Pop quiz, hot shot: You’re one of the worst teams in baseball. You are starting a guy with a 6.75 ERA who has walked more dudes than he has struck out. You’re facing the defending AL Central champs with the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner and MVP on the mound. How’s it gonna turn out?
Just fine, thanks: The Royals and Jonathan Sanchez beat Justin Verlander and the Tigers 3-2.
It was tied at two heading into the ninth when Jaoquin Benoit took over for Verlander. After retiring the first man he faced, Benoit gave up a double to Mike Moustakas, who then advanced to third on a groundout. Up came Chris Getz who hit an infield single to short scoring Moustakas. Jonathan Broxton came in to close it out in the ninth.
As the saying goes, you can’t predict baseball. There are no Master Lock: Keys to the Game. Anyone who does the “What [Team X] needs to do to win” thing is wasting time. Baseball just happens. Sometimes the worst beats the best. And it means little, because there’s another game tomorrow.
Phil Hughes was officially designated for assignment by the Twins on Tuesday, the culmination of multiple injury-plagued seasons and poor performance.
Things couldn’t have started out much better for Hughes in Minnesota. The former Yankees hurler joined the Twins on a three-year, $24 million contract in December of 2013 and reeled off a 3.52 ERA over 32 starts during his first season with the club. He set the MLB record (which still stands, by the way) for single season strikeout-to-walk ratio and even received some downballot Cy Young Award consideration. The big year resulted in the two sides ripping up their previous agreement with a new five-year, $58 million deal, but it was all downhill after that.
Hughes took a step back with a 4.40 ERA in 2015 and struggled with a 5.95 ERA over 11 starts and one relief appearance in 2016 before undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. He wasn’t any better upon his return last year, putting up a 5.87 ERA in nine starts and five relief appearances. Hughes missed time with a biceps issue and required a thoracic outlet revision surgery in August. He began this year on the disabled list with an oblique injury, only to put up a 6.75 ERA over two starts and five relief appearances before the Twins decided to turn the page this week.
Hughes is still owed the remainder of his $13.2 million salary for this year and another $13.2 million next year. The deal didn’t work out as anyone would have hoped, but unfortunately this is another case of health just not cooperating.