Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pettitte or Hughes for All-Star game start?

Joe Girardi is going to have a tough decision to make if veteran Andy Pettitte and youngster Phil Hughes keep matching each other start for start with brilliant performances. Although both are likely to make the All-Star team, only one guy can start the game for the American League. Who will Girardi choose? It's like Sophie's choice for pitchers. Ok, maybe not that dramatic, but it's still a tough call.

Pettitte is a two-time All-Star and the godfather of the New York Yankees pitching staff. The veteran lefty has a 7-1 record, a 2.48 ERA, with 41 strikeouts vs 18 walks and a 1.15 WHIP. But despite his fantastic year, Pettitte constantly reminds us that he is closing in on the end of his career. An All-Star game start would be a wonderful way for Girardi to express the gratitude of the organization and the pinstripe faithful.

The numbers put up by Hughes this year are remarkably similar. His win-loss record is also 7-1, with a 2.54 ERA, 64 strikeouts vs 20 walks and a 1.05 WHIP. His poise and coolness on the mound are striking for a 23-year-old pitcher. He learned a lot under the tutelage of Mariano Rivera (the ultimate cool customer on the mound) in the bullpen last year and has carried that into his starting career. But a start in the All-Star game in Los Angeles in front of a partisan crowd (he's from nearby Mission Viejo) would send his confidence soaring to new heights.

Girardi is a long-term thinker, especially when it comes to his pitchers, and there is no question that Hughes is the future of the Yankees organization. That might give the kid the edge. Plus, Pettitte being the kind of guy that he is, probably would have no objection to the youngster having the spotlight. That could make it an easier call for his manager.

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