Hughes was laboring to throw strikes and then throw quality strikes and went deep with a lot of counts. It looked like he wouldn’t get out of the 6th, but Toronto started swinging at the first pitch and Hughes did a good job battling and getting our of an early jam and getting through the 7th inning. He threw too many balls and missed on a lot of pitches, but they didn’t hit a lot of them. On the positive side he was around the plate and mixed in his changeup which is something he will need to do. He also threw 2 sliders (at least I think they were sliders as they came in around 74 and his curve is usually high 60’s), it was hard to tell as both pitches hung inside and didn’t get outside like he wanted them. I believe he should also throw either his cutter or a slider to make something go more away to righties rather than more up and down on his curve (I know it goes some right to left but it is also about another speed as his curve is so slow that sometimes the batter can be fooled but can recoil and still hit it).
Overall, though a positive game for Phil and while he seems to struggle, he has been pretty solid over a decent stretch.
Girardi took Hughes out after 7 as he should have (sometimes he sends the starter out for another batter when they should shut them down – look at Nova the other night).
In the 8th inning there was a very cool play when Toronto ripped one in between first and 2nd that Tex dove for and it went off his glove toward Cano who quickly picked up the short hop and fired to Robertson who still went and covered to get the batter. It was a good play by all 3 of them to get the out.
Key moment(s) of the game:
8th inning score tied 2-2
After Curtis Granderson grounded out, ARod singled and after Cano got on an infield hit where the fielder made a good play just to keep it in the infield the Yanks had 1st and 3rd and 1 out. Tex was up with a 2-0 count on him…big pitch and they (Frasor) threw a fastball way inside that tex checked his swing but fouled it off. It was a big mistake, but he still had the 2-1 count in his favor (but 3-0 would have been real big). The next pitch tex swung threw a high strike fastball for a 2-2 count. The next pitch hit him to load the bases. Up stepped Swisher with the bases loaded for the 2nd time this game. The first time, Swisher saw 4 pitches and never took his bat off his shoulder (the pitcher made good pitches but you need to swing at one strike). This time Swish was ready for the first pitch and it was grooved but he fouled it back. Frasor was having control issues and that was the pitch to crush. The next pitch was a strike as well and Swish was in the hole.5 pitches later the count was full and Frasor dropped a breaking ball in for a called 3rd strike. Again Swisher has to try and put the ball in play, but he failed. Up stepped Ibanez and he found himself in the favorable count of 3-1 and Frasor had to come in and he grooved one and Ibanez hit a Grand Slam to win the game.
Ibanez was really fading with an OPS of .515 for the month of June and he has hit into a lot of DP’s lately, but has rebounded in July and came through on the Grand Slam to win the game.
Guess who is leading the Yankees in SB’s? Of course, it is ARod with 10 and when he went home and got caught that was his first CS of the year.
Our leadoff guy probably should not bat leadoff against righties (as I have been saying for a few years) as Jeter has an OPS of .621 against righties this year, after a .667 last year and a .633 in 2010. This is a pretty consistent trend showing he simply isn’t good against righties anymore. BTW, he has been excellent against lefties with an OPS in the rough ball park of .940 or so. So my belief is that someone else should lead off against righties and I used to say Gardner and I would swap him and Jeter between 1 and 9, but I know that is heresy. Seriously, though, if Gardner is out (and unfortunately it appears he will be out for longer and shutting him down is a possibility) I would leadoff Swisher or even better get Granderson up 1st and then have the switch hitting Swisher bat 2nd followed by Cano, Tex, ARod, Ibanez, Jeter, Chavez and Martin. The only thing bad about the lineup is Granderson may not hit HR’s with guys on base, but it really isn’t much different than the way it is now if you think about it. Chavez could also bat 2nd if you like as he has been swinging pretty well of late.