Joe Girardi inadvertently opened up a little box of controversy yesterday when he mentioned that one division series would require three starters and the other four. The team with the best record has a choice.
I would think the Yankees would use the longer series with fewer starters. That plays to their strengths and allows them to rest their position players an extra day, too.
What this means for Joba Chamberlain is incidental. There are no roles in the postseason, there is a team-wide task to win 11 games. Pitchers do whatever they’re asked to the best of their ability. If Joba pitches out of the bullpen in the division series and starts in the ALCS, so be it. Once the playoffs start, it’s about winning. Everything else is meaningless.
Mike Mussina pitched in relief in the postseason, so did Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and dozens of other starters over the years. The Yankees have spent the entire season rightfully concerned about Chamberlain and the rest of their pitchers. But all hands are on deck once the bunting is draped over the stadium railings.
Some fans and media are way too hung up on Joba and what his role might be. He’ll do what he’s told, that’ll be his role. And if he doesn’t pitch well, they’ll find somebody else who will.