Hughes will attempt to bounce back from the worst start of his career and lead the Yankees to their fourth straight win Tuesday night against the sinking Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
CC Sabathia didn’t have his best stuff in the series opener Monday, allowing at least 10 hits in consecutive starts for only the third time in his career before leaving down 4-3 in the seventh inning.
“The ball’s up. That seems to be the common thing lately,” said Johnson, who has blown three straight saves after converting a franchise-record 35 in a row. “Just not making the adjustment.”
With several key players still out because of injuries, the Yankees have won 10 of 13 and remain atop the AL East partly due to a pitching staff that has posted a 2.85 ERA over that span.
Hughes (2-5, 5.88 ERA), though, has yet to contribute to the staff’s success during that stretch, getting roughed up for 13 runs and 13 hits over 6 1-3 innings in his last two starts. He had gone 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his previous four.
The right-hander had never failed to make it out of the first in 110 previous starts before getting only two outs in a 12-2 loss to Seattle on Wednesday.
“When I tried to go to changeup, slider, curveball, it seemed like nothing was there,” said Hughes, a 16-game winner in 2012.
His last outing against the Orioles was also a short stint, allowing five runs and nine hits - including three homers - over three-plus innings in a 5-3 loss April 13.
It’s been a different story at Camden Yards, where he’s given up only one homer while going 2-0 with a 3.06 ERA in his last three starts.
Nick Markakis who has batted .386 while hitting safely in nine of his last 10 games, has done some damage against Hughes with a .326 batting average and two homers in 43 career at-bats.
Nate McLouth should be happy about seeing Hughes again - he’s 7 for 9 with four doubles.
The Orioles will try to avoid their seventh straight loss on this eight-game homestand and eighth in a row overall at Camden Yards. It’s their worst home losing streak since an 11-game slide Aug. 22-Sept. 7, 2007.
Scheduled starter Miguel Gonzalez (2-2, 4.58) looks to end the skid in his first start since coming off the disabled list because of a blister on his right thumb.
The right-hander is 2-1 with a 2.36 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 26 2-3 innings over four career starts against the Yankees, including a solid outing in the 2012 ALDS. Gonzalez took the loss in his last start versus New York, giving up three runs and walking five over six-plus innings in a 5-2 loss April 12.
Robinson Cano was 2 for 3 versus Gonzalez after going hitless in his six previous at-bats in this matchup. He hit his 13th homer in the first inning Monday before Baltimore’s Chris Davis re-tied him for the AL lead an inning later.
Cano is batting .431 with 11 homers and 25 RBIs in his last 40 regular-season games at Camden Yards.