Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Game 76 Recap

[WE data via FanGraphs]

Usually, if a starting pitcher gives up seven runs in a game, there is one inning that they could point to that really did them in, but that wasn't the case last night for Phil Hughes. He got through the first unscathed but allowed a run in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings.

It didn't seem like he was getting hit all that hard, but it was one of those nights when the Mariners' hitters seemed to find holes in the Yankee defense. So when the Mariners scored three runs with two outs in the sixth, the game was pretty much out of reach. Sure, the M's plated seven runs against Hughes and put 12 runners on base in 5 2/3 innings, but I thought he pitched okay. There will of course be the inevitable mainstream media consternation about the extra rest he was given, but he wasn't wild or laying too many balls over the middle of the plate. He just caught some bad breaks, had a couple of errors made behind him and was up against Cliff Lee, who didn't have any of those problems.

Lee went the full nine and aside from the two solo home runs that he gave up to Nick Swisher and the ultimately futile rally the Yanks made in the ninth, was as good as you expected him to be last night. He only struck out two batters but when he allowed balls in play, they tended to be weakly hit or in the general vicinity of a defender.

Losing the series opener against a team that's a baker's dozen under .500 isn't optimal, but this wasn't a terrible defeat. Both teams took an excellent pitcher to the mound and the Baseball Gods decided whose night it would be. The Yanks have another uphill battle tonight as Javy Vazquez matches up against Felix Hernandez.

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