Sports Outside the Beltway

Yanks edged by Tigers

I’d put the blame 60% on Phil Hughes and 40% on the offense. I really thought Hughes would have a great outing today, being his fifth start since returning from the DL and having his best fastball of the year (outside of the no-hitter) his last time out. He promptly served up a leadoff HR (albeit a fluke) followed by a pair of runs. His line (outside of runs) looked great: 6 ip, 4 h, 1 bb, 6 k. That looks like he should have allowed just one or two runs, but three of the four hits happened to be HR. That’s the opposite of his MO in the minors, when he was a groundball machine, but since joining the Yanks he’s become a flyball pitcher (today he allowed 11 flyouts to one groundout!). In the minors he consistently pitched low in the zone, but after his first three starts (when he had a 21:9 groundout to flyout ratio), his ratio has skyrocketed (12:37). He allowed just six HR in all of 2006, so he reach half that in just three innings today. I don’t mean to kill him (I was disappointed today because I was hoping (and expecting) a better game) – he still has a great k:bb ratio of 3:1, has allowed less hits than innings pitched, did retire 11 of the last 12 hitters and (most of all) is the youngest pitcher in the majors.

The offense should have been able to scratch a run across after the fourth inning though. You just have to find a way to tie the game there. If this game was played six days later (after rosters expand to 40), speedy Brett Gardner (who has stole 105 bases in the minors with a 83% success rate) would have pinch-ran for Giambi in the ninth (not Duncan) and given Torre a better alternative to steal a base and stay out of the DP (which Cano grounded into).

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