Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Game 20: Contents Under Pressure

I'm guessing this isn't how Phil Hughes was hoping his first start this year was going to set up. Filling in for a historically bad Chien Ming Wang, the former top prospect is taking the mound, looking to stop a four game losing streak that has got some pretty grounded observers to give some fairly bleak prognoses

Mr. Hughes has pitched 19 1/3 innings for Scranton this year over the course of three starts. He's allowed 4 ER (1.86 ERA), struck out 19 and only walked 3. Overall, in his three stints in AAA, he's struck out more than a batter per inning, only given up 2 HRs, but has an ERA of 4.06 (primarily due to some poor rehab starts last year). 

In 2007, Hughes started 13 games, put together 5 "quality starts" and tallied a 4.46 ERA, which was exactly league average (100 ERA+). Last year was obviously a gigantic dissapointment, in which his only two quality starts were over five months apart, both against Toronto. One was his first start of the season, on April 3rd, and the other was after both teams were officially eliminated from playoff contention on September 24th. Hughes threw 8.0 innings of two run ball in the Rogers Centre, but left with the game tied and still couldn't chalk one up in the win column for the year. 

He's doesn't turn 23 until June, but a lot of fans are running short on patience with the young gun. Phil could really use a competent performance to remind everyone how highly they once thought of him. The Yanks could certainly use a win to stem the tide of the losing streak and salvage the possibilty of taking this series from the Tigers. 

It feels like a pretty big game for both Hughes and the Yankess; as important as a game in April can feel. You can tell, because the media is already foaming at the mouth, ready to overract to it. If Hughes can prove he can be a viable replacement for Chien Ming Wang, it takes a lot of pressure off the Yanks. If he gets rocked, the tailspin continues, with no relief in sight. 

Hey Phil, no pressure... 

I'm in the zone like the Bulls at home,
with mad stains on my shirt from the beer and foam,
Cause the crew with all the brew buries squads like treasures,
With the Hennessey and Coke tryin to deal with life's pressures.

Contents under pressure (contents under pressure),
I hope for the best and expect the worst,
get stress off my chest everytime I bust a verse.

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