It's Been a Bad Week for the Yankee Rotation

Phil Hughes joins the parade of disappointing starts

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    It looks like Dave Eiland picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.

    Phil Hughes added to the woes of the Yankee rotation on Tuesday night by giving up six runs and nine hits in five innings of the Yankees' 10-2 loss to the Angels. He wasn't sharp at all, most notably when he tried to come inside with a fastball to Macier Izturis in the fourth inning. It was a few clicks below his normal speed and Izturis clocked it for a tiebreaking home run that sent the Angels on the way to victory.

    The whole night was a waste. The Yankees jumped on Sean O'Sullivan for two runs in the first inning but couldn't muster another hit until he left the game after six innings. O'Sullivan is a rookie filling in for Scott Kazmir, someone you'd think the Yankees could actually find a way to hit. And the poor pitching extended to the bullpen as Chan Ho Park and Chad Gaudin continued to battle in the little-watched reality show "Who Wants to be the Next Yankee Designated For Assignment?" Park gave up a homer to old friend Hideki Matsui to take the lead in that race to the bottom.

    Even with all of that going on, it wasn't surprising to find that Hughes's performance was the one that really drew attention.

    Coming on the heels of A.J. Burnett's wall-punching and Andy Pettitte's strained groin, Hughes's outing has ignited a predictable reaction. All the extra rest has ruined him -- this theory requires you to ignore his strong start before the All-Star break -- and it only makes adding another starting pitcher more of a requirement for the Yankees. If they don't, you see, everything that's been accomplished so far will be for naught because it will crumble into obsolesence.

    Maybe that's true but there was actually something positive to take away from Hughes's start on Tuesday night. He threw 12 changeups and 15 curveballs, accounting for 28 percent of his total pitches and a huge jump from the amount of breaking balls we usually see from Hughes. They weren't all thrown for strikes and he didn't have particularly good command but a less predictable approach to attacking hitters is only going to help him in the long run.

    That's a little big picture for some Yankee watchers but it's nice to have one good thing to say about a night where little goes right.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.