Hughes, who turns 23 in the end of June, was essentially unhittable last week, going 6 innings without giving up a run on two hits. The phenom struck out 6 batters as well. "He looked really good," said Joe Girardi following the blowout 11-0 win. The Yankees manager added the Phil Hughes had been taken out because of the length of the 10 run 7th inning. Jon Lester of the Red Sox on the other hand, has not been pitching very well this season.
After a stellar 2008 in which the lefty youngster compiled a 16-6 record with a 3.21 ERA, Lester has started off the season 1-2 with an ERA over 5. The most glaring statistic in his line this season is without doubt the 36 hits he has surrendered to opposing batters in only 30 innings. Whatever the problem is with Lester's performances, the Yankees lineup is not the best team to be facing when in a trying-to-figure-it-all-out mode on the mound. Even with Texeira hitting under .200, many of the Yankees bats have come alive in the first month of the season. These players include:
1. Robinson Cano, who is hitting .363 with 5 home runs and 17 runs batted in. It seems like his work over the offseason has payed off this far into the season. After a dismal 2008, the 2nd basemen is forcing us to remember his hitting ability.
2. Melky Cabrera, who is hitting .321 with 4 home runs in only 56 at bats. Melky is showing a little spark of power, though some say it is to be attributed the the right field porch in the new Yankee Stadium. His start suggests that he might get the full time job from Brett Gardner, who has struggled to start the season.
3. Nick Swisher, who has an astounding 15 walks in only 92 plate appearances, is really on fire with the bat in his hands. His average is up almost 85 percentage points from last season, when he finished the season with the lowest batting average of any player with over 500 at bats. The 29 year old Billy Beane product is also showing some signs of the power he had in his rookie season with the A's, with 7 homeruns in the first month. If he can keep this up, there may be no room left in that outfield when Xavier Nady returns from his injury.
With a solid performance from Hughes, and a smattering of hits off the currently vulnerable Jon Lester, the Yankees could jump into the AL East race early on in the season with a W.