Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Phelps, Marlins Win Big Over Eovaldi, Yankees But Trade Is Still A No-Decision

By Barry Millman

Along with the 12-2 beatdown the Marlins laid on the Yankees Tuesday emerged the amusing narrative from many in the mainstream and social media that since ex-Yankee David Phelps iced his old team and new Yankee Nathan Eovaldi, the guy he was traded for, got scorched like a ballpark frank, the Yankees got taken to the cleaners in that deal.

If one judges trades based on a single game, unquestionably. 

Their pitching lines Tuesday night were the stuff of fantasy riches: Phelps - 7IP 2ER 6H 5K 2BB vs Eovaldi - 0.2IP 8ER 9H. 0K 0BB. 

"His fastball was finding the middle and his split was up, and that's a bad combination," said manager Joe Girardi after the game. Understatement of the week. In less than an inning he gave up three more runs than he'd given up in an entire game all season.

Of course, Eovaldi's 36-pitch appearance wouldn't have been quite the masterpiece of mayhem it was without a great band playing behind him. Accompanying him on bobbled infield single was shortstop Didi Gregorius; on botched double, Carlos Beltran, and in a virtuoso performance, Chris Young on catchable triple. All that was missing to complete the cycle of defensive ineptitude was a flyball bouncing off someone's head for a homer. Yes, quite an inning. 

For Phelps, it was his fourth win against three losses. For Eovaldi, it was just his second loss against five wins. Coming into the game, the pair's ERAs were 4.11 and 4.13, respectively. They left 3.96 and 5.12.

Nate remains the second-winningest pitcher in the Yankees rotation. In his last start he was robbed of his sixth win by the pen after seven solid innings, and prior to that the team had won seven of his previous nine starts. He just turned 25 -- more than three years younger than Phelps -- and is a raw work-in-progress who is still learning secondary pitches nobody had ever bothered to teach him before. He has undeniable natural tools, he's 5-2  under the bright lights; and Phelps, who never won more than six games in a season in pinstripes, carries a worse career ERA and FIP as a starter. 

Bad game? Absolutely. Bad trade?

You've got to be kidding. Too soon. Way, way too soon.

Meanwhile, the Yankees only managed to score two runs, which wouldn't have been enough to win even if Tanaka had been on the mound going the distance. So Nate couldn't have chosen a better game to waste one. File this one away under learning experience, forget it and get 'em next time.

It was nice seeing David again though, wasn't it? Maybe when Nate grows up to be his age he can be just as good.

You can email Barry Millman and follow him on Twitter @nyyankeefanfore.