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Joba has a strong day, quiets the naysayers . . . for now

Mar 18, 2010, 9:00 AM EDT

Joba Chamberlain headshot.jpgI don’t recall a spring training game being talked up as much as yesterday’s Yankees-Phillies tilt, which the New York press breathlessly reported as Joba Chamberlain’s make-or-break day.  Certainly Chamberlain needed a good outing — he’s been pitching terribly so far this spring — but it’s not like the Yankees are so shortsighted that they’d decide who their fifth starter would be in mid-March.

But he did pitch well. One run over four innings, pounding the strike zone and pitching very economically, which for him is the biggest challenge. Girardi called Chamberlain’s effort “outstanding.” Which, if I can anticipate the tabloids I have yet to read this morning, will somehow thrust Chamberlain out front in the horse race they’re calling.

Which is just as silly as saying he was so far behind before.  Girardi and Cashman and everyone will probably wait until just before opening day to decide this thing.  And once it’s decided, the repercussions of the decision, such as they are, will likely only be felt for a few months.  If Hughes wins the job, the stricter innings pitched limit he’ll be under will likely lead to Chamberlain or someone else making spot starts.  After this season, both Hughes and Chamberlain will likely be in the Yankees rotation.

In a spring filled with very few compelling storylines in Yankees camp, this one is being overblown.

  1. ditmars1929 - Mar 18, 2010 at 9:11 AM

    Craig, it’s the NY media. EVERYTHING is overblown up here. If Phil Hughes nicked himself shaving on the morning of a start and he got shelled, his shaving skills would be back page news in the tabloids.

  2. okobojicat - Mar 18, 2010 at 9:18 AM

    The entire “who is going to be the fifth starter debate” is idiotic. Hughes will be ineffective at times. CC or Burnett or most likely Pettite is going to be hurt and they’ll miss about 15-20 starts from their big four.
    Its absolutely idiotic to think that Joba won’t get any starts this year. If we remember, last year in the first half he was a darn good pitcher.
    Alcives will probably get more starts this year than last year.
    captcha: feasibly medical

  3. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Mar 18, 2010 at 9:30 AM

    CC or Burnett or most likely Pettite is going to be hurt and they’ll miss about 15-20 starts from their big four.

    And you are basing this off what, wishful thinking? drug induced hallucinations? Magic 8 ball?

  4. Okobojicat - Mar 18, 2010 at 9:58 AM

    Look at the all the various starts for teams. Last year the
    Yankees got 25 starts from pitchers not named Joba, AJ, Pettite, Phil, and CC.
    The Red Sox got 25 starts from people not in their big 6!
    Angels had 37 starts from people not in their first 5.
    Phillies had 23 starts from people not in their first 5.
    Dodgers had 42 starts from people not in their first 4.
    The Rockies (apparently the healthiest playoff team from last year) got 7 starts from people not in their first 5.
    No team goes the entire season with their first 5. Ever. Its a ridiculous thing to think. More teams need to start thinking about having 6 or 7 capable starters going into the year and quit thinking about having only 5. The Yankees were ridiculously healthy last year in their starting rotation. I wouldn’t bet on that again.
    I’m not saying any of their rotation is injury prone, because I don’t think they are. They are all healthier than the average MLB pitcher. That said, their still is a very good risk that someone will get hurt and both Joba and Hughes and probably Alcives will get some starts.
    captcha: an santeria

  5. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Mar 18, 2010 at 10:13 AM

    My comment was in direct response to your note that they will be injured next year. It sounded an awful lot like {Stark’s?} article about WS pitchers getting hurt the following year, in which he named 5 who got hurt as “proof” of his theory. The only problem being that 2 of the 5 had prior injury problems that he, conveniently, didn’t mention.

    No team goes the entire season with their first 5. Ever. Its a ridiculous thing to think.

    I agree, except the Yanks last year had their top 4 make at least 31 starts (34 – CC, 33 – AJ, 32 – Pettitte, 31 Joba). Adding Vazquez, who’s only missed 200IP once in the last 10 years means the Yanks, means the Yanks have a really durable group. Yes injuries can happen, but there’s no reason to think they will happen.

