22 Jun 2010
I’m not saying the Yankees should have avoided skipping Phil Hughes’ next start, but the manner in which they did so is odd to me. Hughes is being moved from Friday to Tuesday so that he will only make three more starts before the All-Star Game and not four. But, the Yankees could have accomplished the exact same result by simply flipping Sabathia with Hughes and letting Hughes pitch on Saturday. Then Hughes would have started June 26th, July 2nd and July 7th. Now he will pitch June 29th, July 4th and July 9th. That would have also given everyone in the rotation an extra day of rest except for CC. Instead AJ and Pettitte will go on regular rest, but Vazquez will have a week off between starts (tomorrow and next Wednesday)
The Yankees are also going to have to figure out some other ways to get Hughes rest if his innings limit of 175 is to be believed. Through 13 starts, Hughes has averaged 6-1/3 innings per start. Add in three more starts and he should be just north of 100 innings pitched at that rate. The Yankees will have 78 games after the All-Star Break, so each starter would get 15 starts each. The Yankees are probably going to need to keep Hughes to no more than 12 starts after the All-Star Break if they want to keep him under 175 innings.
The problem of course is the Yankees don’t have any breathing room. Tampa and Boston are right there and probably will be the rest of the season. Unless they can jump out to a comfortable lead in the division, how do they "bench" a guy with a 3.17 ERA and 10 wins? (Crazy side note, here is where Cliff Lee would make perfect sense for the Yankees, but I wouldn’t give up the prospects for him when you can simply write a big check after the season ends) The Yankees have offdays and ways to juggle Hughes’ work load in the second half, they just have to be careful that they don’t juggle away their playoff hopes at the same time.