Joba Chamberlain pitched 7+ innings for the Yankees tonight and threw 100 pitches. The game lasted two hours and 59 minutes, which in Yankee Standard Time is pretty fast.
The reason for mentioning this is to point out the importance of pace and rhythm in pitching. After a series of … well, let’s call them productive conversations … Chamberlain now gets the ball, gets the sign and throws it. He was literally wandering around the mound earlier this season or shaking off too many pitches. Every pitch was a three-act play.
But what we saw tonight and in his previous start was a pitcher willing to challenge hitters. Joba walked Ryan Sweeney and Daric Barton in the fifth inning. Then he fanned Mark Ellis and Eric Patterson on 11 pitches. Two weeks ago that jam would have led to two runs.
“I told him after the game how much better his pace was,” Derek Jeter said. “That makes a big difference.”
Chamberlain also is sticking with his best stuff — a four-seam fastball, a slider and an occasional curve — with runners in scoring position. No change-ups, no sinkers, no nibbling around the corners.
Here’s Jorge Posada talking about it:
Because Joba has been around for three years now, it’s easy to forget he’s 23 and still learning his craft. The bottom line is this: He is 9-3 with a 3.42 ERA as a starter and that is impressive.
Just keep in mind, he has started 31 times and thrown 168 innings, not quite a full season. He’s only going to get better.
Thanks to everybody for reading tonight. Back at it tomorrow.