  6. Joey B - Mar 18, 2010 at 10:17 AM

    “No team goes the entire season with their first 5. Ever. Its a ridiculous thing to think. More teams need to start thinking about having 6 or 7 capable starters going into the year and quit thinking about having only 5.”
    I’ve been saying this for years.
    The reason the NYY lost in 2008 was that they went in with a 39 y.o., and 36 y.o., and two rookies, and thought nothing could possibly go wrong.
    In 2007, it was two old guys, an unproven Japanese pitcher, and an extremely injury-prone pitcher, and thought nothing could go wrong. You can’t anticipate any particular injury, but you can pretty much count on missing at least 20 starts.
    Having said that, it seems that everyone is missing the obvious. If Joba becomes a setup guy, he’s not your #6. He’s too important as a setup guy, and he won’t be stretched out. If AJ got hurt tomorrow, it’d be easy enough, but if Joba is throwing one inning every 2-3 days in May, he ain’t becoming a starter the following week.

  7. okobojicat - Mar 18, 2010 at 10:21 AM

    You are right in that I overstated that I thought an injury would happen.
    My argument is that there is a very good chance an injury will happen and harping on who will be the 5th starter is silly.
    Also, its not wishful thinking. Although I do dislike the Yanks, I wouldn’t wish an injury on anyone. I just hope my Twins (who I left out of the comparison above, because everyone in the rotation save Blackburn missed significant time) can actually beat them in the playoffs this year.

  8. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Mar 18, 2010 at 10:27 AM

    I was probably a bit harsh myself with the first retort, but reading the comments every day starts to make you question one’s own sanity.
    The possibility of injury to one of the starters is high, due to age. And in that aspect, it’s likely to see a combination of Joba/Hughes or Joba/Aceves for a couple of starts as you mentioned.
    Twins fan huh, can’t wait to see that outdoor stadium in March/April. Should make for some fiery games :)

  9. okobojicat - Mar 18, 2010 at 10:42 AM

    Twins fan huh, can’t wait to see that outdoor stadium in March/April. Should make for some fiery games :)
    Alright, this is the thing that pisses me off! Minneapolis has similar weather throughout the March-October as Chicago, NY, Boston, and Philadelphia. Similar temperature ranges, wind and rain patterns, snow fall, everything. ITS THE SAME DAMN CLIMATE!
    Its going to be fine. The only reasonably complaint I’ve heard is that it might decrease the drive-ins from Iowa and the Dakota’s because there is a risk the game might not be played. However, during those gorgeous getaway day games in June and July and August, they’ll be getting 20k more people than they were in the dome.
    Myself, I’m out working in western Kansas (long story) so I hope to get to some Royals games this year.

  10. Church of the Perpertually Outraged - Mar 18, 2010 at 11:13 AM

    ITS THE SAME DAMN CLIMATE!

    Impossible, the internet told me it’s going to cold up there!!! :)And it’s cold as hell in NYC during those months as well. Was just making a half joking comment, didn’t mean to rile you up.

  11. diamondduq - Mar 18, 2010 at 9:10 PM

    Wow, I feel like I’m at any neighborhood bar in the United States with 3 guys sitting at the bar by themselves in the corner who have been drinking all day. You don’t need 6 or 7 starters, you merely have to do the same things teams have been doing for years, have your 5 starters, 1 or 2 long relievers to make spot starts throughout the year and give your 5 starters an extra day here and there to reduce the chance of injury, perhaps bring up a prospect now and then to get a look or give your guys, long relievers included, some extra time if they’ve thrown a lot.
    It’s not rocket science. Do you want a “darn good” Joba or an elite Joba? Because tomorrow Joba is one of the top 10, if not top 5, relievers in all of MLB and the heir aparent to Mo. Factor in CC, AJ, Pettitte and Vasquez, leaving one opening for a starter, and it’s a pretty easy decision that Hughes should be the 5th starter. Throw the stupid “Hughes rules” out the window, just give him an extra day every 5 starts or so, by utilizing one of those long relievers, and go from there.

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