MLB Analysis: Phil Hughes, Yankees and Starting Pitching

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A large reason the New York Yankees have held atop our MLB Power Rankings for Week 13 is because they have the best offense in MLB to date scoring 416 runs.

The AL East division leading Yankees pitching staff is currently 4th in the AL with a 3.55 ERA leading many to believe that after CC Sabathia, the rest of the starting rotation is over performing. Listening to the NY airwaves, everyone wants to know who the Yankees will trade for to bolster their starting staff. Could it be that the Yankees solution will simply be adding a healthy Phil Hughes?

Hughes made his second straight rehab start for the Double-A Trenton Thunder on Wednesday and had a very impressive outing. Hughes’ velocity was consistently clocked in at 93-94 mph range as he struck out eight in an 88 pitch 6 1/3 outing. The rehabbing right-hander trying to come back from “dead arm” gave up three hits and only one walk inducing 20 swinging strikes. Hughes was accurate and efficient throwing just 32 pitches through the first three hitless innings, and throwing 42 strikes out of his first 54 pitchers. 

Later in the day at Yankee Stadium, GM Brian Cashman seemed to suggest that Hughes would probably get one more rehab start before joining the team. “It wouldn’t hurt for him to get one more outing,” said Cashman. “The 85 pitches he threw today in Double-A is the equivalent of 70 at the major league level in terms of workload and effort and stress – so it wouldn’t hurt to get him farther.”

The Yankees are currently 2.5 games ahead of the Boston Red Sox and 2.5 games in front of the Tampa Bay Rays. So I ask, assuming Phil Hughes is healthy and effective during the second half of the season, is the Yankee pitching staff good enough to hold off their division foes?

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