joba_275_092509.jpgBy Jon Lane
Admittedly, I borrowed the headline from Peter Abraham, author of the LoHud Yankees blog. Pete, incidentally, begins his new job as Red Sox beat writer for The Boston Globe next week. We at wish him the best. He did great things for The Journal News and he’ll reach new heights in Beantown.

Based on the amount of Joba Chamberlain content on and various columns in today’s papers, it is Jobamania in the Bronx, though by no means is it running wild. Jobamania hasn’t been Hulkamania in nearly two months. Instead he’s been the jobber – in layman’s terms enhancement talent – old-school wrestling promoters feed to their established stars for a pounding.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. If you’re already calling Chamberlain “Joba the Bust,” get real, but the right-hander is 0-4 with an 8.42 ERA in his last eight outings. His start Sunday in Seattle was a complete embarrassment (seven runs, three innings), which left Joe Girardi to say – if you read between the lines – “Step it up, or else.” Pulling no punches, Bob Klapish writes that “the clock is running out on
this immature underachiever who threatens to take down the Bombers’
dream season.”

Simply put, there is no more polarizing figure in New York at the moment, perhaps in all of sports. Jim Kaat questions whether “The Joba Rules” are helping or hurting the right-hander. In today’s New York Daily News, Anthony McCarron gathered viewpoints from a few baseball experts. Former Mets and A’s pitching coach Rick Peterson believes the Yankees accomplished their team goals, but sports psychology consultant Dr. Jack Llewellyn told McCarron that any limits “might cause him to try to pitch better instead of just letting himself
pitch. It sounds like just words, but there is a big difference, and
the toll it takes is mentally. It just saps your energy when you’re trying to make yourself do things.”

To sum up, Chamberlain must pitch well tonight, at the very least keep the Yankees in the game. Another implosion and, unbelievably, Chad Gaudin may be your Game 4 ALCS starter.


Hidden within Jobamaina, here’s what you need to know for tonight and this weekend:

? The Yankees’ magic number is five. The only way they win the AL East is by sweeping the Red Sox. Otherwise the party will be on hold until next week against the Royals.

? Considering Chamberlain’s opponent, it’s even more urgent he pitch well. Jon Lester (14-7, 3.33 ERA) is 11-2 with a 2.13 ERA in 20 starts since May 31 – the third-best ERA in the Majors over that span – and 3-0, 1.90 in six career starts against the Yankees. In that same stretch. Alex Rodriguez is 2-for-13 (.154) and Robinson Cano 2-for-18 (.111) facing the left-hander.

? This season, Mark Teixeira is 3-for-9 (.333) with a homer against Lester. In their careers, Derek Jeter is 8-for-23 (.348), Melky Cabrera 6-for-16 (.375) and Jose Molina 5-for-11 (.455).

? CC Sabathia starts Saturday against Daisuke Matsuzaka. The Yankees’ ace was moved up a day to provide him with extra rest before the playoffs. Andy Pettitte – his shoulder his fine, folks – opposes Paul Byrd Sunday afternoon.


  1. swanton7

    Good read, but Joba doesn’t deserve anymore starts, in my opinion. Put him in the bullpen for the remainder of the season and during the off season come up with a new and effective way to mold him into a starter next year.

    Even though Gaudin hasn’t got a decision yet as a Yankee, they have won all of the games that he’s pitched. He definitely deserves the Game 4 nod over Joba, no matter how well Joba pitches tonight.

  2. tempny

    Very good point, Brian. If he ends up in the bullpen, or even if he remains in the rotation, stories are sometimes re-wrtten in October, where you make your reputation if you can elevate your game with everything on the line. Joba has he chance to do that starting tonight.

    Thanks for reading,


  3. swanton7

    You too, have a good point. I just hope Joba can put whatever problems he has had in the past, and show us the Joba from 2007 in the playoffs. I honestly hope for the best.


    While I understand the need to fill in the 24 on line “news” cycle by constantly jabbering about Jaba I do believe you all miss the point.

    Joe and his staff know baseball. Cashman knows baseball. They know their players and the internal workings of the team.

    We, as fans, know we want to win. Every day, every game, every inning, every pitch has to be perfect or there is something wrong.

    Joe and his brain trust has handled Jaba correctly for the team’s and Jaba’s best long term plans.

    His performance last night demonstrates that it is not the way the coaches have managed him that held him back, but his own attitude on the mound.

    Last night he was the Jaba we all expected to see, every night, every game, every pitch.

    It was about concentration and focus. Not letting up, challenging/attacking the strike zone.

    AJ has had the same issues. When he focuses he is dominant.

    If these two guys can overcome their own mental issues, they will be terrific. If they cannot it will not be due to any mismanagement by Joe and his staff. They kept Jaba physically healthy. Now he has to get his head together.

    And try to remember, he just turned 24. There really have only been a few guys to be that age and have gone on to a stellar career. Clemens had that kind of mental attitude and that kind of pitching stuff. Whatever mistakes he may have made to try and continue that career is another issue not related to Jaba. When Jaba learns to trust his stuff and attack the zone consistently he will be the star Joe and the staff knows he can be.

    And we will all be thankful for their protective care and the old “Jaba Rules”.

  5. 98gr8

    Joba fills a void within all of us Yankees fans. We haven’t had a pitcher like him to root for in so many years. I wish they would just let him pitch. I am bothered, as everyone else is, that they have taken him out of set up relief to start. Why can’t we put him back as Mo’s set up man? He can step into the closer role when Mo retires. He gets so frustrated when he starts and doesn’t do well. I know they say he shakes off a lot of signs in favor of pitching his own pitch, but his arm is wasted as a starter. His power and his mindset speaks closer all the way. As far as Klapisch. A closeted Met fan if you ask me.

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