Monday, June 4, 2012

Phil Hughes: Most Incredible NYC Pitching Performance of the Week

So on a Saturday that ended with the Devils having played 139 minutes in the Stanley Cup Finals and scoring only 2 goals... the Yankees didn't generate enough offense, either.

The Yankees scored 3 runs over the last 4 innings in Detroit against the Tigers. Clutch? Sure. But it would have meant so much more if they'd scored at least 1 more run in the first 5.

Hiroki Kuroda pitched very welling, allowing 2 runs (1 earned) on 2 hits and 4 walks over 7 innings. But he left trailing, 2-1.

Cory Wade allowed a run in the 8th, and in the 9th, with the game tied 3-3, Joe Girardi brought in David Phelps. Phelps got Delmon Young to fly to right for the first out; so far, so good.

But he let up back-to-back singles by Brennan Boesch and Jhonny "Hit Like I Can and You Can Spell Your Name Any Way You Want" Peralta.

Naturally, with a left-handed hitter coming up, Girardi brought Boone "Oh Shit, Not HIM!" Logan in to pitch.

Except the next 2 batters were NOT lefties. They were the switch-hitting Ramon Santiago and the right-handed Omir Santos.

And with runners on 1st and 2nd, and 1 out, Girardi had Logan intentionally walk Santiago! To load the bases! With less than 1 out! What the hell?

Santos flew to right, and Boesch came home with the winning run.

Tigers 4, Yankees 3. WP: Jose Valverde (3-1). LP: Phelps (1-2), but it was really Girardi who futzed this up.

If the Yankees miss out on the last Playoff spot by one game, this game will stand out.

*

But, if you can win 2 out of 3 in a road series, especially against a good team like the Tigers, that's pretty good.

Of course, if you COULD have swept it, then the 1 loss is going to stick out like a sore thumb.

Joe Girardi has a sore thumb. He's day-to-day.

Joke. He doesn't really have a sore thumb. But if he keeps trying shit like this, I'm going to have a sore middle finger.

Sore from overuse.

*

Anyway... Yesterday, Phil Hughes came up with the most incredible pitching performance that any New York-based pitcher came up with in the week.

True, Johan Santana pitched a complete game on Friday night... but Santana doesn't have Joe Girardi for a manager. This time, Girardi let Hughes go the distance.

And a good distance it was. Hughes limited the hard-hitting Tiger lineup to 1 run on 4 hits and 3 walks. He's now 5-5 after his atrocious start, and has justified the Yankees' desire to keep him.

To make it even more amazing (or should I say, "Amazin'"?), Hughes outpitched Justin Verlander.

To be fair, Verlander was partly undone by his own fielding. But a double by Curtis Granderson, a triple by Robinson Cano, and home runs by Derek Jeter (his 6th of the season) and Alex Rodriguez (his 9th) got the runs the Yankees needed yesterday -- with two to spare for the day before. (I know, I know, it doesn't work that way.)

Yankees 5, Tigers 1.

Verlander is now 5-4. Last season, he was 24-5.

*

The Yankees come home to play the Tampa Bay Rays, after a day off tonight. (Good thing, as it's pouring rain as I write this.) The Rays lead the American League Eastern Divison. The Baltimore Orioles are 1 back. The Yankees are a game and a half back, 1 in the loss column. The Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays are 3 back.

All 5 teams are at least 2 games over .500. All 5 teams are within 3 games.

The Yanks and Rays each have an elimination number of 108. The O's, 107. The Sox and Jays, 105.

*

Derek Jeter now has 3,163 career hits. Alex Rodriguez has 2,831, including 638 home runs. He needs 169 hits for 3,000, 62 homers for 700, and 129 homers to break the all-time record.

*

Hours until the Devils play again: 10, in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals in Los Angeles. If they don't score at least 3 goals tonight, the Kings could sweep them. The Kings, having won 2 games in these Finals, are already closer to winning the Stanley Cup than they have ever been in their 45-year history.

Days until the Red Bulls play again: 1, tomorrow night, at the Harrisburg City Islanders in Pennsylvania, in the 4th Round of the U.S. Open Cup, our equivalent to England's FA Cup. Shouldn't be too much trouble, as they're a 3rd division team.

Days until the U.S. National Soccer Team plays again: 4, this Friday night, against Antigua & Barbuda in Tampa. Probably a win, but can we be sure? After beating Scotland 5-1 in Jacksonville, they looked awful in a 4-1 loss to Brazil in Washington, and last night had an awful 0-0 draw with Canada in Toronto that really should have been a 2-0 loss. Jurgen Klinsmann cannot pick a lineup! Sack him, Sunil Gulati!

Days until the Red Bulls next play a "derby": 20, against D.C. United at home on Sunday night, June 24. They next play the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, on Sunday night, July 8. They next play the Philadelphia Union on Saturday afternoon, July 21, at Red Bull Arena.

Days until the next Yankees-Red Sox series begins: 32, on Friday, July 6, at Fenway Park in Boston. Just over a month.

Days until the 2012 Olympics begin in London: 53 (July 27). Under 8 weeks.

Days until Arsenal play again: Unknown, as the Premier League announces its schedule -- sorry, forgot to speak English, its fixture list -- for the upcoming season on Monday, June 18, and the new season always starts on the 2nd Saturday in August -- meaning that the next Arsenal match will probably be August 11, which is 68 days from now. It could be the next day, Sunday, August 12.

Days until the next North London Derby: Unknown. As I said, the fixture list hasn't been released yet. But it almost certainly won't be in the opening game. "Derbies" rarely lead off a season.

Days until Rutgers plays football again: 89, on Saturday September 1, at the Superdome in New Orleans against Tulane University. Not exactly a rivalry game, although Tulane was founded by a Princeton man. And thus, in a little under 3 months, will begin the Kyle Flood Era. Good luck...

Days until East Brunswick High School plays football again: 95, on Friday, September 7, home to South Brunswick. A little over 3 months. I'm glad it's a home game: It's always good to open the season at home, and South Brunswick is particularly tough to get to: Despite the distance, it's not close to public transportation. But that's the only thing I have against them: Though they are neighbors, they are not rivals.

Days until the Devils play another local rival: Unknown, as the 2012-13 NHL schedule has yet to be released. Opening Night will most likely be the first Friday in October, which would be the 5th, so it can't be any sooner than 123 days from now.

Days until the first Nets game in Brooklyn: Unknown, as the 2012-13 NBA schedule has not yet been released. The season usually starts in late October, so we're talking about 144 days or so. A little under 5 months.

Days until the 2012 President election: 152, on Tuesday, November 6. Just over 5 months. Register to vote... and on November 6, vote!

Days until the next East Brunswick-Old Bridge Thanksgiving clash: 171. Under 6 months.

Days until Alex Rodriguez collects his 3,000th career hit: 422 (estimated around August 1, 2013).

Days until Super Bowl XLVIII at the Meadowlands: 608 (February 2, 2014).

Days until Alex Rodriguez hits his 700th career home run: 700, appropriately enough (estimated).

Days until Alex Rodriguez hits his 756th career home run to surpass all-time leader Hank Aaron: 1,535 (estimated).

Days until Alex Rodriguez hits his 763rd career home run to become as close to a "real" all-time leader as we are likely to have: 1,580 (estimated -- estimating 28 home runs a year, and he might get it by the close of the 2016 season, maybe around October 1, at age 41).

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