Weather can ruin a lot of things, but this one is a first. On Wednesday, Phil Hughes was starting for the last time this year and needed to pitch 8.1 innings to collect a bonus. Hughes was pitching great the whole game through the 8th until it started to rain. They played an inning in the rain, but the umpires decided to delay the game as soon as the Diamondbacks were done batting in the top of the 8th. Then things got interesting!
Hughes needed just one more out to reach 210 innings on the season, which would have given him a smooth $500,000. The sky was getting angry at that time and it poured and poured until there was standing water on the field. After a 66-minute delay, the field was still soaked as the Twins came to bat. It was not likely that Hughes was coming out to complete the game, but he was just one out away! Mother Nature was giving the Twins mysterious signals. In the end, the Twins sent out Jared Burton to save the game. Prior to the rain delay, Gardenhire had said that Hughes was going to go out to complete the game. It was not meant to be.
Hughes, clearly one of the Twins best pitchers this season, was asked by the Twins if he wanted to pitch out of the bullpen this weekend in Detroit to get his one out. Hughes graciously turned down that offer, effectively ending his season. Some people want the Twins to give Hughes that bonus, however Hughes didn’t think it was appropriate to take away innings from pitchers who are making way less money than him and his contract said 210 innings NOT 209.2 innings.
In his first year on the Twins, Hughes reestablished his all-star stuff while breaking a Major League record. Making 32 starts, Hughes was a machine, going 16-10 with an 3.52 ERA. Hughes had 186 strike outs with only 16 walks. Hughes was so dominant that he broke an all-time record with a 11.63 strikeout-to-ball ratio. Since 1901, Hughes is the only player to pitch more than 200 innings while allowing 16 or fewer walks in one season. Hughes’ season was just splendid. We will be lucky to have him as our ace for at least two more years.
And I predict that if it were up to Mother Nature, she would want the Twins to spend Hughes’ would-be bonus on adding a prime pitcher!
Written by: Michael L. Sack