Notes: Phelps is next man up

April, 26, 2013
4/26/13
11:40
PM ET
With Ivan Nova hurt, David Phelps has a chance to really cement his place in the rotation. With Phelps stretched out enough to throw 90 pitches his next time out, the Yankees could just slot him in to replace Nova in the rotation.

That is, if Nova's MRI proves to be serious.

On Friday, Phelps looked excellent, striking out nine Blue Jays among his 12 outs in his four innings of work. He gave up just two hits, one of which was an Edwin Encarnacion home run.

"I was making pitches to put guys away," said Phelps, who is 1-1 with a 5.29 ERA in 17 innings.

Phelps' nine strikeouts were the most by a Yankees reliever in three decades. In April of 1983, Jay Howell struck out nine in 4 2/3 innings in Seattle. Phelps became the first Yankees pitcher to strike out nine batters in four innings or less during the Live Ball Era.

Now he thinks he is ready to start. It looks likely he will get the opportunity.

HOT YANKEES: The Yankees are 12-5 in their last 17. They have beaten the Blue Jays in four of five games this season. They are 7-1 in games decided by two runs or less.

HOW DO YOU SPELL RELIEF? The Yankees' pen has allowed just three earned runs in the last 15 combined innings. Though Mariano Rivera loaded the bases, he picked up his eighth save in as many chances. It ties the third longest steak to start a season of his career. His longest? He went 28 games in 2008. Rivera has converted his last 31 chances at Yankee Stadium. He is pretty good.
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

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.283 6 41 44
OTHER LEADERS
HRM. Teixeira 17
RBIM. Teixeira 47
RB. Gardner 54
OPSM. Teixeira .794
WM. Tanaka 12
ERAM. Tanaka 2.51
SOM. Tanaka 135