Results tagged ‘ Bobby Jenks ’

Hughes helps Red Sox wake up

Concern continues to grow around Phil Hughes as well it should. The pitcher who won 10 of his first 11 decisions in 2010 is winless after two starts in 2011 and continues to perplex the Yankees for the curious falloff in the speed of his fastball.

Hughes lasted merely two innings Friday at Fenway Park in the Red Sox’ home opener and blew leads of 2-0 and 3-1. The Yankees were able to take him off the hook by coming back to tie the score off equally erratic John Lackey, but Hughes’ ineffectiveness remained the most negative aspect of the 9-6 loss.

Hughes faced 14 batters, nine of whom reached base, six of whom scored and none of whom struck out. His ERA is an unsightly 16.50. Perhaps the dip in velocity is the result of Hughes falling in love with the cut fastball. Two-thirds of his offerings Friday were cutters. A couple of Yankees pitchers in the past I can remember who lost muscle in their fastball through overuse of the cutter were Jim Abbott and Andy Pettitte.

As Pettitte proved when velocity falls off, a pitcher can remain a winner by mixing pitches and locating. Yankee manager Joe Girardi is convinced that location is Hughes’ main problem.

Right from the beginning, Hughes was in trouble. He hung a slider to the second hitter, Dustin Pedroia, who hit his first home run of the season. A Boston lineup that entered the game batting .181 was able to bat around in the order against Hughes in the second inning and put up a five-spot on six hits with two of the outs made on the bases.

Girardi had seen enough at that point and brought in Bartolo Colon, who provided 4 1/3 decent innings but was stuck with the loss because of an unearned run. A rare error by first baseman Mark Teixeira gave the Red Sox runners on first and third with one out in the fifth, and catcher Jarrod Saltalamaccchia doubled off the Green Monster to drive in the go-ahead run.

Boone Logan was right up there with Hughes as a disappointment. He came into the game in the seventh with one out and a runner on first base to face left-handed hitters David Ortiz and J.D. Drew. Ortiz doubled, and Drew followed with a two-run single. With Jose Feliciano, the free agent pickup, on the disabled list, Logan is the only lefty in the Yanks’ bullpen. His job is to get out left-handed hitters, which he has not done yet. Logan has faced five of them and given up three hits and two walks.

On the plus side for the Yankees, there was a lot of activity at the top of the lineup with Brett Gardner reaching base four times (triple, double, two walks, stolen base) and Derek Jeter driving in a run with his 2,932nd career hit. Alex Rodriguez tied Junior Griffey for 13th place on the all-time RBI list with his 1,836th on his 616th home run. Robinson Cano doubled twice and drove in two runs.

On the negative side for the Yankees, they managed only one hit combined in four innings off Red Sox relievers Alfredo Aceves, Bobby Jenks, Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon.

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