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Keep the Ball In The Park

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Phil Hughes might have had plenty of people betting MLB World Series in a real spin last year as he gave away plenty of home runs in the less than pitcher friendly environment in New York.

This year it may well be that in Minnesota heís in a more laid-back atmosphere and more importantly in a far more pitcher friendly stadium. After seven seasons with the Yankees, Hughes signed a $24 million, three-year contract to make Target Field his new home.

Hughes was originally chosen as the 23rd pick of the 2004 draft but itís been a career that so far has been dogged by inconsistency and injuries and lots of balls disappearing over outfield fences. In the past two seasons, Hughes allowed 39 homers in 177 innings at home and just 20 in 160 innings on the road.

But it was the contrast between his numbers at Yankee Stadium and other American League ball parks last season that was remarkable, conceding 17 home runs in the Big Apple and 7 away from that arena and it was just obvious that the environment there didnít suit Hughes at all.

That record last season led to constant doubts in the mind of Hughes and when those sort of doubts start to creep in itís hard to function on the mound and it may be that the move to the Twins will give him a chance to clear his mind and just get on with the job in hand. The Twins have added Hughes and Ricky Nolasco to their rotation this year after their starters last year had the worst ERA in the Majors last season.

Part of the reason that Hughes came to the attention of the Twins was the way that he played against them last season and it appears that heíll be glad to be out of the glare of the fan and media spotlight that he constantly faced in New York.

In Minnesota, he'll be throwing to new Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki now that Joe Mauer has made the switch to first base and it could well be that Target Field suits his attacking style of pitching far more than it ever did in New York; this could well be something remembering if you are including the Twins in your MLB betting strategy this year.

It could be that we see a new and very different Phil Hughes this year in and environment that will suit him far better than he has been used to.
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  1. Troy Larson's Avatar
    I think the key to the Twins season will be starting pitching. Yes, we've got a couple of upgrades and if Hughes can keep the ball in the park, I would have to agree that he'd be a much different pitcher. By the way, while we're talking about pitching, many people would say that pitching is anywhere from 75-90 percent of the game. Point is, keep the ball in the park and keep runs from scoring.
  2. Hosken Bombo Disco's Avatar
    I agree, Hughes is an excellent "change of scene" candidate! I do believe he'll be a different pitcher here. Some of those Yankee Stadium home runs might still become Target Field doubles, but having Buxton and Hicks in the outfield soon will also help.
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