Too Much Cliff Lee

June 29, 2010 – 10:05 pm

Seattle 7, NYY 4. The way the Yankees have been beating up on name brand pitchers of late, you would have thought this would be a fairly easy W, what with Cliff Lee starting for Seattle and Phil Hughes for the Yankees. But alas, it wasn’t to be, as Lee shut down the Yankees pretty much the same way he did twice in last Fall’s World Series. You got to love the way Lee pitches — throw strikes, get ahead in the count, walk no one, and make them beat you. If the Yanks are going to lose, at least this is the way to do it, as it’s fun to watch a guy pitch like that. Lee struggled a bit early on with his control — he went to a full count on three consecutive batters in the first two innings, and ended up actually walking Jorge Posada. That was his first walk in his last five appearances and only his fifth walk of the entire season. Friggin’ amazing. But then after the Posada walk, over the next 29 batters he went to a 3-ball count only once, a 2-ball count only four times, 11 batters saw only one ball out of the strike zone, and the other 13 batters didn’t see a single ball. Nicely done.

Meanwhile, Phil Hughes had without a doubt his worst outing of the year, giving up 7 runs on 10 hits in just 5.2 innings. And it wasn’t like he just had one or two bad innings — the Mariners got at least one hit in every inning, and scored at least one run in every inning but the first. And it wasn’t like Seattle is a hitting machine — they are last in the AL in pretty much every offensive category. What was wrong with Hughes? He skipped his last start, so that could well be at least part of it. But then he really hasn’t looked all that sharp of late, and in fact has been regressing since the first month of the season. In April his ERA was 2.00, then in May it went to 3.03, in June prior to this start it was 4.21. So it’s going to be interesting to see where he goes from here, particularly when and if Girardi decides to skip his turn in the rotation again, which is sure to happen given how the Yankees are planning to limit his total innings.

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