First Pitch: Hughes out, CC must step up

September, 4, 2013
NEW YORK -- Of all the qualifiers, CC Sabathia has the seventh worst starting ERA in baseball, while Phil Hughes is ninth. Sabathia's 4.91 is only better than Edinson Volquez (5.97), Jeremy Hellickson (5.21), Dan Haren (5.02), Ian Kennedy (4.96), Roberto Hernandez (4.95) and Joe Saunders (4.92).

The Yankees are making a run in the wild card race, but injuries may be only one reason that they are not even further up in the standings. Sabathia and Hughes' ineffectiveness have been perhaps the biggest deterrent. Now, Hughes is out of the rotation.

If Sabathia were having a typical year, the Yankees might be leading the wild card and in striking distance of the Red Sox in the East. If Hughes were just a tad better maybe they would be neck and neck with the Sox.

The amazing part of Sabathia's year is that you don't really feel that much more confident in him than Hughes. Sabathia has won three of his last four starts, but his ERA is 6.17 in those outings. Prior to that, he had lost five of his previous eight starts since late June. His ERA during that poor stretch was 6.12.

Hughes' poor starts have put him in the bullpen. Sabathia isn't going anywhere, but the Yankees can't carry the big man for too much longer.

UP NOW: Wallace Matthews on the Yankees' comeback win. Ian O'Connor's news story on Joe Girardi's plans to speak with Mariano Rivera in the offseason about reconsidering his retirement. My news stories on Derek Jeter's moving up the all-time hits list and Hughes' demotion.

ON DECK: Wally and I will have you covered from the stadium tonight. CC Sabathia (12-11, 4.91) will face Erik Johnson, who make his MLB debut.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Do you think Mo will re-consider?
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »



Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.


Masahiro Tanaka
12 2.51 135 129
BAJ. Ellsbury .271
HRM. Teixeira 21
RBIJ. Ellsbury 67
RB. Gardner 81
OPSB. Gardner .764
ERAH. Kuroda 3.81
SOM. Tanaka 135