Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 8/27/13
The New York Yankees have a lot standing between them and the playoffs. They trail three teams in their division and four teams in the Wild Card race, and as if that isn’t enough, Phil Hughes stands in their way as well. Phil Hughes has been a disaster for the Yankees in 2013. Hughes lost again Monday night, for the fourth time in five starts, dragging the Yankees 4.5 games behind the Oakland A’s for the second Wild Card spot. Despite taking the hill on the road, where he has found some whiff of success this season, Hughes turned in a typically pedestrian performance, lasting just 4 2/3 innings and surrendering five runs. By the time he left the game the Yankees were trailing 5-2, and any momentum they may have gained from an Alex Rodriguez homerun an inning earlier had quickly evaporated. Indeed, as Hughes walked off the mound without pitching through the 5th inning for the tenth time this season, he took the Yankees’ chances of winning with him. It’s something he has done all year long. With the loss Monday night, Hughes fell to 4-13 on the season, good for a ghastly .236 winning percentage. Because he is one of the few Yankees who has remained healthy since April, he has pitched every fifth day for five months straight, totaling 25 starts on the year. 25 starts. 4 wins. The Major League average for pitchers with 25 stars is nine wins. And, man, wouldn’t five extra wins go a long way for the Yankees now. As it is, they have salvaged nine wins out of his 25 starts, but only by heroic efforts. In the games they have won that Hughes has started, they have scored an average of 5.5 runs. And in the games that Hughes has won outright, they have scored an average of 7.  Can’t you just hear Joe Girardi? Okay boys, Phil’s pitching today, so let’s go out there and score 18 runs to ensure a W.  It’s an impossible way to hit. An at-bat in the first inning feels like an at-bat in the ninth inning, the offense trying frantically to score runs the way a panicked coastline homeowner might batten down the hatches as a hurricane approaches. It’s no longer a matter of if Phil Hughes implodes, but when. The Yankees, the long-shots for October that they are, cannot survive these acts of sabotage much longer. Everyone on that team needs to be doing something, anything, to help them win games and Hughes is doing just the opposite. He’s not simply neglecting to pull his weight, á la Joba Chamberlain, but dragging his feet too, and asking his teammates to pick him up. Sometimes, they do. But as it is now, the team has too much to overcome to worry about one of their own. As far as they’re concerned, he’s supposed to be on their side. If he can’t do his part in pinstripes, if he can’t swim to shore himself without clinging on to everyone else, then he should be left behind. Right? Well according to Girardi, no. After the latest debacle Monday night, the manager maintained that “right now, he’s in our rotation. We haven’t talked about taking him out.” If Joe wishes to let Hughes bring the team down with him, that’s his prerogative. And with Michael Pineda and David Phelps both recently suffering setbacks in their rehab, there certainly isn’t a bevy of alternative options. But something has to be done to lessen this drag on the club’s race to October, and it can’t involve more side sessions with pitching coach Larry Rothschild. It has to involve change. Look no further than the pitcher who replaced Hughes tonight. David Huff was promoted to the Yankees on August 15 and has since pitched in three games, registering 8 2/3 innings with just two hits against. He has not allowed a run. Hughes, by comparison, has allowed six runs and ten hits in his past 8 2/3 innings. Though Huff was brought up to serve as a middle relief pitcher, he has the arm – and the history – to be a starter. He started 12 games for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season, posting a 3.84 ERA and an impressive 4.9 strikeout-to-walk ratio. And the success he’s had in the Majors has come against the Red Sox and the Blue Jays, two of the highest scoring teams in baseball. Hughes’ next scheduled start is Sunday against the Baltimore Orioles, a game that, even five days in advance, the Yankees must have. In his two starts against the O’s this year, Hughes has a 7.00 ERA, thanks in large part to five (!) homeruns against in just nine innings pitched. As one might expect, the Yankees won neither of those starts. It’s hard to know where the Yankees will be come Sunday, but one thing is clear: they will need a win even more desperately than they did the day before. As will be the case ten games down the road, and then 15, and then 20. With only a little baseball left to play and a lot of ground to make up, each game is more important than the last. So why keep trotting out Phil Hughes, if all he does is reign the team in just as they’re ready to race off? Why not take a chance on Huff, or Adam Warren again, or anybody with a contract and an arm? If you gave “anybody with a contract and an arm” 25 starts, odds are he’d have four wins by now too. Maybe even five. At the very least, removing Hughes from the rotation removes one of the many obstacles in the Yankees’ path to the postseason. Because at this point with Hughes, we can Phil in the blank every time: Loss.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Brady case judge once vacated CBA violation ruling

Why no. 4 Baylor will and won't win the National Championship

Is D'Angelo Russell in over his head?

Percy Harvin voices support for Tyrod Taylor

Richardson pleads not guilty to traffic, resisting arrest charges

Andrew Luck tried not to watch Super Bowl, was still ‘salty’

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

RG3 blames intern for liking Instagram post trashing owner

Former USC linebacker suing school over insurance policy

Report: Fred Jackson expected to sign with Seahawks

Adrian Peterson accused of fathering another child out of wedlock

Robert Griffin III liked fan’s Instagram post trashing Redskins

Report: Tom Brady may have been ‘open’ to one-game suspension

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The Opening Drive: Jamal Anderson warns UM fans before heading to Salt Lake City

Best and worst MLB players in August

RG3 blames intern for liking Instagram post trashing owner

Four most surprising roster cuts from NFL teams

Raiders cut Trent Richardson

Caroline Wozniacki smoking cover of ‘Rhapsody’

Everett Golson named FSU's starting QB

Urban Meyer won't announce QB before season

Teammates relieved RG3 was benched?

Five NFL teams that should trade for Robert Griffin III

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker