Rapid Reaction: After Hughes fails, Girardi is under the gun


WHAT IT MEANS: This is still a series. Cliff Lee is back in play. And there is a huge decision facing Joe Girardi regarding if he should bring back CC Sabathia in Game 4 on short rest. Girardi has refused to say he won't.

Either way, he is likely still going to have to use A.J. Burnett in Game 4 or 5, which is going to be a crucial spot.

Phil Hughes looked terrible in Game 2 so it is hard to imagine Girardi would want to bring him back on short rest for Game 5, especially after the innings limits all season. But Sabathia could throw games one, four and seven and Andy Pettitte could go Games 3 and 6.

WHAT IS NEXT: Well, while all the focus has been on how great Lee has been in the postseason, the Yankees don't exactly have a playoff slouch in Pettitte going in Game 3 Monday night at Yankee Stadium. He has more postseason starts than anyone in history with 41. He has had his share of big ones. He will be asked to do it again, because if he doesn't come through, then the Yankees will likely have to turn to the fragile Burnett. A scary proposition for Girardi.

CURTAIN CALL: No "S" on the Curtain Calls for Game 2, because there was only one. It goes to Robinson Cano, because he looks nasty at the plate, hitting another homer and just missing another. He can't do it himself, though.

BRONX CHEER: Hughes had come into this game, having given up only three hits and no runs in 15 1/3 innings in Arlington. On Saturday, the Rangers nailed seven extra-base hits in his four innings.

In the first three innings, he allowed five runs on eight hits and there weren't many cheapies. Overall, he gave up seven runs on 10 hits. As good as Hughes was a week ago was how bad Hughes was this Saturday.

ANALYSIS: Hughes didn't have it from the start. Girardi's decision to switch his rotation was a failure. If the Yankees had gone with Pettitte in Texas, maybe they win this game and, even if Hughes had lost to Lee, in Game 3, they would be in better shape.

Now, Pettitte must match Lee pitch-for-pitch. Girardi had some good data behind his decision to start Hughes in Game 2 -- Hughes had been great in this ballpark -- but it backfired. It could come back to hurt the Yankees big time.

COMING ATTRACTIONS: Keep checking back here, because we at ESPNNewYork.com have a lot planned. Ian O'Connor is going to write that it is time to panic. Wallace Matthews thinks Girardi has a big decision to make about who starts Game 4. And I'll be looking to Game 3, asking if Pettitte can finally give the Yankees a good starting pitching performance against Lee.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Would you start CC Sabathia on short rest in Game 4? Please comment below.