The Yankees would love to believe that the Joba Chamberlain who threw high-90s fastballs today and breezed through an inning in seven pitches is the one who will show up if he’s needed in a big spot later this week. If he is, it means their bullpen becomes even more of a weapon.
But what if he isn’t? Chamberlain’s performance today in St. Pete just makes it even harder for Joe Girardi and the Yankees to know what they’ve got. If Chamberlain hadn’t pitched, you could almost see the decision being easy for Girardi – he could keep Chamberlain in low-pressure situations, if he used him at all, and it would easy to understand why.
Now it’s more complex. If the Yankees need a big out (or three) in the middle innings of a playoff game, it’s going to be hard for Girardi to ignore Chamberlain, even though his inconsistency has been … well, consistent.
Let’s say it’s the sixth inning, the Yankees have just rallied to take a 6-5 lead and the starter is done. Do you go to Chamberlain and figure he’s got the fire coming out of the pen? Or do you have more confidence in someone else?
FYI, here’s the TV schedule for the first four days of the playoffs (with the Yankees taking the longer series even though it is not “official” yet. All games on TBS.)
Wednesday, October 7
2:37 p.m. Game 1 – Rockies at Phillies
6:07 p.m. Game 1 – Tigers/Twins at Yankees
9:37 p.m. Game 1 – Cardinals at Dodgers
Thursday, October 8
2:37 p.m Game 2 – Rockies at Phillies
6:07 p.m. Game 2 – Cardinals at Dodgers
9:37 p.m. Game 1 – Red Sox at Angels
Friday, October 9
6:07 p.m. Game 2 – Tigers/Twins at Yankees
9:37 p.m. Game 2 – Red Sox at Angels
Saturday, October 10
6:07 p.m. Game 3 – Dodgers at Cardinals
9:37 p.m. Game 3 – Phillies at Rockies