By Jon Lane
The majority of Yankees fans got their wish Monday night. Joba Chamberlain pitched in the eighth inning.
Those in the minority reigned supreme over water coolers and caffeine fixes. Joba Chamberlain pitched eight superlative innings to defeat the Indians, allowing two runs on five hits with two walks and five strikeouts. In between, he made a diving catch that would have made the late Kirby Puckett blush. In the end, he swatted away those annoying midges like gnats, kept his velocity in the high 90s (97 MPH in that eighth inning) and improved to 3-1 while lowering his ERA to 3.71. His eight innings of work – and great ones at that – were a career high and the first time Chamberlain went that long since a Single-A game in 2006.
Yep, put him in the bullpen. Take a 23-year-old potential franchise pitcher who neutralized the Tribe with everything in his arsenal and relegate him to one inning and three outs. That’s exactly what the Twins did with Johan Santana after in 2002 he led the Majors with 15 wild pitches.
Oh wait. I’m sorry. I erred. The Twins showed something wholly fickle in this town – patience while allowing evolution to take its course. They transitioned Santana into their rotation in 2003 after he spent four months as a reliever. He won his last eight decisions and pitched Game 1 of the ALDS against the Yankees. You know the rest of his story.
Yet the voices still ring loud. Heaven forbid Chamberlain gets into a jam by walking a batter or allowing a base hit, he’s a failure as a starting pitcher. The next time he gets lit up – and he will because Santana and all the great ones get lit up – we’ll have to continue to endure this.
Here’s something refreshing: The Yankees right now have SIX legitimate starting pitchers. Is that a problem? Really? Can you honestly have enough starting pitching? If you believe that you must be president of the Sidney Ponson Fan Club. Just wait until 2010 when Ian Kennedy is healthy. This is all part of building a program, folks.
Thanks mainly to Joba the starter, the Yankees completed a 5-2 road trip and are winners of 15 out of 19. They lead the AL East by one game and open a seven-game homestand tonight against the Texas Rangers (YES HD, 7 p.m.). Chamberlain starts again Saturday against the reeling Rays.
The Yankees set a Major League record Monday night as they played their 18th consecutive game without an error (they were tied with the Red Sox, who played 17 straight error-free from June 11-30, 2006). The Yankees are 14-4 during this streak and a big part of it has been Mark Teixeira and his perfect fielding percentage. By no coincidence, Derek Jeter’s clip stands at .990 with only two errors, on pace for his best totals of his career.
And by the way, Teixeira’s hitting streak is at 14 games. You think the Red Sox executive offices are under siege for not doing whatever it took to bring him to New England?
Jeter’s single in the third was the 2,600th hit of his career
No – the Red Sox front office is not under siege. If Tex played shortstop, then perhaps. But first and three bases we have covered quite nicely.
Perhaps Joba’s slow start this season could be attributed to some advice he was supposedly given this spring. I’m recalling having read how newly acquired A. J. Burnett was counseling Joba on what he had learned from his younger days as a fireballing thrower. That by dialing it down a notch or two, he cut down on his injuries. The problem is one size doesn’t fit all. Joba seemed to me to have lost his “mojo”. At least untill last night. Lets hope he forgets what ever he was told and goes back to what made him so promising last season.
Anyone else remember Steve Philips on Baseball Tonight talking about how the Red Sox must be thrilled to not have gotten Mark Teixeira because he followed his track record and had a tough April?
Sorry, but I can’t stand that *****!!! Only good thing the Mets ever did was fire him.
And Julia, you could have had a decent SS if you traded Lowell. I can’t wait for Tex to haunt the Sox for the next 6 (out of 8) years. Lowell has at best a year left…
Its not about dialing it down. Last night, Joba pitched. He only had 5 Ks. He didn’t overthrow. He used all of his pitches and not just his fastball which kept everyone off balance. And that in turn made his fastball more effective. He also looked relaxed when he threw it, making it actually have more movement and velocity. Jeter and Swish talked about after the game that the reason he was so good was because his slider and curveball were working.
What Burnett said is to think and pitch effectively when you’re in trouble, and not just try and throw it by everyone. Thats what makes you a good pitcher and keeps your arm in shape.
Joba is a starter but will be in the bullpen in August – October d/t 150 innings limit………..
Wang needs to start. If you’re trying to protect the young Arms then CC pitches every 5 days and you do a 5 man rotation for the other 4 spots. Worked for Casey through all the championships in the 1950’s!!
For those wondering how that would work……..
CC, Andy, AJ, Joba, Wang, CC, Hughes, Andy, AJ, Joba, CC, Wang, Andy, Hughes, AJ, CC, Joba, Wang, Andy, Hughes, CC, AJ…and so on. Protects everyone except for CC’s arm (doesn’t need protection)
By acepoint01 on June 2, 2009 4:29 PM
Its not about dialing it down………
If you checked the stats instead of lecturing you’d see that Joba’s fast ball was in the upper 90’s even in the 8th inning.
That helped make his other pitches more effective as he increased the speed differential.