Could Joba start on Monday?

To coin a phrase
2008 Draft Preview: Signability Steals

The next stop on the Joba train comes on Wednesday. The soon to be starter will aim to throw 50 to 55 pitches in relief against the Orioles, hopefully with a bit more economy than Saturday, where he threw 40 pitches (22 strikes) over two innings of work. After that, though, the Yanks might run into an issue: You can’t count throwing more pitches than that out of the bullpen, even if Mussina is the starter.

This would create an interesting scenario for the starting rotation. Namely, who do you axe in favor of Chamberlain? If he’s going to start a game, it’s best not to screw around. After throwing 55 pitches on Wednesday, he should be on tap to pitch Monday (five days’ rest), and certainly no later than Tuesday. With the off day on Thursday, the Yanks will have some juggling to do.

Kennedy is going tonight, and Pettitte is going tomorrow. That much is set. Clearly, a lot rides on Kennedy’s outing. He’d be the clear choice for removal from the rotation. If that were the case, you’d probably see Mussina go Friday, Wang go Saturday, Rasner Sunday, and Joba Monday, possibly with Kennedy shadowing him. The alternative there is to swap Kennedy for Karstens and have the latter shadow Joba.

If Kennedy pitches well tonight, though, it makes little sense to remove him from the rotation. Girardi has not ruled out a six-man pitching rotation, so pushing everyone back a day is an option. That would allow Joba some more time in between starts, and also help keep his innings in check for the rest of the season. The only drawback, of course, is that you’ll get fewer appearances from Wang. That’s an issue that certainly needs to be addressed.

The only issue I have with a six-man rotation is the bullpen. Are the Yankees prepared to only have six guys coming out of the pen? Recent history says they are not. As with many other potential moves, this could spell the end of Morgan Ensberg — and of Jason Lane, if the team decides to use Ensberg’s roster spot for a reliever rather than another position player.

Clearly, though, this is a good problem to have. As they say, you can never get enough good starting pitching.

To coin a phrase
2008 Draft Preview: Signability Steals
  • Ben K.

    But Joe, who’s going to pitch the 8th inning when the Yanks are losing to make sure the game stays close? Who’s going to protect that three-run lead in the 8th inning every three or four days? The outrage!

    • http://2009 Haggs

      Keep laughing.

      When your boy Hawkins or Kyle “I’m gonna go back to my normal sucky self any minute now” Farnsworth serves up a game winning bomb after Joba goes six shutout innings and hits his pitch count, it won’t be quite as hilarious.

      • Jersey

        What will be hilarious will be the flood of panic-stricken fans who, as soon as someone blows an 8th-inning lead (or as soon as Joba has a less-than-stellar start), will be screaming bloody murder coupled with “I-told-you-so’s” and demanding Joba return to the pen.

      • Ben K.

        I think I just advocated for releasing Hawkins my post yesterday. To call him “my boy” is a gross mischaracterization.

        If you’d rather waste your best arm throwing few high-leverage innings, so be it. Just know that it’s a strategy that won’t win you the most games.

        • http://2009 Haggs

          “Your boy” was sarcasm.

          Your missing my point. Joba to the rotation is obivously best for the team and for him in the long run.

          But until somebody other than Farnsworth is called upon to get big outs for the Yankees, they will lose games that they should have won. And games that might have been winnable (like yesterday) will get away from them because inferior pitchers are being called upon. Maybe not a lot of games, but maybe enough to cost them a chance at the postseason.

          I guess my point is: The Yankees say this was the plan all along. If that is the case they planned this poorly, because for at least the next few weeks and probably longer their 2nd best bullpen pitcher is KYLE FARNSWORTH. And sorry, but he stinks.

          • Ben K.

            Ah gotcha. My bad on missing the sarcasm.

            I think you’ll see Cox and Melancon knocking on the door soon enough. Either of those two could replace Farnsworth.

            • http://2009 Haggs

              I agree on Cox and Melancon being potential solutions. It just goes to my point on the poor planning.

              Even if the Yankees had waited 2 or 3 more weeks it could have helped, for a ton of reasons:

              Enought starts from Rasner and IPK to see what they might really have to offer for the rest of the year.

              Cox and Melancon that much closer to coming to the Bronx.

              Strategically using the All Star break to get Joba to the point where he could throw 90 plus pitches in a big league game.

              Just feels like they rushed this a little bit in my humble opinion.

              • TurnTwo

                i dont think it was rushed… i think they realized that if they need Joba to develop and throw a certain number of innings over a certain amount of starts, he needed to be in the rotation, time-wise, by the 2nd week of June or so.

              • question mark

                i don’t think it was rushed at all. i think the decisions are being made based on the development of the player, not whether Potential Piece B or C are in place. It’s not a “win now” plan, though, and that’s where I think fans who want to do just that are going to predictably react negatively.

