(The Spread) – The biggest question mark surrounding the Yankees coming into the 2011 season was their pitching, which just took a hit on Friday.

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The Yankees placed right-hander Phil Hughes on the 15-day disabled list with “dead arm.” His drop in velocity has limited his effectiveness and the team finally decided to shut him down in hopes that he can rediscover his heater.

Hughes lasted just 4.1 innings last night in the Yankees’ win over the Orioles. He allowed five runs on seven hits while striking out one and giving up a home run to Nick Markakis. In 10.1 innings of work this season, Hughes has an ERA of 13.94 and has struck out just three batters.

Lance Pendelton was recalled to take Hughes’ spot on the roster but it’ll likely be Bartolo Colon who slides into the rotation. Hughes is being heavily counted on this year in the absence of Andy Pettitte, who decided to retire this offseason after months of deliberation.

The Yankees currently rank 23rd in pitching with a team ERA of 4.73. Thanks to their potent offense, they’ve won seven of their first 11 games and two in a row, but how long will it be before their rotation starts to hold them back? With Boston marred in an ugly 2-9 start and Tampa Bay struggling as well, the Yankees could run away with the AL East. But not if their pitching doesn’t hold up.

Oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGLOBAL.com currently list the Yankees’ odds to win the 2011 World Series at 6/1, right behind the Phillies at 3/1.

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