Phil Hughes struggles again as concerns about velocity mount

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Not only hasn’t Phil Hughes’ velocity improved since initially emerging as an issue during spring training, his fastball was slower than ever in last night’s sub par outing against the Orioles.

Hughes allowed five runs in four innings, serving up two homers and managing just one strikeout while his average fastball clocked in at a season-low 89.1 miles per hour. For comparison, Hughes’ fastball averaged 93.3 mph during the past two seasons.

Through three starts he has a 13.94 ERA and .396 opponents’ batting average with more walks than strikeouts and Ben Shpigel of the New York Times speculates that the Yankees “will almost certainly discuss whether they are best served taking advantage of the two days off next week to skip his turn in the rotation.”

In addition to the significantly decreased velocity readings, Shpigel also notes that Hughes has gotten a grand total of two swings-and-misses from the 96 fastballs he’s thrown this year. Hughes called the whole situation “baffling” and added: “I don’t even know what to say at this point.”

The Angels to lower the right field wall

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The Los Angeles Angels announced today that they will lower the right field wall at Angel Stadium from 18 feet to eight feet.

The stated reason: to make room for a new out-of-town scoreboard and “philosophical changes.” Obviously, though, helping out lefty power hitters is on the agenda too. As it was, Angel Stadium was in the bottom ten of all parks in allowing homers for lefties.

One of their own lefties is Kole Calhoun, who is a pull hitter. Another one could be Shohei Ohtani, who is a lefty hitter. Although, as a righty pitcher, that could harm him against opposing lefty batters. I’m assuming, though, that the Angels ran a bunch of numbers to establish that this move helps them more than it hurts them, or else they wouldn’t be doing it.