David Phelps (5-4, 4.01 ERA) is on the mound tonight against Zach Britton (1-2, 5.51 ERA) in game two against the Orioles. Phelps is facing the Orioles for the second time this year, first as a starter. He pitched four innings of scoreless one-hit relief against them on April 13. He is 2-1 with a 2.66 ERA in four starts this month.
Britton has shown signs in two starts since being promoted of quality pitching, but has been unable to go six innings. The 25 year old took a loss Monday to Cleveland. “He just elevated some balls, lost his command,” Buck Showalter said. “He had pretty good movement, late life. He got out of some potential sticky situations, but I thought he pitched well for five innings. But different stuff showed up there in the sixth.”
After last nights loss, the Orioles are now 2 games ahead in second place, and the Yankees are five and a half games out of first. “It’s important, because we have to try to move ahead of the teams that are ahead of us,” Joe Girardi said, “and we get Baltimore, I think, six times before the All Star break, and it gives us an opportunity.” The Yankees have been struggling since leading the division going into May 26th, but they are 12-19 since. “I think you’re pretty fortunate to have that happen,” Girardi said. “No one has really run away with it. Boston has seemed to pick it up again, and we’re going to have to pick it up if we want to remain in the race.”
Going into Friday’s game, the Bombers ranked 26th in batting average, 24th in OPS, 22nd in runs and 29th in doubles. Last season they had the second highest scoring offense and ranked first in OPS. “We’ve got to figure it out,” Girardi said. “For me to spend all my time worrying about that is not going to do me any good. The bottom line is that I think these guys are capable of getting it done, and we’ve just got to do it.”
During the current 12-19 stretch, the Yankees are averaging 3.2 runs per game, so Girardi isn’t too surprised to find his team leaning on its pitching. “On a daily basis, I don’t really think a lot about it. I think about how you’re going to win that game today,” he said. “As we left Spring Training, we said that the strength of our club was going to be our pitching, and we were probably going to have to win a lot of tight games. We’re going to have to continue to do that if we’re going to have success.”
Notes on the game.
Phelps’ last start at Camden Yards, on Sept. 6, 2012, he gave up five runs on six hits in four innings.
The Orioles lead the series 4-3.
A win tonight would be Girardi’s 600th career win as a manager.
Game kicks off at 7:15 PM (EST) on Fox