What it means? The Yankees offense can overcome a lot, which they did on Thursday night. Phil Hughes put them in a 5-0 hole and they climbed out of it. Down a run in the ninth, Jorge Posada nailed the first pitch he saw from Kevin Gregg and sent it over the right center field fence to tie the game at five.
In the 10th, Mark Teixeira walked, Alex Rodriguez doubled off Michael Gonzalez and then Nick Swisher hit a one-out sacrifice fly. The story at the end was Posada and Swisher. The story at the start was Hughes. In the long run, Hughes is the bigger deal.
The bigger issue of what it means: The Yankees have a serious issue with Hughes. The question they will have to decide upon soon is to skip Hughes' turn in the rotation, replace him in the rotation or send him to the minors. He can't get his velocity up and teams are crushing him. The Orioles being the latest.
Keep in mind, the Yankees have days off this upcoming Monday and next Thursday so there is some flexibility for Joe Girardi to make some moves.
It is worse to be bad than lucky: Back to Hughes, the most disturbing part of Hughes' 4 1/3 innings, five runs (all earned) on seven hits, including one homer, is it could have been worse. Mark Reynolds' sacrifice in the fourth was caught by Curtis Granderson against the wall. In the fifth, Brian Roberts sent a ball to the right field wall that almost went out, but Nick Swisher made an excellent catch. It wouldn't have been a home run, but it was hit very hard.
Even with those balls being caught, Hughes couldn't make it past the fifth inning.
Stat to remember: Hughes is the third Yankee starter in the Live Ball Era to have allowed at least five runs and pitch fewer than five innings in each of his first three starts of the season. The others are Chien-Ming Wang in 2009 and Brian Boehringerin 1995. (Thanks to Katie Sharp from @ESPNStatsInfo for those tidbits.)
Bart-Man!: Bartolo Colon came in and threw three scoreless innings. His fine work allowed for the Yankees to comeback. He looks like he might be ready to finally take his place in the rotation. It seems to me the Yankees might want to see how Freddy Garcia looks Saturday before deciding.
Chipping Away: The Yankees were no-hit for four innings by Jake Arrieta. In the fifth, A-Rod and Robinson Cano hit back-to-back doubles to put the Yankees on the board in both the runs and hits column. The Yankees added two more runs on a Mark Teixeria bloop double and an A-Rod sacrifice fly in the sixth. They got within one with a Russell Martin groundout in the seventh. That led to Posada's homer.
Coming attractions: I will be opining that the Yankees have to pull Hughes from the rotation to get him right. I'm not saying he is done, by any stretch, but they need to go to Plan B. Ian Begley and Mike Mazzeo will have everything you can possibly imagine in the blog, so check back often as you ponder another bad night for Hughes. Of course, if there is any Hughes news we will have that up quick.
What is next: The Cliff Lee-less Bowl takes place at Yankee Stadium. An ALCS rematch between the Yankees and the Rangers will be on the marquee. Texas looks like they haven't missed a beat so far without Lee. The pitching matchups: Friday, Ivan Nova(1-0, 6.10 ERA) vs. LHP Matt Harrison (2-0, 1.29); Saturday, Freddy Garcia(0-0, 9.00) vs. LHP Derek Holland (2-0, 2.25 ERA); CC Sabathia vs. Alexi Ogando (2-0, 0.00).
Question of the Night: What would you do with Hughes?