David Phelps has done a lot in his first big league season. He’s been a mopup man, a trusted long man, a spot starter, an undeserving minor leaguer, and tonight he was the Yankees setup man for a day. He faced what would have to be considered the Tigers three best hitters — Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Austin Jackson — and got through it with two outs and a routine single. He fell behind against both Cabrera and Jackson before getting them out.
“It just goes to show he’s not going to let in,” Chris Stewart said. “Miguel Cabrera might be the best hitter in the game right now. (Phelps) went out on a 3-0 pitch, made a strike, and then executed a fastball in on the next pitch. Hopefully he just keeps rolling with that. That’s obviously a confidence booster, and he can just take that into the rest of the yaer.”
It’s hard not to believe in Phelps more and more as he keeps doing things like this. It wasn’t a perfect outing — Fielder had the base hit, and Phelps’ foot slipped on the mound leading to a balk — but Phelps made some big pitches. He seems to have done that a lot these past few months.
“When I first got called up, I didn’t want to get into deep counts,” he said. “I mean, I probably would have been more nervous. But now I feel like, regardless of the count, I feel like I can still make a pitch to get a guy out. That’s been the biggest thing for me.”
The more he’s done this, the more Phelps has looked like a legitimate piece of the Yankees future. In one role or another.
“As a starter you go out and you’ve got different adrenaline rushes throughout the game,” Phelps said. “Whereas, in this situation, you come in and it’s right there in front of you. It builds up during the game and you can see it coming, whereas as a starter, it can kind of get on you quick. The game can speed up on you in an instant. Here you can kind of seeing it coming and you get that rush of adrenaline right away.”