Yesterday, both Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain took the mound for the Yankees for the first time in 2010. Now, beware the actual stats and results from these outings mean almost nothing considering this was their first game of spring training. However, I know a lot of people like to see things like this discussed, so I decided I’d analyze it a bit.
Phil Hughes – IP: 2, H: 1, ER: 1, BB: 1
Hughes started the game for the Yankees and gave up a home run to Sean Rodriguez in the first inning. But, like I said you can not look at stats and results in a game like this so forget about that home run. More importantly, Hughes threw about 5-10 changeups in this outing. One of them that sticks out in my mind was the one that got Ben Zorbrist to swing and miss in the first inning. Why are changeups important? Well, if Hughes is given the 5th spot in the rotation this year, an effective change up would make a world’s difference for him. He threw his changeup 0.6 % of the time last season, but he has been working on it intensely this spring. If he can establish a decent to good changeup he can keep hitters off his fastball, thus making the fastball even better.
Via Marc Carig (on the changeup)… “It’s just something that needs repetitions in games, and it’s a perfect time for that right now,” said Hughes, who believes reestablishing his changeup will be a key to succeeding as a starter.
Via Bryan Hoch (on the outing)… “It was all right,” Hughes said. “It was nice to finally get out there in real game situations. My fastball command was all over the place, but I felt like I threw some good changeups. They were swinging early and often, which was good. I got a read on some things.”
Joba Chamberlain – IP: 1.1, H: 3, ER: 5, BB: 3
Joba came into the game after Hughes’ two innings, and as you know didn’t have a very good outing. He was probably a little rusty (just like Hughes) and also he was coming off the flu. According to Carig, Joba had been in bed the past two days expect on Wednesday when he dragged himself out of bed to throw a bullpen session for an hour. Over this time Chamberlain lost 8 pounds so I think it is pretty obvious that he didn’t just have a little cold. Still, Joba was adamant about not missing yesterdays outing:
“You’d probably have to chop my legs off to be honest with you, I felt strong enough and I felt like I did enough in between.”
Here’s what Joe Girardi had to say:
“I’m not going to make too much of it. You wonder how much he had his legs under him after being fairly sick for a couple of days. We felt he was healthy enough to pitch, and you want him to pitch, because you want him to develop that arm strength. You really don’t know exactly how he physically felt.”
In the end yesterday’s game meant very little and until we start approaching the end of March we aren’t going to see who looks like the front runner for the 5th starter’s spot.