In a move that had to be made, Yankee manager Joe Girardi announced after last night’s win that a change was coming in the starting rotation. Without Michael Pineda and David Phelps walking through the door do to injury and with Phil Hughes struggling as much as he has, a change needed to be made. David Huff will be making the start on Saturday against the Red Sox and Hughes will now pitch out of the bullpen.
Just one year removed from winning 16 games, Hughes numbers have cratered to a 4-13 record with a 4.86 ERA. He’s given up a little over 10 hits per nine innings pitched and has a 1.409 WHIP this year. Hughes has pitched out of the bullpen before, becoming a quite good setup man for Mariano Rivera back in 2009. Hughes’ confidence has clearly been shaken, and you have to wonder if the move to the bullpen will help him get it back.
For Huff, he’s really earned this chance to start. He’s 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA as a Yankee. Huff has won two games, going over five innings in relief. Since coming back to the team in August, he’s given up only one run in 15 innings pitched. He has said that Larry Rothschild saw something in his delivery that was fixed, and he’s been a better pitcher for it ever since.
With every game being critical, the Yankees can’t afford to hope Hughes can figure it out. The time to act is now and it was the right move. Now we’ll see if Huff can translate his success out of the bullpen into the rotation.