First Pitch: Nova tries to hold serve

March, 12, 2013
3/12/13
6:00
AM ET
TAMPA, Fla. -- David Phelps has thrown inning after inning like an ace, while Ivan Nova has basically matched him.

In Port Charlotte on Tuesday, Nova will try to hold serve against the Rays -- and, really, Phelps. Nova enters having allowed one run in five innings (1.80), while Phelps has also given up one run, in a team-high 14 innings (0.64).

There is really no favorite in this race so far. The fact that Phelps has more bullpen experience will likely not be a factor in the Yankees’ decision making. They are going to go with the man they think is the better starter.

So far, the decision is a hard one, which, as Joe Girardi said the other day, is not a bad thing.

UP NOW: Brian Cashman made some news, saying he would love to have Chipper Jones become a Yankee. The real story is that Derrek Lee is a possibility.

ON DECK: The distinguished Wallace Matthews is back and will be in Port Charlotte to chronicle all the action.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Phelps or Nova? Who do you want in the five spot?
Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Masahiro Tanaka
WINS ERA SO IP
12 2.51 135 129
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Ellsbury .283
HRM. Teixeira 17
RBIM. Teixeira 48
RB. Gardner 55
OPSM. Teixeira .803
ERAM. Tanaka 2.51
SOM. Tanaka 135