Friday, March 5, 2010

Phil Hughes Vs. Joba Chamberlain: Round 1

It's about 20 minutes until midnight and I'm finally getting a chance to watch today's Yankees/Rays game. I'm not really interested in the game itself. I'm more interested to see how Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain do in their first outings of the spring. Hughes and Joba are the front-runners for the 5th spot in the Yankees rotation. They're not the only contenders (Mitre, Aceves and Gaudin) but the popular opinion is that it's going to come down to one of the two.

I'm on Team Hughes myself. Phil is the better pitcher in my opinion. I think he's got a better repertoire of pitches. I think he's stronger mentally. And he's a pitcher, where Joba, in my opinion is more of a thrower. Joba is better suited for the bullpen, again, in my opinion. I think the Yankees will be better suited with Phil starting and I think when the dust settles it's going to be Phil at the back end of the rotation.

As I've written before, I don't put my stock into spring stats, especially those from the first game. Pitchers definitely don't pitch as they'd pitch in the regular season. Spring training for pitchers is more about working on pitchers and fine tuning one's mechanics. When it comes to pitchers in ST, I usually look at a few things, mainly focusing in their velocity and their control. The first outing is usually a little rough. I want to see guys build on each start and get a little better each time out. If they can do that, I consider it a successful spring.

For some reason my DVR started recording the game with 1 out and a full count in the top of the first. The first pitch I saw from Hughes is a 90 mph fastball that barely cleared the CF wall for a HR. The ball was by no means crushed. I think the wind definitely helped it travel. On a regular day it's a long fly out. I think Curtis Granderson should have made a play on it and probably would have if not for the wind. Outside of the HR, I think Phil looked pretty good. His fastball was hitting between 88-90, which isn't bad for a first start. He topped out at 91 on his final pitch of the 1st inning. He'll build on that. It looked like Phil was working on his changeup. They commented on the YES broadcast that the Yankees told Phil he needed to work on the pitch. His change looked alright. He threw 3 straight at one point. He opened that AB with back-to-back fastballs, both hitting 90 on the gun. He followed those 2 pitches with 3 straight change-ups, each hitting 82mph. He threw a few in the 2nd inning that were around 80. The 8-10 mph differential between the fastball and change-up will work. If anything, that differential should get a little bigger as Phil's arm strengthens and his fastball picks up a few mph. Expect to see a lot of changes from Phil this spring. Overall not a bad first outing for Phil. His final line: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, and 1 BB. 33 pitches, 18 for strikes. A few too many balls, but it's nothing to be concerned about.

Joba had a rough day. In a word, it was sloppy. His control was horrible. He was all over the place and missed most of his spots. He finished with 33 pitches, 14 for strikes. Yikes. Like Hughes, his fastball was consistently hitting between 88-90, topping out at 92. The difference is that Joba's pitches got hammered. He allowed 5 earned runs on 3 hits (back-to-back triples and a double) and 3 walks. To be fair to Joba, he was a few days removed from having some kind of flu/bug. He definitely wasn't at 100%. I'm not overly concerned by his poor debut. I will be concerned if his 2nd outing is equally as bad, or worse.

I stopped watching the replay after they pulled Joba with 1 out in the 4th. I'm very tired and my laptop is about to die. I definitely have to give Hughes round 1 on my unofficial scorecard. He definitely had the better outing of the two. But again, it's only their first start of the spring. This one doesn't carry as much weight as the next one, or the one after that, and so on. There's still time for Joba to recover and have a great spring. I think he'll improve, but I don't think he'll fare as well as Phil. I'm really interested to see how it all shakes out. Will it be a 2 horse race or will one of the 3 longshots finish the race as the upset winner. As long as it's not Sergio Mitre, I'll be happy.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,



幾次的傷害 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
J-Boogie said...

Please stop leaving your comments with hyperlinks to chat rooms and whatnot. They have no place here.

Jason from The Heartland said...

Not too worried about how Joba/Hughes ends up yet, J-Boogie. Joba was sick and threw like it. I would like to see Gaudin stay in The Bronx in some fashion, though.