Hughes not concerned by rough patch
Game 1 difficulties due to flawed approach, Yankees insist
NEW YORK -- Phil Hughes' first World Series appearance went much the opposite of how you'd draw it up. Not only did he lack aggression with his pitches, but the Yankees right-hander exited by barking some heated words at home-plate umpire Gerry Davis.
It was a debut to forget in the Yankees' 6-1 loss to the Phillies in Game 1 of the Fall Classic on Wednesday, as Hughes entered in the eighth inning and walked two batters before being removed. On his way off the field, Hughes fired comments at Davis, a veteran ump, disagreeing on the free passes issued to Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino.
"I wasn't pitching terribly or erratically or anything," Hughes said. "It was a couple of close calls I didn't get. Before you could blink twice, there were two guys on base with nobody out."
A two-run Yankees deficit quickly became four runs, as Raul Ibanez stroked a single through the right side of the infield off Dave Robertson, bringing home two runs charged to Hughes.
It has been a continuation of postseason struggles for the 23-year-old Hughes. After posting a 3.04 ERA during the regular season, Hughes has a 9.64 playoff ERA and has retired just 14 of the 27 batters he has faced in the postseason.
"It's on me -- I didn't execute my pitches," Hughes said. "Walks are killers, and we really can't afford to have those, especially when we're trying to keep the game at 2-0 like it was. We've done a great job of coming back here, and to let those four runs come across hurt us."
Yankees pitching coach Dave Eiland said that some of Hughes' earlier troubles had been related to a mechanical flaw in which he rushed his delivery and cost himself crispness. Not so on Wednesday, as both Eiland and Hughes thought that the right-hander was trying to be too fine with the Philadelphia hitters.
Phil running on empty
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"Sometimes, I try to go with scouting reports instead of just being aggressive like I have been all year," Hughes said. "The biggest thing for me is to attack the zone and not really worry about the hitters' weaknesses, but my strengths. That's just something I need to get back to, and I have no doubt I'll be able to do that going forward."
Hughes said that he was not sure if Davis had even heard what he had to say. Asked what exactly that was, Hughes grinned and said he could not recall.
"I regret it -- it was the emotions of the moment," Hughes said. "It's one of those things, and I went back and looked at the pitches, and they weren't as close as I thought they were. It falls on me."
The Yankees need better showings out of their relievers than they saw in Game 1. After CC Sabathia held the Phillies to two runs on four hits in seven innings, New York relievers combined to permit four runs and five hits in the final two frames of the series-opening loss.
"We've been getting good performances out of our starting pitching, and our hitters have been doing a good job," Hughes said. "I really feel like the weak link right now is our bullpen. We need to put what happened these last few games aside and do what we can do."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.