Phil Hughes(notes) has enjoyed some extra rest before he tries to win his sixth straight start. It should be a challenge since he’s going up against a former Cy Young Award winner who has thrown back-to-back complete games.
New York (47-28) opted not to pitch the 24-year-old Hughes (10-1, 3.17 ERA) during its six-game road trip last week in order to limit his innings. He’s one behind Tampa Bay’s David Price(notes) for the AL lead in victories.
“I don’t think I’ve pitched well enough to really have that record,” Hughes told MLB.com. “I’ve pitched some good games, but the offense has been great. Some of them, I’ve been lucky and have tried to just keep us in the game. Yeah, I’m surprised, but it’s great. Every time I take the hill, I want to win.”
Hughes is 5-0 with a 3.86 ERA since his last loss, and 6-0 with a 3.71 ERA in seven outings at home heading into his second career start against Seattle (31-44). The right-hander gave up three runs over seven innings in a 5-3 win over the Mets in his last outing June 19.
He’ll be pitching opposite one of baseball’s best in Lee (6-3, 2.39), who may be on the trading block again with the Mariners well out of contention. The 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner would be a prize acquisition as he’s turning in a spectacular season with 76 strikeouts and four walks.
“I feel good,” said Lee, who hasn’t issued a walk in 37 innings. “I like where I’m at.”
Lee pitched a six-hitter in a 1-0 win over Cincinnati on June 18, and followed that up by scattering nine hits and striking out nine Wednesday in an 8-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs.
The left-hander is facing New York for the first time since going 2-0 with a 2.81 ERA in two starts for Philadelphia in last year’s World Series. Including one outing in the postseason, he’s 4-0 with a 1.26 ERA in his last four games in the Bronx - two at the new Yankee Stadium.
Cano was the hero as the Yankees capped a 4-2 trip with an 8-6, 10-inning win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday night. His two-run homer in the 10th put New York ahead after the Yankees scored four runs in the ninth to tie the contest.
Seattle, which is last in the AL with 255 runs, re-acquired veteran slugger Russell Branyan(notes) from Cleveland on Saturday. Branyan hit .263 with 10 homers and 24 RBIs this year after homering 31 times in less than five months for Seattle in 2009.
The Yankees won six of 10 meetings with the Mariners last season.