New York Yankees fans are beginning to get fed up with two players—one because of his play and the other because of, well, himself.
Phil Hughes is one of the most inconsistent pitchers in baseball. That alone makes him difficult to watch, as you never know what kind of performance he'll bring with him to the mound on any given night. When he's on, he's one of the more dominating pitchers in the American League East.
When he's off, then you can get a performance like the shellacking he received at the hands of the Seattle Mariners.
On the season, Hughes has a 4.80 ERA and a 3-4 record. His WHIP of 1.355 is above his career mark of 1.297. His numbers are puzzling, though.
Hughes' ability to dominate a lineup just doesn't seem to show up every single night. He has the stuff to overpower a lineup—when everything's working. Hughes' problem is that his stuff isn't always working. And when it isn't, he becomes a batting practice pitcher.
He allowed 35 home runs in 32 starts last season and is on his way to coming close to that mark yet again. He has served up 12 home runs in 12 starts thus far. The issue here is that Hughes' fastball is extremely hittable when he's not able to locate it.
His fastball is straight with very little movement. Hitters can capitalize on these mistake pitches because of this lack of movement. When he can hit his spots, Hughes is nearly unhittable.
The real culprit for Yankees fans, however, is none other than the human headache—Alex Rodriguez.
It's nearly impossible to construct a time line of Rodriguez's mishaps. He's been in the news for just as many negatives as he has been for positives (excluding positive testing—see what I did there?), and Yankees fans are simply sick of him.
The latest Biogenesis scandal has pretty much been the icing on the cake. Already at a delicate point in his career (he's hit no more than 30 home runs each of the past four seasons), Rodriguez put himself in a hole by getting himself tied up in the Miami-based clinic.
There's still no telling whether he is guilty or not (the justice system will tell us that), but just being connected in some capacity is bad enough. Rodriguez has admitted to using steroids in the past, so a possible second offense is enough to put him in the doghouse for Yankees fans.
Of course, that's assuming his injury-ridden 2011 and 2012 seasons weren't enough to get him there.
Rodriguez hasn't been completely healthy since 2007, the year he slugged 54 home runs and won his third AL MVP award. He missed 24 games in 2008, 38 games in 2009, 25 games in 2010, 63 games in 2011 and 40 games in 2012. That amounts to a total of 190 games missed, plus the entire beginning of the 2013 season.
This inability to stay on the field (and inability to produce when on it) has made him a liability for the Yankees—and the fans know it.
Granted, Rodriguez seems to be working hard amid the controversy to get back into playing shape. His determination to get back and perform should be respected, but Rodriguez himself has likely lost nearly all the respect of his former fans.
Rodriguez has always been notorious for his selfish attitude toward the game. His first word regarding the Biogenesis scandal was "myself." This makes him an instant candidate to be berated by the fans.
The Yankees expect nothing less than a championship every year—this is not an uncommon fact. The last thing the team needs (or the fans want) is a player concerned with his personal performances over the performance of the team.
Rodriguez is working hard to help his team win a championship now, but that hasn't always been the case in the past. He was juicing on terrible Texas Rangers teams to inflate his numbers, and who knows if he's been juicing the past few seasons to get his own numbers back to respectable marks?
The last thing I want to do is accuse Rodriguez of something he may not have done. That's simply not my intention. But, it's hard to overlook his past and the immense amount of evidence against him.
Even if he's innocent of the most recent accusations, Rodriguez is still a player whom Yankees fans love to hate. They are fed up with his antics and persona, and are ever-awaiting the day they see him hang up the pinstripes.
I'm sure they are hoping desperately that this happens before his contract expires after 2017, but that's another discussion for another day.