Saturday, July 25, 2015
PHIL HUGHES HAS GOT IT & HERE'S WHY
The trouble with Phil Hughes on the Yankees, was that it was Phil Hughes and he was on the Yankees.
I wanted Hughes to succeed in Yankeeland, we all did... but he couldn't, and that's because of the way the Yankees had handled young pitching, especially when Hughes was on the farm. This information goes back to when Bill Masse was mysteriously fired from being manager of the Trenton Thunder after he made comments about the way the Yankees handled their pitching. Masse said this at the time, (Read WAS BILL MASSE RIGHT ABOUT HUGHES? for more):
“We get so ridiculous with this dumb pitch count stuff… Somebody came up with a pitch count thing (like) this is going to decide if a kid’s arm is going to be healthy or not. It’s like predicting the weather sometimes. ‘If he throws 66 pitches, he will be fine, but if he throws 81, he is going to get hurt.’ No one can predict that...The only negative you run into is that he never learns how to pitch when he is tired. He never learns how to pitch when he is a little bit fatigued. I think you run into those problems because he is always fresh. Also, he is never in trouble. He needs to learn how to pitch out of his second or third jam in the seventh inning with two outs and he’s throwing 90 mph instead of 94.”
Couple that with a tremendous article CBS wrote where they interviewed Leo Mazzone who simply stated pitchers needed to throw more:
"More often with less exertion is the key to lowering the risk of arm injury... For example, I had them go on the mound more often than other pitching staffs to practice their craft at 60’6” going downhill to a catcher, but the effort was controlled because our goal was to find out what the effort was going to be on the pitch, or the max effort that we could put on the pitch without maxing out...
...We found out that by practicing that, and trying to acquire touch on the ball, guys could make pitches with a 90 percent effort, automatically smooth out their mechanics, and their control got better.”
More often, less exertion. Seriously, that fascinating to me.
Now I don't know what the Twins are doing with Phil Hughes... but I can tell you that I'm pretty sure they are doing this. The Yankees don't do it, or at least they didn't when Bill Masse was with the organization... that's quite evident. And so I can only conclude that's what happened to Phil Hughes and the Yankees. That's also my opinion.
That brings me to last night. Phil Hughes had it and dominated the Yankees. The Twins did too, scoring 10 runs off of Pineda and the pen. It was an embarrassment.
Pineda went 5.2 innings, gave up 8 hits and 5 runs. The rest of the pen gave up the other 5. Yuck.
Hughes went 7 innings, gave up 7 hits and zero runs. The only run was given up by Casey Fien. Jacoby Ellsbury sacrificed home Didi Gregorius on a fly ball to center off Fien. That was all.
Yanks will have to turn it around today. CC Sabathia is on the mound.
And look, I'm sorry to appear like I'm lecturing my audience about Phil Hughes and the Yankees handling of young pitchers. I need to be honest with you... this type of regime is effective and could help pitchers as young as 12. Why are young pitchers getting Tommy John surgery at such a young age. Well... do you think there's a connection here? Organizations are just letting them throw... sometimes hard... sometimes babying them, not realizing the big picture. Throw more, less exertion. Throwing more often, but not throwing hard can build you up. Then over time, in game situations, stretch them out. Allow pitchers to get into trouble. Put them in games and let them get into jams so they can work themselves through it. That could be the difference. I truly believe that.
(In Photo: Bill Masse)
Leo Mazzone... Bill Masse are definitely onto something. Last night it appeared to be pretty obvious.
Final: Twins 10 - Yankees 1
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