Saturday, October 9, 2010

Time for Hughes to put Twins out of misery

The New York Yankees will send Phil Hughes to the mound tonight to finish off the Minnesota Twins. I'm hoping he does it by midnight because I have a very early flight to catch tomorrow.

Joe Girardi feels more comfortable giving the ball in Game 3 of the American League Division Series to a 24-year-old kid than to some veterans that were supposed to be in the rotation ahead of him because Hughes stepped up this year to give his manager exactly what he needed: a reliable second starter after ace CC Sabathia. He needs to step up for his manager and his team again tonight.

Hughes hasn't pitched in 10 days, except for that one inning that earned him his 18th win and the good-natured mockery of his teammates. But he looked strong against a tough Boston Red Sox team, the way he's looked good in his last few starts, so I expect him to shake off any rust fairly quickly and pitch well.

I also expect to see a composed, relaxed Hughes on the mound. One of the few negative memories from last year's baseball playoffs was seeing the agitated youngster walk off the mound with angry words for the umpire. Given his maturity over the last year, we won't see a repeat of that tirade.

So what will we see? I think the New York Yankees will get a very strong performance out of their kid. Even if he gives up a few runs, it probably won't make a difference because the Yankees offense is usually inspired to score multiple runs for him. Expect Hughes and the Yankees to quickly put the Twins out of their misery.

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