Thursday, July 7, 2011

Phil Hughes his own worst critic

Phil Hughes was his own worst critic last night.

After a shaky performance, observers such as David Cone found positives in Hughes’ outing, including his ability to mix in all his pitches and being able to get out of jams in his later innings by making big pitches. But Hughes was having none of it. He said he wasn’t sharp, had a rough first inning and was fortunate to get out of trouble with decent pitches. Not good, but decent.

“But overall it wasn’t good,” he said. “It was nice to be back out there again and hopefully the next one is better.”

The look on the youngster’s face during his post-game interview was very telling. Hughes was obviously frustrated by his outing and by not be able to come back stronger after missing nearly three months of the season. In his pre-game interview, Hughes was genuinely sorry that Ivan Nova, who had been pitching very well of late, was demoted to the minors to make room for him in the New York Yankees rotation. That may be a big reason why Hughes feels that he has to prove himself and was disappointed not to have a better start last night.

Personally, I think Hughes is being too hard on himself, but such is the life of a professional athlete. No one expects more from them then they do from themselves. I have no problem with Hughes having high expectations for his performance, but I worry that he may be putting way too much pressure on himself and that could lead him to try to do too much and inadvertently injure his arm even more. Perhaps the All-Star break is coming at the perfect time for Hughes to take his mind off of baseball, let go of his frustration and get into the more positive mindset he will need to return strong in the second half of the season.

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