Home runs, pitching land Yanks in third

Game 63: Bringin' the Heat
Horne returns, rain spoils the game

For a night, at least, the Yankees will be in third place in the AL East. After their 6-3 victory over the Royals on a stifling hot Sunday afternoon in the Bronx, the Bombers are 32-31, tied with the Blue Jays for the third slot in their division.

The story of the day — outside of Joey Gathright’s single-handedly keeping this game closer than it should have been — once again belonged to the starter, Joba Chamberlain. No one else gets a standing ovation in the Bronx before delivering the first pitch. It truly is a sight to see.

After a shaky first inning last time out, Joba came out strong and finished strong. In between, he ran into some trouble. In 78 pitches spanning 4.1 innings, Joba gave up five hits and three runs — two earned — on five strike outs and one walk. He had baserunners in every inning but the fourth.

As progress goes, today’s outing was definitely a step forward. Joba is maintaining a strike out rate of better than one per inning, and he should reach the 90-100 pitch mark later this week. From a pitch-by-pitch perspective, he seems to be having problems burying the curveball. His one mistake of the afternoon was on a 3-2 hanging curveball slider to Jose Guillen. The walk to DeJesus in the fifth that chased Joba from the game also came on a 3-2 breaking ball that Joba couldn’t spot. As he throws more, I expect these pitches to improve, and overall, this outing was a good second start from Joba as the Yanks stretch him out.

Meanwhile, the Yankee offense did its thing. They scored six runs on two home runs and a booming double by A-Rod. Johnny Damon continued his hot hitting; Jason Giambi, now batting .317 with 12 home runs and 19 walks over his last 148 plate appearances since April 22, crushed another home run; Bobby Abreu belted an upper deck shot in the first.

On the mound, Dan Giese continued to throw strikes, and Jose Veras worked a solid eighth, allowing a hit but striking out two. It was rather notable that Veras pitched instead of Farnsworth late in a three-run game, and I have to believe that Veras is slowly inching ahead of Kyle.

Personally, today was one of those days where I was glad to be sitting along the first base line in the upper deck. The Yanks were giving out water for free, and everyone in the stadium was doused in sweat. It was hot; it was humid; but when Rivera threw his seventh pitched and retired Mike Aviles to end the game, it was well worth it.

We’ll do it again tomorrow at 1:05 p.m. when Mike Mussina goes for win number 10. The Yanks will look to stay in third place and above .500 for longer than 21 hours.

Game 63: Bringin' the Heat
Horne returns, rain spoils the game
  • Newman

    Ben, I was at the game too today and boy it was quite humid. Just out of curiousity, do you have a partial ticket plan or do you just pick random games to go to? I have the Sunday plan in Tier 12 so thankfully we were covered in shade today (although it really didn’t do much). As for the game, I thought the 3-2 to Guillen was a slider, but regardless, it certainly was a hanger. Overall though I definitely agree, good outing and positive step for Joba – made one mistake pitch but the 5-1 K-BB was encouraging after he was uncharacteristically wild in his first start (which definitely could’ve been attributed to nerves/excitement)

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      I’ve got a bunch of random games, and I stubhub a few others when I’m in the mood. Great game today.

      Gameday called that pitch a curve, and on the video, it looks like a curve. Either way, it hung, and Guillen hit it. That’s for sure.

      • http://www.pinstripealley.com jscape2000

        I think Joba called it a slider in the postgame- I could be misremembering though…

  • Rich

    FWIW, Cone also called the pitch that Guillen hit a slider.

    The Yankees can’t let Guillen hurt them in a big spot tomorrow.

    They said after the game that Farnworth had a slightly sore bicep, although he said he could have pitched.

    I thought the NJ.com beat reporter had a stupid comment about Joba’s outing:

    The second start for Joba Chamberlain went slightly better than the first, but like his debut it didn’t end up making much of a difference in the game’s final outcome.

