Phil Hughes gives up homeruns. He is a right handed fly ball pitcher with Yankee Stadium as his home park. As frustrating as that may be at times, it is simply a part of his game. So, on a night when both players and fans were reeling from the news of Derek Jeter's new injury, Hughes took his game to the Stadium mound trying to lead the New York Yankees to a three game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
In the process, he gave up two more homeruns. One to Diamondbacks prized prospect Didi Gregorius, the first career HR for the young shortstop, and one to Martin Prado, who spent the series robbing hits with his strong defensive play.
Two more blasts off of Hughes. Except here's the thing: They were both solo shots and they were the only blemishes on his record. In the end, Hughes gave a sterling pitching performance, hurling seven innings, walking none and giving up only those two runs. If anyone had suggested that line for Hughes before the game, 99% of fans would have signed up for it on the spot.
Hughes wasn't the problem on Thursday night. In fact, if he continues to give the Yankees quality starts like this, the team will gladly live with his fly ball tendencies for at least one more year, possibly longer if the pending free agent can show some consistency.
The problem on Thursday was the Yankees offense. Aside from a home run by Robinson Cano in the sixth inning and a game tying ninth inning home run by Fransisco Cervelli, who continues to justify the call to name him the everyday catcher, the offense struggled to get anything going.
The team mustered only two hits through seven innings. Ichiro Suzuki continues his horrific start to the 2013 season by going one for five, including lining out to first base for an unassisted double play, and Cano and Kevin Youkilis struck out back to back in the eighth inning to leave the bases loaded.
They never seemed to threaten after that and David Phelps, in his second inning of work, gave up four runs in the 12th inning allowing the Diamondbacks to salvage a game.
Thursday was not a great day in the Universe. From the announcement of the extended loss of Captain Derek Jeter, who will be out until at least the all-star break after re-injuring his ankle, to a sputtering & sporadic offense and inefficient / ineffective relief pitching, there were things to grumble about in the Yankee Universe yesterday.
Two more homeruns surrendered not-withstanding, Phil Hughes, was not one of them.