Phil Hughes is a mirror image of the Yankee offense these days. The Yanks seem to score most of their runs via the long ball, and Hughes seems to only allow runs if they leave the park. Sir Phillip of Hughes (6-5 4.76 ERA) was stellar last night, pitching 6 1/3 innings of 2 run ball, both of which came off solo shots by Omar Quintanilla and David Wright. He may not have any answers for why he’s been pitching so well of late, but the results speak for themselves. He’s allowed 2 runs or less in 5 of his past 6 starts, the one blemish being the lost outing he had in Anaheim.
The Yankee bullpen continued their fine work of late as well, with Boone Logan, Cory Wade, and Clay Rapada patching up the 7th and 8th and Rafael Soriano closing things out. The Yankee bullpen ranks 2nd in the AL in ERA despite the losses of Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera, which is pretty incredible. Its a testament to the depth they had out there going into the season and the skillful way the manager uses them, paying attention to skill sets, days of rest and match ups with his much-maligned binder. Its axiomatic in baseball that relievers are up and down from outing to outing and year to year, yet modern managers like Girardi (and Joe Maddon) extract remarkable consistency from their relief corps on an annual basis. Think back on what Girardi got out of his 08 staff, much of which (Edwar, Bruney) are out of MLB baseball at young ages.
From the offensive side, the Yanks opened up in the first inning with a much needed RISP hit by Alex Rodriguez. But the rest of the game they went back to proving that their hitters are in scoring position whenever they step in the batter’s box, with Curtis Granderson hitting his 18th off Parnell in the 8th and Tex’s shot off Gee that gave the Yanks the lead in the 6th. Overall they were 2-5 with RISP and only left 4 men on base, which is pretty darn efficient. The Yanks have won 12 of their past 16 games and are in a first place tie with the Rays, but their recent success is mostly about the starting pitching. Yankee starters are 6-1 with a 1.84 ERA in their past 8 outings.
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