  • jake

    hey i was jus wonderin if anybody thought we should make a run at this 3rd baseman from cuba that just defected? maybe move him to first base hes only “19”. of course that is if he becomes a free agent.

    • A.D.

      I thought I read he was 18, so even then he’d be tops 22. Though he didn’t defect through the Dominican, so I don’t know how that works.

      I’m sure the Yanks will go after him if they rate him favorably, though the last Cuban 3B they signed didn’t pan out

      • jake

        yea i mean its worth a shot i think …i say sign him and go out n get inoa and the outfielder from venezuela and along with or first 2 picks in the draft we have 4 maybe 5 really good prospects to plug into the system.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=594331910 Jamal G.

        His “agent” says he was processed in May, prior to the Rule IV draft this past week so he should be considered an un-drafted free agent thus making him available to all 30 organizations. However, MLB stipulates that all draftees in the Rule IV draft are listed on an eligibility list that is sent out to the 30 organizations, if a player’s name does not appear on that list then he can not be drafted. Therefore these rules make it seem that Dayán Viciedo will be unavailable to the 30 MLB teams until the 2009 First-Year Player Draft (Rule IV Draft) where he will be regarded as any other eligible draftee that year.

  • The Scout

    I like the fact that Girardi doesn’t seem wedded to a fixed plan for using the bullpen. Farnsworth had a couple of shots at the 8th inning and didn’t do well; the manager is open-minded enough to give less heralded pitchers a shot. Giese is pitching himself into a role as the long arm in the bullpen. No one out there seems headed for Scott Proctor overuse.

    • Rich

      Ohlendorf was overused earlier in the season, though not lately. He seems to be most effective when he is only used for one IP.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        Hopefully, Giese sticks around and Ollie can remain a one-inning guy. He’s got the stuff to be a solid cog on this team. It’s about making less mistakes as a young pitcher.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      I think he should have left Giese in the game in the 8th. Give everyone else a rest before the cross-country trip.

      • Todd

        yeah but Torre never would have let him pitch the seventh!

      • A.D.

        Probably would have if the Yanks were having a better season, I think Girardi wants to make sure to nail down every game the Yanks have a late lead in (not that he wouldn’t anyways, but more urgency), and also setting up Giese with a chance to win off a good outing and such. Still finding out exactly what they have in Giese

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          He’s either going to be a “lightning in a bottle” guy, or he’s going to flame out. He’s 31. He is what he is. Time will tell whether, in 2008, he’s Aaron Small or whether he’s Jim Brower.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=594331910 Jamal G.

    LoL, don’t get too excited about Kyle Farnsworth’s absence. He was just unavailable today. I knew something was up, and I am not completely convinced that he can’t get it together. His stuff is just so damn good.

    MLB.com: Right-hander Kyle Farnsworth was unavailable Sunday with what Girardi said was a “cranky” right bicep, though the reliever should not miss more time.


    • mustang

      Now that’s good news.

      • mustang

        At least we get one day off maybe it will be longer.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=594331910 Jamal G.

      That link also has updates on Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy.

  • Haggs

    It wasn’t the curve that gave Joba trouble today, it was the slider. It was either up (like the one to Guillen) or a foot in front of the plate and no one chased it. It didn’t have the nasty bite it usually does, which makes it more impressive he lasted as long as he did.

    I counted (using Gameday) 8 curveballs for Joba all day, and six of them were called strikes. One of the two balls was an 82 mph pitch to Gordon. Since all of the other curves were between 76 and 78 mph, I’m guessing it was a slider and not a deuce. Which would make the count seven curves, six for called strikes.

    He’s gonna need to go to that pitch more once he starts facing guys 3 and 4 times in a lineup. KC doesn’t have too many ML hitters, but the ones they do have did not look overmatched today.

