There were two reasons today was successful for the Yankees: They won, of course. And Joba Chamberlain threw 93 pitches and didn’t come away limping or clutching anything.
The primary goal for young Mr. Chamberlain this season should be to throw at least 160 innings and not spend one day on the disabled list. There will be some days when he throws seven innings, strikes everybody out and looks like Walter Johnson and others when he throws 4.2 innings like he did today and looks like Jason Johnson.
Joba needs to learn how to be a starter in the big leagues and that means learning how to survive when you can’t spot your fastball. Or when its cold. Or when it’s hot. Or when the umpire is lousy. He just needs to pitch.
Using him for one inning at a time is like having a Ferrari and only driving it a block at a time. The Yankees need to figure out what Joba can do and the only way to do that is to let him pitch every five days.
He’s going to have some rocky games. But as long as he is piling up innings and pitches, he’s conditioning himself for next season, when he can throw 180 innings. Or 2010 when he can throw 210. Aces don’t just float down from baseball heaven one day, they are developed.
“We talk to him about it all the time, learning from your mistakes and developing a routine between starts. It’s a learning process,” CC Sabathia said. “He’ll be a lot better at this time next season. That’s always how it works. That first year, you learn a lot.”
Meanwhile, undefeated Scranton opens at home tonight and Phil Hughes will be on the mound. Shelley Duncan will be batting cleanup.
Follow the game on Minor League Baseball.com.
Chad Jennings also is on the scene and will be blogging.