When Phil Hughes woke up this morning he probably already knew that today was the biggest day of his life. If he even slept.
Now understand, he’s a young guy, only 24 years old, and I’m sure he’ll go on to have bigger days in his life that will supersede tonight’s Game 6 ALCS matchup between the Yanks and the Rangers. There will be both personal and professional accomplishments and achievements that might make this game pale in comparison. But for today….for tonight….the weight of the Yankee’s 2010 repeat championship hopes rest in his right arm.
Everybody knows Hughes was not sharp in Game 2. The Rangers roughed him up like a stacked beer league softball team in a money tournament. Compounding that problem was the lack of production from the Yankee offense.
So let’s keep it simple, what do the Yankees need to do to win?
There’s no getting around it and it’s no mystery to anyone. . .Hughes needs to bring his A game and have lots of movement on his fastball. In Game 2, his fastball was flat and had no movement enabling a good Ranger hitting team to take the advantage. He needs to stay ahead in the count, avoid the walk and if possible, avoid the long ball which has been his nemesis. Hughes has given up untimely homers in the past and this is not a game where there is margin for much error.
Secondly, the Yankee hitters need to approach this game with the same discipline they did in Game 5. They worked counts and took advantage of mistakes when balls were left out over the plate. Swisher and ARod need to have big games and hopefully Cano and Jeter can keep up their hot hitting. Also, the Bombers should be aggressive on the base paths when opportunities present themselves so the pressure is on the Rangers to slow them down.
It’s recognizable that the Rangers have outplayed the Yankees thus far in the series, which is why they hold a 3-2 edge. Experience will only get you so far, it’s still about performance and the Rangers have been able to out-pitch and out-hit New York most of the way.
The Yankees are certainly good enough to compete though. . .they just have to perform as well.
About the Author
Written by Patrick Blakeslee
I am currently a full-time student at State University of New York at Cobleskill. As a life long fan of sports, I hope to bring some research, insight and knowledge to the readers.