An 18-game winner last season, Hughes looks to turn in a solid effort Thursday night in the finale of a rain-shortened two-game home set with the Baltimore Orioles.
Instead, the right-hander has allowed 11 runs and three homers among 12 hits over six innings so far. He lasted two innings last Friday after giving up six runs and not receiving a decision in a 9-6 loss at Boston.
“It’s no fun to sit on a bad outing for four days, so I’m excited to get out there, get things going again and hopefully work on some things to get back where I need to be,” Hughes said. “I can’t afford to go out and throw two innings or four innings every start with the stuff I have. I have to turn it around.”
Hughes’ fastball is averaging 89.4 mph after it clocked in at 92.5 last season, according to the Yankees’ official website. He has worked with pitching coach Larry Rothschild on a mechanical change since the loss to the Red Sox.
“This is my job, my livelihood,” he said. “When I don’t have the stuff I know I’m capable of going out there with, it’s worrisome and frustrating.”
Hughes went 2-0 with a 2.41 ERA in three starts against Baltimore (6-4) last season. Adam Jones(notes) was hitless in nine at-bats while Nick Markakis(notes) went 1 for 9 in those games for the Orioles.
The Orioles may have an edge in the pitching matchup based on how Jake Arrieta(notes) (1-1, 8.68) fared as a rookie against the Yankees last year. Arrieta won both starts against New York, including his major league debut June 10, and posted a 3.65 ERA.
This is the right-hander’s first road start after he went 4-3 with a 4.56 ERA in nine outings away from Camden Yards last season.
A solid start in his season debut was followed by Saturday’s disastrous effort in a 13-1 loss to Texas in which Arrieta allowed eight runs over 3 1-3 innings.
Alex Rodriguez(notes) has yet to face Arrieta. The Yankees third baseman returned after sitting out Sunday’s 4-0 loss to the Red Sox with flulike symptoms, and hit a three-run homer in his first at-bat in Wednesday’s 7-4 victory.
Markakis and Jones each went 0 for 4. Markakis is in a 2-for-22 slump while Jones is hitting .189.