UPDATE: The Yankees are pushing Hughes back a day and going with Andy Pettitte instead. Which, OK, if you think a day of rest will cure everything that ails Hughes.
4:16 PM: Phil Hughes last pitched on Monday and, after accounting for the Yankees off-day, would be scheduled to pitch Sunday against the Orioles. But not so fast:
Holding him out would be the acknowledgement that Hughes simply hasn’t been getting the job done. He has failed to complete six innings in six of his ten post-All-Star break starts. Heck, five of those didn’t even go five innings. In that time he has complied a 1-6 record with a 5.05 ERA and has given up 61 hits in 51 and two-thirds innings.
The Yankees might have been closer to playoff contention if half their roster wasn’t injured for the bulk of this season. But not punting a start most times Hughes took a turn would have been helpful too.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.