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:
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.