Phil Hughes’ back stiffness was bad enough to force him out his Game 3 start after just three innings, but the right-hander now feels good enough that he could be available out of the Yankees’ bullpen tonight.
Hughes told Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York that he could have remained in the game beyond three innings Tuesday, but manager Joe Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild both felt that his delivery was out of whack and his breaking pitches weren’t effective.
Whether one day off is enough to fix those issues and whether Girardi and Rothschild would trust Hughes in a key late-inning spot is unclear, but if the Yankees need an extra arm out of the bullpen he might be a factor.
The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.
The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.
Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.
After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.