One day after Hiroki Kuroda left the mound to a standing ovation, Phil Hughes left the mound to boos as the pitcher couldn't make it through the fourth inning of an eventual 7-1 loss to the Angels. The Yankees fell to 4-4 on the season.
AWPHIL: While Hughes had good velocity on his pitches, dialing it up to 94 mph on back-to-back strikeouts in the first inning, the Angels hit him hard, tallying eight hits in just 3 1/3 innings. He gave up a pair of home runs to Chris Iannetta and Howie Kendrick, with Kendrick's' three-run shot making it 6-0. That home run ball was the last pitch Hughes threw.
Just like in his previous start against Tampa Bay, Hughes once again struggled with his efficiency. He threw 84 pitches over his 10 outs, and seemingly went deep into the count against every hitter. Against the Rays last Sunday, Hughes threw 99 pitches in 4 2/3 innings. The same problems that troubled him last year are rearing their heads once again this season.
Hughes is now 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA on the year.
BAD IN THE CLUTCH: The Yankees have struggled at times this season with runners in scoring position, and Saturday's game proved to be no different. They entered the game batting .217 (15-for-69), and after a 1-for-10 performance on Saturday, the team is now batting just .203 in those clutch situations.
In the first inning, the team put the first two men on, but the middle of the lineup couldn't get that big hit to put opposing starter C.J. Wilson on the ropes early. Instead, Wilson found his groove and gave up just one run over six innings -- that lone run coming on Robinson Cano's first RBI of the year that sliced the lead to 7-1 in the fifth.
Wilson's win was the first time in his career he beat the Yankees.
BULLPEN SAVER: For the second time this season, rookie David Phelps provided much-needed length out of the bullpen. He pitched 2 1/3 innings in Tuesday's extra-inning win, and he pitched 5 1/3 innings after replacing Hughes in the fourth on Saturday. Phelps gave up just one hit, a homer to Vernon Wells, but struck out four and worked efficiently. The youngster is making a very good impression with his ability to give the Yankees length and hold the opposition down. He has a 1.08 ERA this season.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Yankees will try to take the rubber game of the series when Ivan Nova (1-0, 2.57 ERA) opposes Jerome Williams (0-0, 0.00) on Sunday at 8:05 p.m.