(Good, but not good enough. Courtesy of the AP)
I imagine the "let's play two" phrase never factored in a roster being in such disarray as the Yankees' presently is. Just takes all the fun out of the idea when you know Alberto Gonzalez is going to be involved. But, such was the hand the Yanks had been dealt and they looked to play it correctly and keep their winning streak going earlier today in Cleveland. David Phelps was on the mound, likely looking at at least 1 more start after Nova's setback yesterday, and the Yankees needed him to provide some length to cover for Vidal Nuno in the second game.
- Phelps was shaky through 3 innings, fighting command issues with both his 4-seamer and his offspeed stuff. He gave up a run in the 1st on a Jason Kipnis solo HR, but limited it to that and struck out 4 batters.
- Opposing pitcher Justin Masterson displayed much better command, mixing both his fastballs and slider well in limiting the Yankee lineup to just 2 hits and no runs through 4. He had to work out of a bases loaded situation in the 2nd, but facing Gonzalez is always makes that task easier.
- The balancing act continued for Phelps through the middle innings. He walked 2 in the 4th and worked around it, then threw a 12-pitch, strikeout-strikeout-groundout 5th inning.
- Masterson continued to best him through innings. The Yankee hitters were playing right into his hands, swinging early and often in the count and hitting a lot of grounders, and Masterson helped facilitate those swings with a lot of early strikes.
- Gutsy move by Joe leaving Phelps in for the 7th, and an equally gutsy job by Phelps almost getting through the inning. He exited after giving up a double and a walk with 2 outs and Boone Logan cleaned up.
- The offense just never got going. They went down as quietly in the 8th and 9th as they did in every other innings, giving Masterson a complete game victory. Kudos to Preston Claiborne for a solid bottom of the 8th.
- Phelps: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, 7 K. Phelps chose to not head my advice of being more efficient and throwing his fastball for strikes, and it probably cost him another inning of work. 5 walks is never a good number, but give him credit for working out of jams and keeping the game close. His stuff has proven to be more than capable of getting Major League hitters out.
- 1-5 spots in the order: Combined 2-19, 1 BB, 5 K, 6 LOB. You can live with a nothing performance from the bottom of the order when it's the guys the Yankees played in this game. What you can't live with is an equally useless performance from the top of the order, from guys like Ichiro, Cano, and Hafner. They shouldn't be swinging early in the count all the time and popping up and failing to move runners over. Tough to win when nobody hits.
The second game of the series is coming up in less than an hour. Nuno makes his first career Major League start for the Yankees. Trevor Bauer gets the ball for Cleveland.