Can Phil Hughes come off the DL and pitch effectively?
Jul 11, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Phil Hughes (45) pitches to the Detroit Tigers in the third inning at Target Field. The Twins won 9-5. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
Phil Hughes last year was the Twins ace. He set a MLB record with a 11.63 SO/BB. He led the league in BB9 and won 16 games. Hughes even finished seventh in the AL Cy Young Award voting. It was a career year. Coming into this season Hughes was expected to perform close to how he did in 2014. Unfortunately, Hughes has not been as successful. He is tied for sixth among all MLB pitchers with 28 home runs given up. In 23 starts, he has given up a home run in 19 of them.
There is a glimmer of hope. Hughes went 10-2 from May to July. That is the only bright spot this season for him. In August, Hughes was put on the DL. Recently he has been activated and will pitch against the Tigers.
Hughes has the most playoff experience of any of the starters. Which would make him a prime candidate to start on the mound in a wild card game. However, he does not have very good numbers in playoff starts. In five starts Hughes has just one win. Even more concerning is how he will pitch in his first game back from the DL. Set to start for the Twins against the Tigers today, it will very interesting to see how he pitches.
Based on experience, Hughes seems like the logical choice. With how the season has gone for him it might mean that he does not start in the one game wild card playoff.
Next: Tommy Milone