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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

In the rotation and not looking back

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Misc on Jun 14, 2008 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Tonight was a bad night for those who believe the Yankees made a mistake taking Joba Chamberlain out of the bullpen. Here’s why:

* He threw 88 pitches. Jorge Posada estimated that 55 of them were fastballs. Of that, 10 were two-seam, sinking fastballs. That’s a pitch Chamberlain learned from Chien-Ming Wang. He also threw about 20 sliders and a handful of curves and changeups.

That’s five unique pitches. In other words, this guy is a complete pitcher.

* Chamberlain was throwing 97 in the sixth inning. He was going out for the seventh but got pinch hit for. He’ll be cleared for 100+ on Thursday. His endurance is just fine.

* How many good swings did the Astros have tonight? I counted seven. Ty Wigginton hit two balls hard. There were two balls to the outfield that were hit well and maybe a few others. That was it.

* Chamberlain showed that he can pitch deep into a game, maintain his composure, be economical with his pitches and vary his pitch selection. Oh, and he’s 22, makes $390,000 and is under control for years to come.

There will be some games when he gets knocked around, count on that. But in a span of a few weeks, the Yankees turned Chamberlain from a reliever into a solid starter. Now they have Wang, Pettitte, Mussina and Chamberlain. That’s a good place to start.

Here’s Joba’s postgame interview:

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Whether Joba should start is a good healthy baseball debate. It’s part of what makes baseball great. Nobody ever sits around and debates with their buddies whether somebody should be a guard or a tackle.

But the debate is over. Joba is a starter and a damned good one by the looks of things.





24 Responses to “In the rotation and not looking back”

  1. Deryck June 14th, 2008 at 2:16 am

    I was a naysayer, not because I thought he was more valuable in the pen, but because I worried about his arm in the rotation this year.

    I admit, I’m still a bit worried how he is in September, but I guess you have to be in contention for those good, but tough decision in the first place.

  2. Bob June 14th, 2008 at 2:18 am

    Who needs Joba in the pen when we have Veras and Krazy Karl? lol

    Seriously though, tonight was the perfect example of why Joba is a starter.

  3. RyanM June 14th, 2008 at 2:22 am

    I am so glad people are finally seeing how great Joba can be, as a starter.

    I can tell you guys one thing. Igawa, or just about anyone else who would be in this slot, would have a big L next to his name if he were the starter tonight.

  4. number18 June 14th, 2008 at 2:30 am

    i agree…

    the bullpen has actually looked pretty good lately.

    my stomach turned when i saw them bringing in farnsworth tonight.
    i literally had to grab a beer to calm myself down.

  5. Patrick Bateman June 14th, 2008 at 2:38 am

    Glad he had a great game tonight. Mike and Dog can finally shut up about him being in the pen.

  6. Chris (save Jose Tabata!) June 14th, 2008 at 3:01 am

    Joba Rules!!!

  7. RustyJohn June 14th, 2008 at 3:21 am

    Now we get to be treated to all the people who thought this was a stupid move backtracking and coming up with excuses why they thought it would be bad. The little thing called “logic” of having your better pitchers throw more innings somehow escapes the pea-sized brain of 1/3rd of sports fans. These are probably the same people who think Obama is part of a sleeper cell, that Coldplay is a good band, and list “The Postman” in their Top 10 all time movies because, “Costner is an underrated actor.”

  8. Stephie June 14th, 2008 at 5:00 am

    Wang teaching Joba? Does that make him a veteran now? Wow, how time flies…

  9. yanksince57 - all hail the igawalbatross June 14th, 2008 at 5:09 am

    does this make all the naysayers about FO acumen pause even a minute? nah, not likely :)

  10. Annie Savoy June 14th, 2008 at 7:17 am

    I’m glad to see/hear that Joba is succeeding as a starting pitcher, fulfilling his childhood dream. But why did the Yankees not do this sooner? He should have been starting in Spring Training this year.

    I hope he never sees the bullpen again.

