Andy Pettitte thinks he can be back on the mound in three weeks.

After watching the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim slaughter the New York Yankees, any encouragement that the team could manage without the Southpaw went right out the window.

Phil Hughes went into the game with a 3-0 career record against the Halos. That was short and sweet after Hughes gave up nine hits, six runs and two home runs over five innings.

It was the icing on the cake on this streak of bad luck the Yankees have had since the start of the second half of the season.

Hughes started the season on fire, but he has been declining over the last month. His velocity is still around the mid to low 90’s, but he continually lacks command of his fastball and in turn not getting strikes.

So, Hughes relied on his cutter again, which has never been completely in control. If the pitch doesn’t cut down, it becomes ineffective and easy to hit. This became a fact with the final score reading 10-2.

The Yankees had a shot to win the game with their bats, but Angels rookie Sean O’Sullivan had a different plan after being called up earlier in the day from Triple-A. He replaced ex-Ray Scott Kazmir, who just went on the DL.

O’Sullivan faced 22 Yankee batters, throwing a total of 85 pitches, over six innings. He struck out four, walked three and allowed the only two runs to score in the first inning.

Nick Swisher smacked a homer in the bottom of the first inning.

Swisher, along with Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner, has been one of the most solid Yankees in 2010. Honestly, without Swisher’s bat the Yankees would not be in first place right now.

That was No. 17 on the season for Swisher, his ninth in the Bronx, which is one more then last season’s total.

Now the Angels are looking to sweep this mini-series. The Halos’ odds are in their favor with Joel Pineiro on the mound. Pineiro has been fabulous this season, and he faces the Yankees’ Javier Vazquez.

Vazquez has been pitching great as of late, but the Yankees have to hit. Even if they get a couple of runs, the Yankee bullpen stinks for the most part.

I wish Joe Girardi would let Joba go two or three innings for a couple of games. Joba did start last year, has four pitches and was dominant in the first three innings in last year’s games.

The team needs to give their pitchers some run support to relieve the pressure, but in this match-up, the bats have to be hot.

My other suggestion would be trying Joba out as the Yankees long reliever. Maybe he could be the Phil Hughes of 2010 and be the vital change needed.

It would be giving Joba responsibility again, but for about four to five games. If the Yankees owe anyone a few chances, Joba’s name would be at the top of the list. He deserves to see if it could work.

See, when the opposing team is the Halos, who have the most successful record against the Yankees since 2001, the Yankee bats cannot afford to go dead.

Might as well pretend your in heaven or hell….whichever works.

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