Bronx, NY- The two 26 year-old starting pitchers, Phil Hughes and Derek Holland, hooked up in an exciting pitchers’ duel in the final game of the three game set between the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers on Thursday afternoon. Although neither pitcher pitched poorly enough to deserve a loss in a 2-0 win for Texas, Hughes was the losing pitcher.
Hughes, a winning pitcher in only one of his last eight starts, has been mentioned as the starter to be drooped from the rotation if Ivan Nova and/or Michael Pineda are added. Hughes’s performance on Thursday will make it more difficult to remove him from the starting rotation. After the contest concluded, Hughes spoke of the internal pressure he feels, “I put a lot of pressure on myself every time I go out.”
The first run in the game was scored in the third by Texas.
David Murphy led off with a single. Rookie Jurickson Profar of Curacao walked, but Murphy was tagged out while rounding second. In his second Major League game and first career start, Engel Beltre singled in his ever first trip at-bat. Profar would eventually score from third on a sacrifice fly to left by Rangers’ second baseman Ian Kinsler.
The only other run of the game was scored in the fifth on a lead-off homer by Profar.
The top rated prospect in the majors this year according to Baseball America, Profar is also the youngest player currently in the majors. Hughes, the man who surrendered the home run, commented, “You make a bunch of mistakes in the game, but that [the home run to Profar] was the only one that hurt us.”
Hughes pitched eight innings, tied for his longest outing of the year. He gave up five hits and one base on balls in his lengthy start.
When questioned after the game regarding the lack of successful hitting by his Yankee teammates, Hughes put the responsibility for success on himself, “They’ve gotten a lot of runs for me in the past. I have to do a better job of keeping us in the game.”
The starter for Texas, Derek Holland, threw his sixth complete game as a member of the Rangers, every one of them a shutout. Yankees’ skipper Joe Girardi explained his success in the game, “He [Derek Holland] was ahead of our guys all afternoon. He attacked the strike zone.”
Ichiro Suzuki led-off the game for the Yankees with a single to left and Austin Romine singled with two out in the second. The only other Yankee baserunner was Jayson Nix, who walked in the third. The two hits was the lowest offensive output of the season for the Pinstripes.
Girardi remarked on the anemic offense saying, “We’re struggling right now. I think we’re capable of scoring runs, but time will tell.”
New York first baseman Lyle Overbay, who was hitless in three at-bats against Holland, said, “He was throwing a lot of first ball strikes. It’s tough to let those go. [For that reason] I think we were too aggressive on his pitches. We didn’t get deep enough.”
The Yankees now embark upon a seven game road trip, three games at Baltimore, followed by four in Minnesota.