CLEVELAND -- The New York Yankees’ bats could muster very little as they fell victim to a complete-game shutout by the Cleveland Indians’ Justin Masterson in Game 1 on Monday. Yankees starter David Phelps (1-2) had a solid outing, fanning seven in 6 2/3 innings, but one mistake -- a solo home run by Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis in the first inning -- would prove to be the difference.
Phelps said that he simply missed his location with a 2-2 fastball and Kipnis made him pay.
“I didn’t really have fastball command at all, and it showed,” said Phelps. “It was a battle out there. They did a good job sitting on pitches and they made me work.”
For all of the work, Phelps allowed just four hits. Though he walked five Indian batters, the 26-year-old right-hander was able to utilize his off-speed pitches to induce weak ground balls and pop-ups.
“My change-up was really good again today,” said Phelps. “A lot of behind-in-the-count, off-speed pitches that we were getting ground balls or pop-ups on. Those times when I was ahead in the count, we were putting guys away early. The guys made plays behind me. I was pretty lucky today -- I walked five guys and was still out there in the seventh inning.”
Phelps’ outing allowed the Yankees to save their weary bullpen. Prior to the first game of Monday’s doubleheader, Yankees manager Joe Girardi stated that Vidal Nuno (the starting pitcher for Game 2) would throw roughly 75 pitches, putting pressure on the 'pen. Phelps’ afternoon required just 1 1/3 (scoreless) innings from relief pitchers Boone Logan and Preston Claiborne.
“Doubleheader or no doubleheader, it’s my job,” said Phelps. “It’s what I’m trying to do. We’ve got so many games in a row and losing an off-day, our bullpen is taxed and I know I have to go out there and pitch as deep as I can. Fortunately, I had a couple quick innings in there at the end.”
• The loss snaps the Yankees five-game winning streak.
• This loss marks just the fourth time this season that the Yankees have been shut out. Three of said shutouts have come on the road.
• This marks just the third time since 1994 that the Yankees have been shut out at Progressive Field, the others coming on June 21, 1998 (11-0) and July 8, 2003 (4-0).
• The Yankees have gone 14-1-16 in doubleheaders since 2000 ,getting swept just once (September 17, 2006 at Yankee Stadium against the Boston Red Sox)
• Yankees closer Mariano Rivera was honored between games, receiving a gold record in coordination with Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The record of choice: Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.”