Hughes fighting playoff struggles

Remember when Phil Hughes was the lockdown bridge to Mariano Rivera? Lately … not so much.

Last night’s two walk appearance in the eighth inning marked a continuation of postseason struggles for Hughes. After recording a 3.04 ERA during the regular season, he has a 9.64 playoff ERA and has retired just 14 of the 27 batters he’s faced in the postseason.

“It’s on me. I didn’t execute my pitches,” Hughes said. “Walks are killers and we really can’t afford to have those, especially when we’re trying to keep the game at 2-0 like it was. We’ve done a great job of coming back here and to let those four runs come across hurt us.”

Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland said that some of Hughes’ earlier troubles had been related to a mechanical flaw, rushing his delivery and costing crispness. Not so on Wednesday, as both Eiland and Hughes thought that he was trying to be too fine with the Philadelphia hitters.

“Sometimes I try to go with scouting reports instead of just being aggressive like I have been all year,” Hughes said. “The biggest thing for me is to attack the zone and not really worry about the hitters’ weaknesses, but my strengths. That’s just something I need to get back to, and I have no doubt I’ll be able to do that going forward.”

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