Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hughes shows fire, humor in beating Mets

For Phil Hughes, the only remaining question about what he will be doing on July 13 is whether he gets to start the Baseball All-Star game in Anaheim in front of a welcoming crowd of friends and relatives from his hometown or pitch in relief. Either way, he's a lock to make the team after tying David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays for the American League lead in wins with 10 this year.

What was most impressive about yesterday's win for Hughes is that he has learned to pitch on guts and guile and to make adjustments mid-game when he doesn't have his best stuff, as was the case against the Mets. When he realized he didn't have his good fastball, he switched to his curve and settled in, giving up three runs in the early innings, but putting up zeros to end a solid, 7-inning start.

"He was outstanding in the bullpen last year and he's just carried that into the rotation," his manager Joe Girardi said. "We've seen him grow up a lot."

What I liked seeing yesterday was the fire and emotion from Hughes after he induced a ground-ball double play to get out of the 7th inning. It wasn't the exaggerated outburst that we see from Joba Chamberlain, but an enthusiastic yell and fist pump. But it was a great sign that Hughes has gained so much confidence that he still knows he can win even if he has trouble early in a game.

Afterwards, the young righty's sense of humor was on full display. When Kim Jones of the YES Network asked if he made any adjustments to Jose Reyes after giving up two homers to the Mets shortstop, Hughes said yes. "I didn't give him a fastball right down the middle," he said.

The fire and humor are great signs that Hughes is fully in control. It's an amazing show of maturity for a pitcher who will celebrate his 24th birthday this week. The New York Yankees are quite lucky that their future is here already. But for Hughes, the only thing he needs to worry about is what to pack for his trip home to play with baseball’s best.

No comments:

Post a Comment