Marlins' Phelps pitches a win against former Yankees
MIAMI -- Most trades get analyzed from afar, with players never crossing paths to decide who truly won the transaction.
For one game, however, the Miami Marlins and New York Yankees got a glimpse at the early favorite based on Tuesday's pitching matchup.
Right-hander David Phelps, part of the five-player December trade, tossed seven solid innings in a 12-2 win at Marlins Park. Flamethrower Nathan Eovaldi, meanwhile, exited after just 35 pitches and two outs, getting burnt for eight runs on nine hits -- including seven in a row, in the shortest outing of his career.
"It is a business, but at the same time, it's a good feeling," said Phelps, who improved to 4-3 with a 3.96 ERA. "I'll wake up tomorrow and I'll be pretty happy. For me, it was just cool going out there and pitching against some of those guys I played with for a while. I played with Mason (Williams) there in the minor leagues and he hit a double there. I was walking off the field and just smiling at him. If it's anybody else on any other team, I'm pretty upset. I have a lot of good friends over there."
Phelps, who began the season in Miami's bullpen, allowed two runs on six hits with five strikeouts and two walks. Of his 108 pitches, 77 went for strikes. Staked an eight-run cushion heading into the second, he was free to execute his gameplan of pitching inside.
Through four innings, Phelps permitted just a leadoff single to Brian McCann. He quickly erased the runner with a 5-4-3 double play. New York didn't score until the sixth and seventh on McCann's two-out RBI single and Williams' two-out RBI double, respectively.
"Phelps executed pitch after pitch and did a great job of getting it in and letting these guys continue to swing it," Marlins manager Dan Jennings said. "To put up an eight-spot early, he could be a little more free with what he wanted to throw and how he wanted to attack that lineup and he certainly did. Tremendous effort by him. That's a good hitting ballclub."
Since his outing in Colorado on June 6 when he surrendered a season-high nine runs over 3 2/3 frames, Phelps has focused on throwing inside to batters, particularly left-handed bats. He has given up just two runs in 15 innings over two outings.
"He pitched me kind of how I figured he would," said Brett Gardner, who went hitless in three at-bats with two strikeouts. "Obviously I didn't have any success off of him. The first at-bat couple good swings off of him. Made a few good pitches, especially my last at-bat (with) the front-door two-seamer. He tries to live off the edges, made a few good pitches and didn't get much going against him."
Added Yankees manager Joe Girardi: "He located well. I thought he pitched our left-handers effectively with the cutter and the comeback fastball. Same guy, same stuff, but his control was really good tonight, and we've seen that from him."
Eovaldi, the 25-year-old righty initially acquired by the Marlins from the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012 for Hanley Ramirez, may have topped 99 mph on the radar gun, but location and secondary pitches cost him.
His former teammates set a franchise mark with eight runs in the first inning. Derek Dietrich became the first Marlin since 2012 to collect a pair of hits in one frame.
According to Stats LLC, Tuesday marked the first time since July 5, 2012, that two pitchers who were traded for one another started against one another less than a year after the transaction.
"It's frustration," said Eovaldi, whose record dropped to 5-2 and ERA rose to 5.12 in his 13th start. "Going out there and -- like I said -- I've been looking forward to this start. And going out there and not making it through an inning is extremely frustrating and hurts the team."