Hot! Hey Joe! Hughes Over Pettitte in ALCS Game 2

Question:

 

Why has Yankees skipper Joe Girardi hesitated to declare who will be his starting pitcher in Game 2 of the ALCS?  If Girardi wants to give his team its best shot to take down the Texas Rangers, he should go with Phil Hughes in Game 2.

 

At first, it may come as a shock if Girardi would pick Hughes over Andy Pettitte, who has a record 19 postseason victories and is in the conversation for best playoff pitcher ever, but those who watched Hughes’ playoff debut against the Twins can attest that the Yankees’ righthander looked dominant (7 IP, 6 K, 0 ER) against a pretty good Twins lineup.  It was like the clock was turned back to April and May, in which Hughes went 6-1 with a sub-3 ERA and 57 K in 56 IP.

 

Also, Game 2 is on the road in Texas. Hughes was much better on the road (3.47 ERA, 5 HR) than at home (4.66 ERA, 20 HR) this season.

 

As for Pettitte, his impressive start in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Twins alleviated many fears Yankee fans had about the consistency of their aging lefty, who returned from injury only in mid-September. Despite Pettitte’s incredible success in the playoffs and in his career, one would be hardpressed to declare him as a truly dominant starter.  But one thing we have learned about Pettitte is that he possesses this intangible ability to pitch to his competition better than any starter of recent memory.  And with postseason stud Cliff Lee set to start Game 3, doesn’t it make sense to trot out Pettitte opposite Lee with the instruction to “do that thing you do?”

 

After all, nobody would be surprised if Lee looked good giving up 2 runs but Pettitte looked better yielding just 1.  And if this series were extended to a treacherous Game 7, any sane Yankee fan would want Pettitte starting THAT game over Hughes.

 

No question.

 

 

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