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Yankees vs. Orioles: Phil Hughes will start Game 4 for New York

Before Raul Ibanez hit two home runs, before the first pitch of Game 3 was even thrown, Yankees manager Joe Girardi announced that Phil Hughes would start Game 4.

Jim McIsaac - Getty Images

Amidst the celebration of Raul Ibanez's game 3 ALDS heroics, it needs to be noted that Phil Hughes will get the ball for the potential series clincher.

The announcement was actually made by Yankees manager Joe Girardi to beat writers before Game 3, meaning the decision was made regardless of Wednesday's outcome.

Hughes, who was inconsistent throughout the 2012 regular season, will make his first appearance of this postseason, looking to be the catalyst in eliminating the Orioles and advancing the Yankees to the ALCS.

Hughes is 2-0 in four ALDS appearances dating back to 2007, but has made only one start in his playoff career, a seven-inning performance against the Minnesota Twins in 2010 in which he allowed no runs and struck out six batters.

Last season, Hughes made two relief appearances in the ALDS against Detroit.

While three-man pitching rotations for a five-game MLB playoff series can be common, giving Yankees ace C.C. Sabathia the ball on only three days rest is clearly not something Girardi is comfortable doing. As a result, it's Hughes who gets a chance to make an imprint on these playoffs.