Game 108: Yankees vs. White Sox
CHICAGO — I’m no weather man, but after listening to everyone talk heading into tonight’s game, I can tell you this: Expect rain. Nothing yet as of 6 p.m. CT, but there’s supposed to be some pretty serious storms in the area tonight, so hopefully the game can get in with little or no delays.
Phil Hughes certainly hopes so.
Manager Joe Girardi said he hasn’t articulated to Hughes that he needs to pitch well tonight, but with the Yankees deploying a six-man rotation in order to keep Ivan Nova in the mix, the pressure is on for Hughes to deliver against a rather desperate White Sox team. And the last thing he needs is for a little rain to get in the way.
When asked what he’s looking for out of Hughes, Girardi mentioned a better curveball — the new one that was so key to him getting his first win in Toronto three starts ago.
“I thought he made some progress his last start, but I think that his stuff can get better,” he said. “He can give us more distance. His curveball wasn’t as sharp his last start. As we talked about, [CC Sabathia's] slider wasn’t as sharp as it’s been [last night], but when it’s Phil, we have to get this guy on a roll, too. And he’s had his struggles this year, so there’s more red flags. His curveball wasn’t as sharp, and we have to get that going.”
Girardi was asked several times what could happen when he cuts his rotation from six to five again — whether Nova or Hughes will be in the bullpen, or whether one of them will go to the Minors to be stretched out for the Aug. 27 doubleheader — but the skipper kept his options open and would only speak in generalities.
“There’s a lot of things that we have to talk about,” Girardi said. “I mean, the best thing that could happen is that [Hughes] pitches really well, and then we have a tough decision to make in what we’re going to do. There’s some different scenarios. Nova hasn’t pitched out of the bullpen as much. I’ve also talked about, we’re going to need a starter, I think, Aug. 27 when we go to Baltimore, and you want someone built up. So there’s some things after today and tomorrow that we’re going to have to talk about.”
Derek Jeter is back in the lineup after missing Monday’s game with a sore right middle finger, and Brett Gardner is once again in the lineup — batting in the No. 9 spot — against a left-hander.
Here’s the full slate …
Pitching: RH Phil Hughes (1-3, 8.24 ERA)
Pitching: LH John Danks (4-8, 3.79 ERA)
Some links from last night …
* CC denies White Sox, earning 16th win
* Yankees Notebook on Jeter, A-Rod, Cervelli and the six-man rotation
* With no guarantees, Hughes faces White Sox