No AL pitcher won more games during the day last season than Phil Hughes.
The afternoon hours haven’t been nearly as kind to the Minnesota Twins right-hander in 2015.
Making his fourth day start, Hughes looks to avoid becoming the majors’ first five-game loser Wednesday against the visiting Detroit Tigers.
Hughes (0-4, 4.39 ERA) went 11-2 with a 3.26 ERA in 16 starts during the day in his first season with Minnesota, tying Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto for the most victories in the majors.
After signing a three-year, $42 million extension in the offseason, Hughes already surpassed his loss total while going 0-3 with a 5.30 ERA during the afternoon.
Overall, the Twins (9-11) haven’t provided much support by totaling two runs with Hughes on the mound. Though his 0.68 run support average is by far the lowest of any major league starter, Hughes has hurt himself by giving up six homers in those four outings.
In his first night start Friday at Seattle, Hughes yielded six hits and struck out nine over eight innings during an impressive duel with Felix Hernandez, but two of those hits left the park in the 2-0 defeat.
”There’s two pitches I’d like to have back. It seems like that’s kind of the story of my year so far,” he said. "It seems like (the home runs) are the turning points of the game.”
Hughes, who didn’t allow a homer while going 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA against the Tigers in 2014, gave up a two-run shot to Alex Avila and J.D. Martinez’s solo drive plus another run over six innings of a 4-0 loss at Detroit on opening day.
He’ll look to help the Twins take the series after they beat Detroit (14-7) for the first time in five games this season, 3-2 on Tuesday. Danny Santana had three hits and Kurt Suzuki added two, including a go-ahead single in the seventh as Minnesota improved to 8-5 since losing six of the first seven.
Santana, 6 for 10 in the last three games, is batting .525 with 10 RBIs in nine career home games versus Detroit.
The second-year shortstop went 0 for 4 with a strikeout against Shane Greene (3-1, 3.00) on April 9 when the right-hander allowed an unearned run over eight innings of a 7-1 win. Greene gave up an earned run and 12 hits over 23 innings in his first three starts then was tagged for eight runs and nine hits in four-plus during a 13-1 loss to Cleveland on Friday.
"He’s a sinkerball pitcher, and if he doesn’t have his changeup in the right location and if he’s not down with that two-seamer – I don’t want to say it’s easy pickings, but major league hitters take advantage of that," manager Brad Ausmus told MLB’s official website.
Including the postseason, Miguel Cabrera hit .471 with five home runs against Hughes heading into 2015 but went 0 for 3 earlier this month.
Yoenis Cespedes is 5 for 10 with a home run, two doubles and a triple versus Hughes. He’s batting .378 with 25 RBIs in 20 games against Minnesota, hitting safely in all 11 at Target Field while batting .444 and driving in 18.