It's an all-out sprint to the All-Star break for the Yankees as they try to hold off the relentless Tampa Bay Rays. Both teams are getting it done in hopes of holding their places through the brief respite that starts Sunday night.
Tonight's match-up for the NYY vs. Seattle has an eerie light shining upon it given the strong rumors of the Mariner's lefty ace Cliff Lee possibly switching locker rooms to join the Pinstripes. If, and that's a big if, if we can put that aside for a minute, tonight's game is big. The Yanks have Phil Hughes, trying to shake off more mediocre outings than solid ones here in the last month, going against a strike-throwing lefty who can dominate the best lineups.
The pressure is on Hughes to return to the persona we saw earlier this season (Hughes Your Daddy, remember?) and keep the M's down enough where the Yankees can scrap their way to a few scores, as they did in the 3-1 win last night. NYY needs a gutty performance like Any Pettitte provided. Having won six in a row, four in a row on the road, the Yanks momentum will only be as good as their starting pitching. So, it's on Hughesie to step up and show us the effectiveness he had in April and May, which was based on good velocity, excellent location, sharp breaking stuff.
While the Yanks are in the Great Northwest the Rays tangle with a team from the shores of one of the Great Lakes, Cleveland. But, the Indians don't have Cliff Lee anymore, or anyone close to him, so they have an easier task compared to the Bombers. We all know major leaguers are not scoreboard watching, at least not until they hit the home-stretch. But, fans do it nightly. As we fans keep an eye in the rear-view mirror, Phil Hughes, it's your time to shine.