                Don’t forget….Cox and Melancon aren’t exactly immune to struggling either.

            • ChrisS

              Or the guy that has 15 Ks in 12 IP and hasn’t given up a run this year.

              But he doesn’t throw 100mph, so, meh.

              • ChrisS

                sorry, that was in response to who could take Joba’s 8th inning spot, not Farnsy’s.

              • http://2009 Haggs

                I like Edwar, but the jury is still out on him.

                I personally think he’s best used in small doses. If a team sees him twice in a series the 2nd time around might not be pretty.

                He also still walks too many people, and Girardi seems to prefer Farnsworth and Hawkins over him for the time being.

      • Joseph P.

        Who likes Hawkins? We said it was a good signing — as in, low risk. It’s not working out. Good idea, bad results. Oh well. Hard to argue against DFAing him at this point.

        • Simon B.

          I’d argue against it. He’s got a good sinker (quite a bit better than Ohlendorf’s supposed one). He’s had one bad month and one good month.

          You can’t be so kneejerk with these things. Relievers are difficult to judge because a few bad outings can make them look like shit, but baseball is too inconsistent in general to link a strong indicative trend based on those few appearances. That said, Hawkins has been excellent over the last five years, and I think he can still possibly contribute.

          I don’t think the Yankees are really hurting for another reliever right now, so I’d give Hawkins more of a chance.

          • steve (different one)

            Hawkins goes a MONTH without giving up a run and now he isn’t working out?

      • steve (different one)

        When your boy Hawkins or Kyle “I’m gonna go back to my normal sucky self any minute now” Farnsworth serves up a game winning bomb after Joba goes six shutout innings and hits his pitch count, it won’t be quite as hilarious.

        this is REALLY backwards.

        what is the difference if Joba goes 6 scoreless and Farnsworth gives up a run in the 8th


        your starter gives up several runs over 6 IP, and Joba locks down the 8th??

        i honestly can’t believe some of the stuff flying back and forth in this debate.

        • http://2009 Haggs

          Farnsworth is #2 on the bullpen depth chart, and Hawkins is probably # 3 (at least on Girardi’s).

          That is not a good bullpen.

          We like to talk about how much better the bullpen will be soon, but “will” should be replaced by “might”, and soon is not today or the next two weeks, during which there are baseball games to be played.

          Having very good starting pitching can offset a not so great bullpen, but 4 of the Yankees now 6 starters cannot be counted on to last longer than 6 innings, and including Pettitte in the 2 that can is a stretch at this point in the season. That’s a lot of outs for these guys to be picking up every week.

          I think the Yanks established a window during which x date and y date “the process would begin” with regard to Joba. The Yankees were playing like crap, Hughes got hurt, and IPK couldn’t get anybody out, so the Yanks chose the earliest date possible to begin the move. But right about the same time, Rasner showed up, and now IPK has a good start under his belt, so the Yanks rushed into this plan early for no reason. They left the bullpen barn door open, so to speak.

          If the Yanks had been playing well (if they had Tampa’s record for example), they would have waited until the last possible moment to move Joba. This was a rush job based on their crappy play.

      • A.D.

        While closing by committee rarely works, set-up by committee can, Bruney is going to re-hab soon, along with the kids, the yanks will make some moves

    • Pablo Zevallos

      a new idea–Rasner in the 8th until Melancon/Cox/Robertson are ready

  • TurnTwo

    one note i might add to the equation… a couple times, when interviewed about the joba prep scenerio, i heard from Cashman and Girardi that while he would begin his transition at the MLB level, they would not rule out minor league innings, and that anything is a possibility, or “all options are on the table” as they like to say.

    i think this is a big start for IPK. he can get thru the same lineup he did a week ago, he’ll remain in the rotation.

    if not, i think you could see IPK piggy back Chamberlain, given Joba’s struggle to go more than 2-3 innings on his pitch counts.

    if IPK pitches well tonight, I think we could see Joba go one more game here on Wed, and then swap Joba with a SWB reliever for his next 2 starts.

    • Ben K.

      I don’t think the Yanks are too thrilled with the idea of sending down Joba. They’d lose him for ten days. I think they’d rather figure out some sort of creative four-inning start at the big league level than have him sit out that time period in AAA.

      • TurnTwo

        me either, but when you need to assure him innings in a game, but you arent ready to take out someone from the rotation yet, what other options do you really have that assures he gets his work in when you want him to?

        10 days isnt that bad. it’s perhaps the final 2 starts for his to stretch out his pitch counts, and you buy the current rotation 2 more turns around to figure out who’s stayin and who’se going.

    • A.D.

