When Phil Hughes struggled in the month of April, it looked like the Yankees right-hander would be the odd man out upon the return of Andy Pettitte. Hughes is still a part of the starting rotation and it appears he is coming along at the right time for himself and the Yankees. Hughes has managed to string together a handful of solid starts in May and is showing signs that he could be regaining the form which won him 18 games in 2010.
The missing piece for Hughes throughout his career has been consistency. He’s shown flashes of dominance as a young pitcher, however injuries and inconsistency have slowed him down. He was relying too much on his fastball in his starts and the results constantly led to home runs for the opposition.
That pattern seemed to carry over into this season when the home runs hit off of Hughes began to pile up. The month of May has been nearly the opposite though, as he continues to work on pitching deeper into ball games and has seemed to become more selective with what he’s throwing. Hughes is still having trouble giving up the long ball, however it’s clear that he’s pitching with more confidence.
In his last four starts, Hughes is 3-1 with a 2.81 ERA. The Yankees have needed the boost Hughes is giving to their pitching staff due to the struggles their offense has recently endured. Hughes has to know that this could very well be his last chance to stick with the Yankees as a starter.
Despite the injury setbacks, Hughes is still young and has shown that he can handle a key role in the bullpen if needed, however that isn’t what he or the Yankees ultimately want. They have an aging pitching staff and would love to see Hughes take a firm hold of the spot he has now.
At the least, Hughes definitely has the stuff to be a very good number two starting pitcher. The best case scenario is that he continues to mature and develop into quite possibly the ace pitcher that the Yankees have been waiting on.