In baseball, there are real-deals, wannabes, and has-beens. But some players fall into a different category, the what-could-have-beens. After nearly a year on the disabled list, Phil Hughes makes his return to a major league mound today. One can't help but wonder what his career would have been like had he not been plagued with injuries. When healthy, he's been very, very good, but his career feels like one long series of rude interruptions. 2014 was without a doubt his best year; he won 16 games with a 3.52 ERA and a thoroughly ridiculous 11.67 K/BB ratio while garnering seven Cy Young award votes. I'm too old and jaded to expect Hughes to return to his 2014 form, I don't think anyone does. But if he can stay healthy and throw 160 innings or so he can still be a significant rotation asset for this team. Tampa sends right-hander Yonny Chirinos to the hill, he's got an ERA of 2.70 and 15 strikeouts, but he got touched for five runs in his last outing after pitching 14.1 scoreless frames over his first three starts. Play ball!
Phil Hughes (4-1, 4.32 ERA, 93 ERA+, 4.33 FIP, 1.38 WHIP, 6:21 BB:SO, 33.1 IP)
Derek Holland (3-2, 2.02 ERA, 192 ERA+, 3.68 FIP, 1.04 WHIP, 12:30 BB:SO, 35.2 IP)
I can't touch free's open from last night, so I won't even try.
Also ... "Guaranteed Rate Field" ... I know, I know, this is just the logical result of "Fenway Park" and "Wrigley Field*" (but seriously)?
I've been off the grid most of the day but saw the Twins DFA'd Danny Santana. I bet some National League team like the Pirates claims him.
Phil Hughes on the mound. I have a feeling its going to be one of those games where he gives up like 6 solo HRs. Eduardo Ramirez for Boston.
Oh Goody, Jack Morris is doing commentary for FSN. Bring back Torii Hunter!
So, at what point do we resign ourselves to another crappy season of baseball? While we all enjoyed the 5-0 start, I don't think many of us felt any corners had been turned (okay, I'll admit to experiencing a few pangs of optimism (certainly nothing reaching socal levels), but they quickly subsided). Should we acknowledge it at all, or just try to remain as ignorant as Andie McDowell? Seems more pleasant that way. More wet though.
In any case, I suppose it's too early to start reaching for the alarm levers, however, I've seen this movie before, and I have a feeling I know where it's headed. Anyway, onto less existential topics:
The Twins flee Target Field, managing a meager 2-7 on the home stand. Kyle Gibson and the Twins (the former of which is pretty sure the Tigers were stealing signs) were clobbered yesterday in a messy affair to the tune of 13-4. They now hit the road for a 6 game trip, where hopefully their fortunes will improve. Tonight, they send Phil Hughes and his bulky ERA to the mound. Ol' Phil only made it 3.1 innings last time, so hopefully he can give the bullpen a little bit of a break tonight. If not, I may have to update the "Aces Through The Years" banner again.
The Rangers began the year a little iffy, however they're fresh off a 4-game sweep of the Royals, so their fortunes may be improving. Perez is also coming off a less than spectacular start, managing an extra .1 innings more than Hughes. Both pitchers will be fighting for redemption! And their mother's love (perhaps)!!
In other news, Boshers, one of the few brights spots of yesterday's pitching, was unceremoniously dumped back to AAA as a thank you. They will bring up Spring Training invite Nick Tepesch who has been pitching well in Rochester as of late. In a corresponding 40-man roster move, Ryan O’Rourke was moved to the 60-day DL.
We might not get a whole lot of these this season, so it's worth getting excited over them, no matter how seemingly insignificant.
You know what would go nice with that winning streak? A long winning streak.
Hughes tries to make that happen tonight. Wade Miley tries to stop him, but other than having a pretty full beard in his bbref photo, I'm not convinced. The Twins weren't supposed to win last night, and they dominated, surely they can take on Grizzly Adams and his 4.51 FIP, right?
Twins on Leaderboards
On Base Percentage - Mauer - 10th (.389)
Base on Balls - Mauer - t-3rd (29)
Base on Balls - Sano - t-6th(26)
Strikeouts - Sano - t-2nd (67)
Stolen Bases - Santana - t-4th (10)
Stolen Bases - Nunez - t-9th (8)
Hit By Pitch - Park - t-5th (5)
Hit By Pitch - Núñez - t-10th (3)
Hit By Pitch - Dozier - t-10th (3)
Sacrifice Hits - Murphy - t-6th (2)
Sacrifice Hits - Rosario - t-6th (2)
Intentional Walks - Mauer - t-3rd (5)
Caught Stealing - Santana - t-3rd (5)
AB per HR - Park - 8th (15.2)
BB/9 - Hughes - 7th (1.664)
BB/9 - Nolasco - 10th (1.904)
Games Pitched - Pressly - t-3rd (24)
Games Pitched - May - t-7th (23)
Complete Games - Hughes - t3rd (1)
K/BB - Nolasco - 10th (4.182)
Losses - Hughes - 1st (7)
Earned Runs - Nolasco - t-8th (32)
Wild Pitches - May - t-2nd (6)
First Pitch 1:10 p.m.
Phil Hughes (1-6, 5.70 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 27 K)
Marcus Stroman (4-1, 4.23 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 43 K)
Phil Hughes was far from bad the last time he pitched, giving up just one earned run, but he went only 6.1 innings on 75 pitches. It was later revealed that he's been throwing with shoulder fatigue, so we can probably include the Twins training staff in the whole total system failure thing. Today he squares off against Marcus Stroman, who is coming off his worst start ever after giving up 7 runs on 13 hits to the Rays. Momentum, thy name is today's starting pitchers.
Meanwhile, in Bizarro World, the Atosennim Sniwt have won 31 of their games so far this season while losing just 11 for a .738 winning percentage. They lead the league in Slugging and OPS, ERA, Saves, and WHIP. The Sniwt maintain a sizable lead on their division, and are favored by many to win the Bizarro World Series.
Phil Hughes vs. Mike Fiers.
I haven't gotten to see an inning of this series yet, as the last few days have been all about moving, unpacking and going through the deepest certification process I've ever been a part of at work. On the upside, the baseball teams I'm missing have a combined 17 wins, so whatever.
Internet will be installed tomorrow and I'll be able to enjoy, or whatever, the team then. Bring it home, dudes.
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Caleb wrote that. What he lacks in sound analysis, he makes up for with sheer exuberance.
With the season one tenth done already, we press on, hoping that the second tenth is better than the first.
It's our annual "outside chore day", so I don't have much time to put this together, so no Twins on Leaderboards. Suffice to say, Mauer ha looked a lot like his old self, Sano is heating up, and Nolasco has already provided more value this year than his first two seasons combined.
Hughes vs. Roark. Let's put last night behind us.
Well, this has been worthless so far. For eight years I wanted to get back home, and now that I'm here I'm still waiting for the Twins to win a single regular season game. They're still at home, so I guess that's cool, although they face Carlos Rodon, who Fangraphs and B-R and everyone seems to agree is about to break out in a big way (he struck out a ton in the minors).
Phil Hughes goes for the Twins, and will probably throw two or three balls and ninety strikes. I keep sitting here trying to come up with new ways to beg for a win, but I'll just try to bow out gracefully and whisper that I would, indeed, like one. Let's do this, Twins.