      I still believe that Cashman is working on a trade angle, when you listen to the story Cash told Joba he’d ask him some point in the season if he was ready/willing to move, choosing now to ask makes me think they may be getting ready to move a starting pitcher to open room, because someone has raised their value (i.e Rasner or Mussina) or because someone like IPK still has value despite some struggles.

  • Adam

    what about some kind of modified 6 man rotation with wang (a) and pettitte (b) starting every 5 days:

    abcde, abdef, abefc, abfcd, abcde…..

    this way, your pitchers capable of throwing 200 innings make all of their starts, and the guys whose innings you should limit: mussina (c), rasner (d), kennedy (e), and joba (f) each make 3 out of 4 starts and can throw out of the bullpen once or twice on their off week.

    • Jersey

      I would agree with this. You’ve got rookies and a delicate flower in Moose, so why not resort to an extra starter to protect them?

      • usty

        Because Moose is a well-established OCD nut who would probably have his brain break if he wasn’t guaranteed a start every 5 days.

        • steve (different one)

          Moose went on short rest this weekend and won the game.

          Moose’s inability to pitch on regular rest is a myth that isn’t supported by facts.

          days rest/IP/ERA
          4 Days 2130.1 3.77
          5 Days 843.2 3.39
          6+ Days 376.1 3.87

          • Simon B.

            Yeah, people always repeat this stuff all the time, but it’s really overemphasized. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s mostly perpetuated by Michael Kay as he repeats his talking points over and over again, and it’s not secret that Kay doesn’t particularly like Mussina.

      • Jon W.

        In theory it’s a good idea, but I can’t imagine Moose being too happy about having his routine messed up like that. Not to mention it’s tough for anybody to get into a good rhythm when you’re not pitching consistently every 5th or 6th day. Assuming everyone pitches well, I’d be in favor of a 6 man rotation, but given the unlikelihood of that scenario, I think it will work itself out.

        • Adam

          but do you really want to take away 4 starts from wang over the rest of the season?

          while it is true that mussina may be finicky i think it is often overstated, and really, if the team decides to pursue this course of action he wouldn’t have a choice, he’d just have to deal with it.

          • Jon W.

            I definitely don’t want to take starts away from Wang, but I’d rather have 6 regulars than have 4 starting pitchers on an inconsistent schedule, while Wang and Pettitte throw every 5th day. Unless he builds off of his outing the other night and continues to throw well, you would have to assume IPK would either go to the pen or down to Scranton.

  • E-ROC

    Big start for IPK. I hope he does well in this start and manages his pitch count.

    I could see Mussina regressing and Joba taking his spot in the rotation.

  • RustyJohn

    Would Moose waive his no-trade clause and are there any worthwhile right-handed bats in the NL worth pursuing?

    Just living in la-la land and dreaming of that as an option.

  • Todd

    I know that I am a minority of one, but while I agree with making Joba a starter, I think that it is a mistake stretching him out on the major league level. He needs to get his other pitches ready. Do you throw your less dominant pitches in the 7th inning of a one run game or do you use your best pitches to get outs? And if he is getting knocked around, do you let him pitch or remove him to do it in the bullpen? This is just too much pressure an a young guy to do this in the microscope of New York. And too much can go wrong. Let him do it in AAA.

  • A.D.

    Chances are they want multiple 50 pitch sessions from Joba, we’d see at least 1 if not 2 more 50 pitch+ outings after Wed.

  • Mike A.

    Once he gets up to 50-55 pitches, then I think you send Joba to the minors to make 2 starts, getting him up to 85-90 pitches or so. He’ll be down for 10 days and that’s fine, they were without him for 9 days while he was with his sick father, it’s not the end of the world if he’s down for a week and a half.

    I can’t see him being ready to start following his next outing. He will have worked up to basically half what you’d like a regular starter to throw. This needs to be done the right way, they can’t half ass it and have him pitch a couple of 4 maybe 5 innings starts just to keep him in the bigs. That does more harm than good.

    • TurnTwo

      agreed. this was my point up above to Ben.

      • Count Zero

        Agree with both of you.

  • Jay Howroyd

    Since Joba is coming in to relieve Andy tomorrow, wouldn’t you think that Andy would be starting next Monday and that the earliest Joba would start would be Tuesday when the Yanks return to the stadium against Toronto??

  • Chip

    Here’s a fun question, what if Pettite is throwing a no-hitter with 56 pitches thrown through 6 innings? I’d hate to be the one making that decision

    • Simon B.

      I think someone mentioned that he gets pushed back to Friday. I guess that infers he just has a throw-day on Wednesday.

      • A.D.

        That’s the “in-exact science” Joba can wait if pettite is going for history

    • A.D.

      Yeah it goes under the Girardi heading of “it’s an in-exact science” so if Pettite is dealing, going for something special he stays in, Joba can wait two days if history is on the line

      • A.D.

        Didn’t mean to post twice, comp error

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