By now you’ve read that our newly bespectacled non-Joba-ace-of-the-future, Phil Hughes, had an impressive outing last night in Toronto: throwing strikes over 8 innings, he allowed but 2 runs on 5 hits (1 a late dinger to Scott Rolen), with 0 walks and 6 ks. He showed slider, fastball, and curve, with a sometimes change. This, combined with a decent outing last week against Chicago, has the Yankee blogosphere re-enthused. Over on the Banter, Cliff Corcoran writes, that if he continues to locate, “he should be able to dominate the way we’ve all expected him to.” Color me hopeful, but with reservations. One solid outing with a friendly strike-zone in a meaningless game is not quite the sample to inspire confidence. A bit more problematic, as far as I’m concerned: every one of those ks came on his (admittedly wicked) curve. That’s great when that pitch is on, when the ump is calling it, and with a team that hasn’t seen him much, and can’t identify the pitch so easily (most of the ks were looking). The inability to get batters to swing and miss at his fastball (or at anything else), represents a problem. Rolen tagged one of those curves for his dinger, and that was just one of several shots to the deep reaches of the ballpark. There was much comparison of Hughes to Moose during the game, and I think that’s instructive. Moose this year was consistently able to win the intellectual battle at the plate, fooling hitters with his variety, not a single pitch. Also, Moose’s control was something exceptional. And while Hughes threw mostly strikes (again, the friendly ump was a bit of a help), there were times when he missed wildly. In all, this was an encouraging outing, but I think Cliff’s suggestion (and the suggestion elsewhere) that if Hughes can just pitch like that he’ll become an ace is wrong. The good news is he has terrific tools, and he’s so young there’s reason to believe he can put it all together. On that note, there’s some speculation as to whether the Yanks ask Moose or Pettitte back next year. I know there’s a lot of love in Yankeeland for Pettitte (not so much from me), but if it were up to me this would be an easy decision in favor of the guy with 19 wins and counting.