Phelps ran into a bit of trouble early, but worked out of it and then settled down to three consecutive scoreless innings after that. He struggled again in the 5th inning and then was lifted, but when all was said and done he had pitched 4.2 scoreless innings.
It wasn’t a great start, but it was a solid one and he lowed his ERA to 3.08 after 26.1 innings pitched this season.
“These first two games out of the gate I haven’t been as in the attack mode as I should have,” Phelps told Chad Jennings of the Journal News. “That’s what I’m really kicking myself for. It leads to a big pitch count in the first inning and that’s two starts in a row I’ve done that. It’s really frustrating. Having a 10-12 pitch first inning makes it a lot easier.”
Phelps will still likely lose his rotation spot, especially since Phil Hughes finally had a good start the other day, but it will be of no fault of his own. I just hope that the Yankees don’t decide to keep Freddy Garcia in the long relief role and send Phelps back down to Triple-A. By this point he has shown that he deserves to stay at this level in some role. The team would be better off with him and by sending him down he might get the wrong message and get discouraged.
We’ll have to wait and see how the Yankees handle the situation on Sunday when they have to put Pettitte on the roster.