Sunday, July 28, 2013
First Pitch: Recipe for disaster
By Kieran Darcy
NEW YORK -- The Yankees are in deep trouble, and they have the wrong pitcher headed to the mound Sunday.
The Bombers are on the verge of being swept by the Rays at Yankee Stadium, which would leave them nine games out of first place as they depart on a long West Coast road trip. And Joe Girardi is handing the ball to Phil Hughes to stop the bleeding in the Bronx.
Hughes is 4-9 on the season, with a 4.33 ERA. But his home/road splits are downright frightening.
In nine starts away from home, Hughes is a respectable 3-2 with a 3.02 ERA. But in 10 starts at Yankee Stadium, he is 1-7, with a 5.63.
So much for home-field advantage.
To be fair, Hughes hasn't gotten much help. In fact, he now has the second-lowest run support of any starting pitcher in the American League -- 3.11 runs per outing. Only Chris Sale of the White Sox has gotten less help (2.78) -- but Sale's ERA (2.81) is more than a run and a half lower.
Hughes has pitched better of late -- in four starts in July his ERA is 2.63. But his record this month is just 1-2. And the Yankees' offense doesn't exactly appear to be on the verge of breaking out, after collecting just two hits off Rays rookie Chris Archer on Saturday.
Derek Jeter should return to the lineup Sunday. But the Yankees will be facing lefty Matt Moore, who's tied for the major league lead in wins -- 14-3 with a 3.17 ERA.
Moore vs. Hughes, in Yankee Stadium? Sunday doesn't shape up to be a fun day in the Bronx.