All in all, more good than bad from Phil Hughes last night.
The kid definitely has major league stuff and poise, and he should be here to stay. He dominated the Jays' weaker hitters, particularly Adam Lind, but Toronto's three tough righties (Wells, Thomas and Rios) were all over Hughes with great swings and rocket line drives.
Hughes didn't throw as hard as I expected, living in the 91 MPH range and occasionally touching 94-95, which is where I thought he would throw consistently. I have two concerns after his first start: he gave up a lot of fly balls, especially to righties, and he doesn't seem to have that one dominant out pitch that screams "ace," a la a Johan Santana change-up or Felix Hernandez curveball.
That being said, I was impressed that Hughes kept attacking hitters, a refreshing change of pace after watching Igawa and most of the bullpen nibble at corners all year. Home plate umpire Ed Montague squeezed the kid a little, particularly against Vernon Wells, and the Blue Jays also took a smart, patient approach at the plate, taking a lot of pitches. The result was Hughes falling behind a lot and running up a high pitch count. He seemed to tire early, around the 80-pitch mark.
I remain supremely excited for the Phil Hughes era. Given all the hype that some overanxious assholes were pushing on the kid and his debut, he handled himself quite well, and I don't think you can call his performance a letdown.
Listen, on Jesus Christ's first day on Earth, he pretty much just laid around, cried, messed his pants and spit up. So, in that light, Hughes was pretty fucking impressive.
And I know Joe Torre doesn't trust young pitchers, but I don't remember him blatantly sabotaging one before, which is exactly what he did last night by batting Dougie Baseball second. With this pitching staff, the offense needs all the help it can get, and Minky, Miguel Cairo (whose poor fielding also cost Hughes dearly), and the rotting corpse currently serving as backup catcher are dragging the Yankees down at-bat by at-bat.
Batting Minky second in this lineup deserves its own post, but frankly, I'm tired. Joe Torre should know better.
Now, Pettitte vs. Douche-K tonight in the opener of a series the Yankees absolutely must win.