Mixed results from Florida for both the Sox and Yanks yesterday. The Yanks Kei Igawa pitched 3 innings against Atlanta, gave up no runs and only 1 hit, but walked 4, including the first 2 batters he faced. This prompted a mound meeting with the Gator and Jorge, after which he consecutively fanned three professional hitters: Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones, and Craig Wilson. He had 2 more strikeouts before he was done. “Effectively wild” said Posada. We’d prefer he not be that wild. Jef Karstens has also impressed, and though he is slated for the pen/AAA, his development is making a certain injury prone starter seem quite expendable. For the Soz, Josh Becket pitched 5 innings against the Mets, and the good news for SFs is that he walked none and k’ed 6 in the process. The bad news: 6 hits, 3 runs. The story of this game, however, was surely Oliver Perez, who looked to be a future ace a couple of years ago, before hitting the skids for no clearly discernible reason. He went 5 innings with 9 ks. If he rebounds, the Mets could have picked up a real winner on the cheap, and credit to Rick Peterson for help turning him around.
While I’m at it, a brief note on Phil Hughes. His spring performance was disappointing, but the tools are there for success. His fastball and slider are effective; he became timid with them, however, while facing ML batters. He could sure use a change to supplement his hard stuff and that wonderful lollipop curve. He could also be a good deal more aggressive. It would have been nice to see Hughes go high and tight a couple of times, to take full command of the plate, to put a little fear in the mind of the opposition. He never did that. It would also have been nice to see him lead with that killer curve at least once or twice as a first pitch: a nice trick that Moose and Wells have employed to great effectiveness in recent years. The kid’s still learning. He’d do well to watch some video of Pedro in his prime. No one’s ever been better at controlling the plate and keeping batters off balance. Hughes has great stuff. But he needs to develop it, and learn better how to deploy it. When he does, look out.