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Hughes Is Homegrown, A Loyal Oswalt, & Marcum's Major Part

 

The New York Yankees are simply not my favorite team. They take over all of the sports channels, they can buy any player they want at pretty much any price, and ultimately, I share in the view that they are the evil dark empire of baseball. Still, with all of that being true, they also know how to grow their own talent. An example of that great scouting and development is pitcher Phil Hughes. I’ve been hearing about him since ’06 and ’07 when he pitched for Trenton and Scranton. He finally reached the big apple in ’07 and was unconvincing in his 13 starts. That year ended with him winning 5 games and with a sour ERA of 4.46. The following year he pitched more games but performed just as bad. In ’09 the Yankees decided to put him in the bullpen, you know, the place where all faltering starting pitchers wind up. His numbers looked a little better in that capacity. He pitched in 51 games (only 7 as a starter) and he won 8 games in 86 innings. Hughes was much more effective. Hitters had a .217 batting average against him and it seemed like he had found a home in that distant bullpen as a relief man. But, this new season has seen Phil Hughes flourish in his original place as a starting pitcher. He’s already 5-0 in his first 7 starts of the season. His ERA is a respectable 2.25 and opposing hitters are reduced to a .182 batting average. This is a 23 year old pitcher who is yet to unfold his full potential, he’s is finally producing after struggling to adapt in New York.

 



A pitcher that has already proven a lot is Roy Oswalt. This is his 10th season as a major league pitcher, and during that time has won 20 games twice. He pitches for the Houston Astros and has done so his entire career. This year he has decided to continue down that path by telling the organization the he does not plan on opting for another team. His loyalty comes after losing a couple of well pitched games due to a lack of run support. He faced the infamous Lincecum recently and was denied a victory regardless of having pitched 7 solid innings of 2 run ball. Overall this year, Oswalt has started in 8 games in which he’s accumulated a record of 2-5 with a great ERA of 2.62. This is a result of pitching for a team that is simply not winning baseball games with the bat. The Astros are on a 4 game losing streak and are at the bottom of the National League Central standings. They are also the worst hitting team in baseball with a dismal batting average of .227. Yet, Oswalt has expressed his desires to stay with the team and help them build a future winner.

 

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The Blue Jays on the other hand are putting up a good but futile fight in the American League East. Their only 3 games behind the 2nd place Yankees. One of the reasons is a good starting rotation lead by Ricky Romero and Shaun Marcum. Since ’06 Marcum has been getting the opportunity to pitch in the major leagues. He came into the league with the Blue Jays and has never even punched the lights out of a 20 watt light bulb. Marcum has pained his way through Tommy John surgery. The 28 year old teetered between a starting role and that of a relief pitcher in the ’07 season. Marcum started 14 of the 21 games he appeared in and managed an ugly 3-4 record with an ERA hovering above 5.00. The baseball gods brought him back for another season in ’08, and was able to pitch in more games. Still between roles, he started in 25 of his 38 games. It was a season of 12 wins, and although his ERA was 4.13, Marcum showed he can withstand a long season of physiological stress. That’s the reason Marcum saw the ’09 as the year he became an official starter. Pitching in 25 starts he’s improved many aspects of his game, his ERA dropped, and opposing hitters declined in their effectiveness against the right hander. Enter 2010; what were looking at is a much different pitcher. Marcum is fully aware that as long as he stays healthy he can win games. He was once labeled as the ace of the rotation, but Marcum is humble enough to know that those types of titles mean nothing. What does mean something are the numbers he’s posting right now. In his 9 starts of the new season, Marcum has won 3 games and has posted a commanding ERA of 2.61. The Southwest Missouri State alumnus is slowly building a dignified season in Toronto this year, even though there have been a few slip ups. The Blue Jays are carrying themselves with a definite high standard of competition, and Marcum as a second starter is becoming a perfect torch and inning burner.

 

 

 

By Adrian Nevarez
MLBcenter.com Staff Writer


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