Tough Loss For Hughes

August 10, 2010 – 10:59 am

Boston 2, NYY 1. Phil Hughes pitched a very good game, going six innings and giving up just two runs on six hits, a proverbial “quality start”. Only problem is that Jon Lester pitched better, shutting out the Yankees over 6.1 innings. And when the Yankees mounted their only serious threat of the game in the seventh by loading the bases with no outs, Lester struck out Curtis Granderson, then Daniel Bard came in and struck out the hot-hitting combo of Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher. As the old saying goes, not much you can do except tip your hat to the Red Sox hurlers and move on.

So even after losing back-to-back series against Tampa Bay and Toronto, and splitting with a Boston team that has half their starters on the DL, the Yankees are still in first place and still own the best record in the majors. So it’s hard to complain. I heard one of the talking heads on ESPN the other day saying that this Yankee team isn’t as good as last year’s team, but I wonder if maybe that’s a false perception. Interestingly, their record is exactly the same as it was at this point last year, 69-42. Only difference is that last year they had a 6.5 game lead, compared to just 1.5 this year. And I think that’s why you might have the perception that this year’s team doesn’t match up to last year’s — the competition this year is much, much better. The East is just one bear of a division. Toronto is in fourth place, pretty much out of the race — but if they were in the Central they would only be 3.5 out, and if they were in the West they would be in second place 5.0 out. Heck, even the last-place Orioles are 3-1 against the Central-leading White Sox and 4-2 against the West-leading Rangers. That pretty much sums up just how tough the East is. You take everything in to consideration, and a 69-42 record and first place looks pretty damn good!

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