I've been a big Phil Hughes fan, praising his maturity despite his postseason struggles, and I still had a lot of confidence in him going into the World Series. But last night's game showed me my faith in Hughes may be misplaced. Not only did he walk the first two batters of the 8th inning, both of whom scored, but he left the game barking at home plate umpire Gerry Davis. Yes, he was probably being squeezed a little bit, but to yell at the ump on the way off the mound is immature. And I doubt it's something that Davis will forget.
The Yankees were going to lose that game anyway with the way Cliff Lee was pitching, but the bullpen can't put the game out of reach by imploding. And that started with Hughes. Joe Girardi showed a lot of faith in him, bringing Hughes in the game with the score still close and Hughes let him down big time. That may be the last time we see Phil Hughes in a tight spot.
Mariano Rivera has long been my favorite Yankee, but after last night's game, I have a renewed appreciation for what he's been able to do over the past 15 years. Seeing reliever after reliever collapse under the weight of the spotlight reminds you just how amazing Mo is. He tried talking to both Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, but he can't give them confidence, which they both seem to be lacking right now.
Thanks to Giants27 via Wikipedia for the photo.