Hughes said.
He joked that he can sleep better despite the bad start after seeing his offense.
"You want to pitch well and be out there but when they score so many runs it's pretty cool to watch," Hughes said. "Three grand slams in one game, nobody has ever seen that before."
With the Yankees planning to shorten their rotation this weekend, although Hurricane Irene could throw a wrench into those plans, each starter could be making their final showcase as to why they should stay.
While it's a big decision that could affect his season, Hughes isn't concerning himself with that decision.
"It's not in my mind. I can't speak for anybody else but I wouldn't assume it would be (either)," Hughes said. "We have enough to focus on when we go out there and pitch and to think about moves in our head or what might happen or anything like that, it's not doing us any good. It's certainly something I don't think about."
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