  • Chip

    I believe he threw a few changes too. I think that 82 mph “curve” to Gordon was a change as well

  • http://yankeesetc.blogspot.com/ Travis G.

    not to nitpick but guillen’s HR was on a slider. joba and jorge should’ve seen how good his swings were on the slider in that ab and chosen a different 3-2 pitch. posada’s great at the plate but irritates me behind the plate. perhaps i’ve gotten spoiled by Molina’s D.

    i know joba’s first change was the first pitch to gordon (in his 2nd ab iirc), even though neither cone or kay recognized it. it was a decent one too, called strike 1. he threw two more in the game, the next in the dirt followed by another called strike.

    he basically made one big mistake today. but 4.1 ip, 2 er is a 4.15 era, better than every starter but Rasner and Moose.

    • Todd

      Posada has been driving me crazy behind the plate for years. Even the way he throws the ball back to the pitcher for heavens sake! And that strikeout/passed ball to the Royals’ catcher was a disgrace. It was like that play was in the Royals game plan because he never broke stride and made it to second. I have never seen that in my life on any level. Posada’s arm is going to be a major problem–let alone his inability to block pitches with the young pitchers coming up.

      • LiveFromNewYork

        Jorge works well with certain pitchers and others not so much. I think Mussina doesn’t like him and Mikey gets cranky about things like that. Joba shook him off a few times and I’m not sure Jorge was loving that a lot. They should have never called that slider whoever did. And the passed ball was just amateur.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

    Ok, Ok. I hear ya. It was a slider. The post’s been updated.

  • Axl

    Joba in the rotation just proves how stupid our management is. If they were to do this…it should have been done during spring training. I understand the other rookies have turned out…not only worse than expected…but worst case scenario by far…and we’re in panic mode in the last year in the original “House that Ruth Built”…but other teams used to come in knowing they only had 7 innings to score runs and try and win the game…which is a huge psychological advantage.
    Now, not only do they know they have the 8th inning as well…they know they have an even BETTER chance in the 8th inning to score more runs with the likes of Hawkins or (even worse) Kyle Farnsworth in there pitching. This gives the other team a huge advantage. Joba used to electrify the crowd and strike fear in the hitters…now he’s starting games without much excitement (especially at the moment) and hitters are just either sitting on his control problems…or waiting for him to make a inevitable rookie mistake they can take out of the park. Why take something that was already great…because you have a FEELING that he could be equally as good as something else? That’s like taking Arod and gambling on him being good at another position…oh wait.
    “Iron” Mike Mussina is on the mound tonight and on pace to win 20 games for the first time in his career. Well, up until the other starters start coming around…which will conveniently result in Mike Mussina coming back down to earth…beause heaven forbid if any of our starters all are good at the same time…that would just be crazy!
    Robinson Cano is making too much money for his age…and we’re now seeing the effects of his new contract getting to his head. He hasn’t concentrated enough on his hitting like maybe he used to. Yes, he’s a second half player sicne he’s been here…but this is easily his worst start yet and I haven’t seen any signs of improvement. He’s had a few multi-hit games lately…but nothing that wow’s me and he just seems like he’s playing without any energy or excitement. Same goes for Melky. These two are the youngest position players on the team and I haven’t heard a peep from these guys…they look like they’re about to retire after this season.

    To be honest I think it’s just been tough luck with coincidence and circumstance with the Yankees the past couple years. It’s very strange how it’s happened but it certainly has been. From Tony Clark’s double just barely grazing the wall for a very disappointing ground rule double that could have won the series, to Matsui and Sheffield breaking their wrists, to Hughes and Kennedy this year…it just seems like NOTHING has been going our way for quite some time. Yes, we’ve had the Aaron Small’s, Shawn Chacon’s, Shelley Duncan’s and Darrell Rasner’s come once in a while…but other teams are having these kind’s of things happen…without the other major inconveniences.

    The one time we don’t play the Angels in the first round of the playoffs, they’re all injury battered and beaten up. Just the way it’s been happening.

    Is it the curse has been reversed? