Postgame Notebook: Bombers bats can't come through for Hughes
The Yankees recorded just two hits and drew only two walks off Texas' Derek Holland, who only allowed one of those four runners to reach second base and needed just 92 pitches for the complete-game shutout.
"We're struggling right now, and I thought (Holland's) fastball and slider were pretty effective all day, and he was pounding the strike zone," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of the Texas hurler. "When you attack the strike zone, you can (have an outing like that). He got ahead of hitters."
And, as Lyle Overbay and Vernon Wells noted, he made the Yankees play his game.
"He didn't make too many mistakes, he kept the ball down and I think we were too aggressive on his pitches," Overbay said. "We didn't put any pressure on him. It's tough when he's throwing a lot of first pitch strikes; it's tough to let those go."
"He did everything right; his velocity was up, and that's probably the best I've seen his slider. He stayed away from barrels and the middle of the plate, and when you do that with that kind of stuff, you're going to have the results he had today," Wells added. "When you're throwing 94-95 (mph) from the left side and you have your off-speed working, that's a good combination."
That outstanding outing from Holland somewhat overshadowed a great outing from Hughes, who came off a week's rest to allow just two runs on five hits over eight innings and 106 pitches.
"He was really good today, and he probably should've only given up the one run on the home run," Girardi said of Hughes. "His fastball command was good, and I thought his slider was better today too; he got some swings and misses on that and located it better, so the combination of those two things was the important part."
"I felt like having the last week or so helped me out, let me gather my thoughts and work out some things on the side, and I felt like I had a better plan and better mechanics today," Hughes said. "I was just trying to keep a better plane to home plate and keep my momentum in the right direction."
Unfortunately, that direction on Thursday led to Hughes' seventh loss of the season, but after all the talk of Hughes being in danger of possibly losing his rotation spot, he may have at least silenced those critics for the time being.
"I put the same amount of pressure on myself every start. … I've been hearing (the talk) it for so long that I know what to expect and know I'll have to answer the questions," Hughes said. "Every time I take the ball, I clear my head and go out there and do the best I can; I don't let the talk get to me."
"We know he's capable of doing it, he's done it before," Girardi added about Hughes possibly getting back on the upswing. "He wants the ball every fifth day, and he went out and did it today."
And while the Yankees offense may have let Hughes down, the skipper believes his team can get back on track soon enough.
"When you don't score runs, that becomes an issue, but I believe we're capable of scoring runs," Girardi said. "I think we can (turn it around) but time will tell."
Other notes and quotes from the final game of the homestand:
-Hughes was actually helped out in the third by a bizarre play at second base on Jurickson Profar's walk. David Murphy ran on the 3-2 pitch and would've been caught stealing had the pitch not been ball four, but because time was still in when catcher Austin Romine called for an appeal of a check swing, Murphy ended up out on a 2-6 putout after stumbling off the bag and being tagged by Jayson Nix.
"I saw (second base umpire) Dan (Iassogna) look back to see if it was strike three or ball four before he made the call, but when he jumped off the bag, that's when you can slap the tag back on him," Overbay said. "It worked in our favor…I guess that's why you show up, because things you see will never cease to amaze you."
-Vernon Wells was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts, pushing his skid to 11-for-99 over the last month. Wells said "today was just a bad day" and noted that he's had good swings as a pinch-hitter of late, so he just needs to "keep on keeping on" so to speak: "I just need to keep working. That's what we do when you go through struggles, you keep working and try to get through it. When you get an opportunity, you have to take advantage of it."
-Girardi's more succinct explanation for Wells' struggles Thursday: "Holland used his slider effectively against Vernon, and was able to put him away."
-Wells also chimed in on the series and the team's offensive struggles as a whole: "Guys swung the bat well yesterday and the night before, today was a combination of a really good pitcher on the mound and us not hitting too many balls hard. … We have a lot of guys struggling (but) we've shown with the guys in this lineup that we can win games, we just haven't done that consistently lately."
-Last word goes to Overbay and his thoughts on the offensive situation: "I think we get into trying to do too much and it snowballs a little bit. It's not really the hitting, it's more getting a walk or having a good at-bat, getting deep in the count and fouling some pitches off and hitting the ball hard. It just seems like we haven't been doing that lately, and I think that's what we've done so well in the past: grind out at-bats and make them pay for mistakes. We've got some good hitters, and if we get those timely hits, we can be effective; we're just not doing that right now."