  11. Dee June 14th, 2008 at 7:44 am

    Agree on all counts!

  12. Parrot Guy June 14th, 2008 at 7:47 am

    Pete you are right baseball is a great game.Every day this blog is filled with differing opinions about the game.
    To quote Yogi when informed that the mayor of Dublin was a Jew
    “Only in America”.

  13. Pete V June 14th, 2008 at 8:01 am

    Annie – if he started in the beginning of the year, they would have to shut him down in August. innings limit.

  14. Glenn (sign me up for Freel) June 14th, 2008 at 8:29 am

    The pitching still lacks run support and late game insurance runs.
    The Yankees have scored only a few less runs than all the opponents they’ve faced which indicates too many runners left stranded and no timely or clutch hitting.
    This has to improve. Living on the edge just doesn’t cut it.

  15. Don June 14th, 2008 at 9:39 am

    A few months ago I read that some scouts thought that Joba will be more prone to injury as a starter (due to the mechanics of his pitching) and for that reason he should remain as a set up man or closer. If this opinion has any weight then we really won’t know until some time which is the best place for Joba. But right now it looks like he will help the team more as a starter.

  16. 27 this year June 14th, 2008 at 9:49 am

    What Don said is kinda like what happened to Papalbon except the opposite. As a starter, Papalbon would be less prone to a shoulder issue which he has had. As a closer, his shoulder could get injured easier because he pitches days in a row. But, since the Sux could only do their best to get Joel Pinero as a closer, Papalbon is risking it. Hopefully, he gets injuredd

  17. kissbeavis June 14th, 2008 at 10:20 am

    When he was only pitching an inning at a time I didn’t notice this as much, but seeing him out there for 80 pitches now, I can’t help but notice that his fastballs — while zipping in there at 98 mph — look pretty straight (at least on TV). Some guys, when you watch them, you can see their ball moving all over the place. Not Joba’s. I wonder, since batters will be seeing him 3 times a game instead of once, whether this will eventually diminish his effectiveness.

  18. Floating Head Doctor June 14th, 2008 at 10:34 am


    how many mlb pitchers throw 96+ on a regular basis? the avg fastball ~90 moves more because it is traveling slower. with equal spin, a 98 mph fastball moves less than a 90 mph fastball. also, i do think joba’s fastball has some tail to it–it’s just not apparent from the camera angle (shortstop perspective).

  19. RSM June 14th, 2008 at 11:57 am

    With how dull this team is to watch so far this year, Joba’s success last night was a real bright spot.

  20. Hoba21 June 14th, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    Like abraham always says Joba is a starter, and anyone who disagrees is an idiot!

  21. Eugie June 14th, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    It’s only a “bad” night if they start using Veras as the set up guy.. But Joe did use Farnsworth in the 9th inning so he is still showing faith in him. My guess would be Veras is now the 7th guy because Joe is a little stubborn.

    If this is the case it’s still a “good” night because the pen still sucks. Frankly, I’d rather have those games back that our bullpen blew over the past few weeks than 1 game last night where he didn’t even get the win. We might not be celebrating 2 games over .500 because we’d be close to 10.

  22. CanIGetAMooseCall June 14th, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    It is deeply intellectually dishonest to praise the Joba move without acknowledging that the bullpen is now so barren without Joba that the Yankees had to rely on Farnsworth to close out a close game. Yanks dodged a bullet yesterday with Farnsworth, but it’s hard to argue that the team is better off by having to depend on him in a tight spot. Bottom line: the Yanks are more vulnerable without Joba in the pen.

  23. bigjf June 14th, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    Meanwhile, Jim Kaat flapped his gums yesterday that Joba should remain in the bullpen.;vkey=8

    I wonder if he cares to recant that column today?

  24. jon June 15th, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    Nice to see you’ve decided that he’s a “damned good” starter by watching one game in which he walked twice as many guys as he struck out.

    Now, I think most people believe that he will be a good starter.

    But the correct observation here is “so far, so good.” Drawing any conclusions from this sample size is foolish.

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