When Phil Hughes takes the mound tonight against the Cleveland Indians, he'll be trying to keep himself in contention for a rather impressive all-time Major League Baseball record.
Hughes, who had a horrendous season with the Yankees last year, has put together a display of pitching control that would make Greg Maddux blush.
According to FOX Sports North, Hughes' strikeout-to-walk ratio of 11.0 is equal to the greatest control season in big-league history, set by Mets starting pitcher Bret Saberhagen in 1994. Entering tonight's game, Hughes has 176 strikeouts and just 16 walks.
"I'm disappointed giving up walks whatever the case, especially when I have a guy 0-2," Hughes said, referring to an at-bat he lost against the White Sox in his last start. "I sort of tried to avoid walks, whatever the situation. It was disappointing in the moment. Hopefully my next couple starts out, I can avoid them and see where it shakes out at the end."
His 16 walks are the fewest in the majors. Hisashi Iwakuma of the Mariners, who oh by the way is 5-0 with a 0.00 ERA in his career against the Twins, has issued 18 walks. The rest of the best control pitchers have walked 30-plus hitters.
The Star Tribune reports that Iwakuma is also second with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 7.89 – a large difference from Hughes.
On the season, the Twins' right-hander is 15-10 with a 3.56 ERA. He's won more games than any other starting pitcher who signed a multi-year contract with a new team last off-season.
“There’s no doubt Phil Hughes has answered all the things we were looking to accomplish with the signing,’’ Twins General Manager Terry Ryan told the Star Tribune. “He provided wins. He’s provided innings. He’s provided leadership.
“Unfortunately, the team has not performed well. That’s another story.’’