July 1, 2009

Phil Hughes to assume eighth inning role?

Joe Girardi continues to call Brian Bruney the setup man on this team, but after last night’s blown save in the eighth, Bruney might be degraded to middle relief. After watching Phil Hughes continue to dominate the sixth and seventh innings, it seems he could potentially replace Bruney for the more important eighth inning.

WasWatching.com brings up a good point about using Hughes similar to the way the Yankees used Mariano Rivera in 1996.

Have Hughes set up for the closer. Make the 8th inning his inning. In fact, just like Rivera was used in ‘96, have Hughes pitch the 7th and 8th innings of games, where needed, to get to your closer.

I completely agree. Hughes seems to have no trouble pitching two innings, and there is no doubt as to whether Hughes can be effective out of the bullpen.

In relief this year, he holds a 1.38 ERA and a 5.33 SO/BB ratio. Along with Hughes, Alfredo Aceves, David Robertson and Phil Coke have been extremely effective out of the bullpen. Hughes replacing Bruney would solidify an already good bullpen.

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