From Brittany Ghiroli (MLB):
Hughes has allowed nine hits in 4 2/3 innings, posting a 5.79 ERA that pitching coach Dave Eiland says is largely the result of an old mechanical problem resurfacing.”[It's] just a minor adjustment and he knows it,” Eiland said prior to the team’s optional workout on Friday afternoon. “It’s just staying within yourself — just trust it and not trying to make that good stuff you have even better. Because you do that [and] you get a little jumpy, you get a little quick through your delivery and you affect your command. And that’s what is happening.”
Right now—during the postseason—is the worst time for Hughes to experience this mechanical problem. I’ve written about the issue before, as it has been an ongoing dilemma for Hughes, one that often opens him up, not only to ineffectiveness, but to injury. Essentially, he overthrows the fastball and ends up pushing it to the catcher, which causes his command of the pitch to waver. That was the case in Game 6, as Hughes tried to throw a high and inside fastball to Vladimir Guerrero yet it sat in the middle of the plate (he should have thrown the curveball away, but a high fastball isn’t necessarily an awful idea).
Hopefully, with Dave Eiland’s mechanical adjustments, Hughes will be prepared to take the ball tonight. When he’s right, there’s no doubt that he’s the best setup man in the league. He has yet to demonstrate that in the ALCS, however. Game 6 could be where he recaptures that mantle.
Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
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