Yankees-Angels Preview

The Associated Press

The New York Yankees are in search of rotation help from within, and the next audition is being given to David Phelps.

The right-hander will try to turn things around for a struggling and banged-up staff Monday night in Los Angeles as the Yankees open a three-game series with the Angels.

The Yankees (16-14) have lost four of five with a 6.49 ERA and .342 opponents' batting average out of their starters after CC Sabathia allowed five runs in 3 2-3 innings of Sunday's 5-1 loss to Tampa Bay.

"We've got some things to work on," pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. "It can turn anytime and we're all thinking that it will."

The Angels (15-15) also had some pitching issues in their latest series, dropping two of three at home against Texas with their rotation allowing 14 earned runs in 14 2-3 innings. Tyler Skaggs gave up six in 2 2-3 innings of Sunday's 14-3 loss.

Phelps (0-0, 3.86 ERA) has made nine appearances out of the bullpen this season, striking out 16 in 11 2-3 innings. In 23 career starts, he's 7-6 with a 4.39 ERA, and he's gone 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA in three career appearances against the Angels.

The greater concern might be Phelps' extended layoff. He hasn't pitched since April 23 because his first scheduled start Wednesday was postponed due to rain.

"He hasn't seen hitters in a while, which is always somewhat of a concern - how he goes out there in that first inning and how sharp he is," manager Joe Girardi told the team's official website.

Derek Jeter will also be in the spotlight in his final regular-season series at Angel Stadium, but the shortstop is likely more concerned with getting his game together. Jeter went 0 for 4 Sunday and stranded four runners to complete a 3-5 homestand at 4 for 30 while going hitless in 13 at-bats.

"I concern myself with how I feel," Jeter said. "I feel good."

His career numbers are about the same against Angels starter Jered Weaver - 6 for 31 - but that's not the only reason Weaver is sad to see him go.

"Obviously he's one of the greatest hitters of all-time, a no-doubt Hall of Famer, the owner of many championships," Weaver told the team's official website. "He's spent 20 years in New York and I've never heard a bad thing about him. He's not only a great ballplayer, he's a very special person."

After a trying start to the season, Weaver (2-2, 4.00) has trimmed his ERA by going 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in his last three starts. He lasted 5 1-3 innings his last time out, surrendering two runs on eight hits while earning the win in a 6-4 victory over Cleveland.

"Obviously, I would've liked to get deeper in the game," Weaver said. "I made the most of it, and the offense put up some runs."

He could need more against New York, a team he's gone 1-2 with a 9.50 ERA against in his last three starts.

Weaver might expect some production from Albert Pujols, who homered Sunday and is a .365 hitter in 15 games against the Yankees since joining the Angels in 2012. Among American League clubs, he's only been better against Boston (.375) in that time.

Shortstop Erick Aybar, batting .412 in his last 12 games, went 3 for 5 with a home run Sunday and is 3 for 6 with a homer off Phelps.

Rookie first baseman C.J. Cron is 5 for 9 with two RBIs in his first two games with the Angels.

New York first baseman Mark Teixeira is 8 for 23 with four home runs and six RBIs on a six-game hitting streak.