Joe Girardi said after the game that Joba Chamberlain was aggressive with his fastball. That the Blue Jays aggressively slapped that fastball all over the Rogers Centre seemed sort of beside the point to him.
And so it goes. Joba would be the No. 4 starter in the postseason by default at this point, not merit. He is 1-3 with a 7.96 ERA in his last six starts. Opponents have hit .330 against him.
“I still really believe in him and I think at the end of September you’re going to see a guy throwing the ball well,” Girardi said. “We have to get him back to where he was and we believe what we’re doing is going to get him back there. What we’re doing right now isn’t going to last forever.”
Joba resorted to a bunch of cliches when we talked to him, talking about his teammates and executing pitches and how good the guys on the other team are. I spoke to him alone briefly and asked him whether he could get sharp again come October.
“There’s time,” he said. “I’ll go four innings the next game and we’ll go from there. I know I have things to work on.”
It’s easy to forget that Chamberlain is 23 because he has been with the Yankees for parts of three seasons now. So he deserves the benefit of the doubt. But because he has been around for those three seasons, inexperience becomes less of a crutch. He has been around enough to know that what he is doing now isn’t getting it done.
It’s easy to say that any starter would have lost to Roy Halladay tonight. But that isn’t the point. The idea was to see improvement and it wasn’t there. Don’t focus on the runs or the misplays in the field, focus on the quality of Toronto’s swings and that Joba had only four pitches that produced a swinging strike. Two were by past-his-prime Kevin Millar.
The Yankees are protecting Joba because they believe in how good he can be. He needs to return the favor by being that guy.
Ramiro Pena is 2 for 6 against Halladay in his career with two doubles. He must wonder what the big deal is. … Mike Dunn walked both of the lefties he faced in his debut. Not good. But he gets a pass for being nervous in his debut. … A-Rod had a 12-game hit streak snapped. … The dope fans here in Toronto booed Eric Hinske. “They traded me away,” he said. “What did I do wrong?”
Finally, I will leave you with this. The visiting team clubhouse here has a computer with several thousand songs on it and the players often load up their iPods. Alfredo Aceves plucked a bunch of songs by the Bee Gees before the game.
“What is this stuff?” Dunn asked.
Aceves explained that his father, Mexican League slugger Alfredo Aceves Sr., listened to a lot of music from the 60s and 70s when he was playing and introduced his children to it. Ace, as it turns out, is a big fan of the Brothers Gibb and Creedence Clearwater Revival.
So the 26-year-old reliever from Mexico like disco and John Fogerty. You never know what you’re going to learn on a given day.
Thanks for reading, catch you tomorrow from Toronto.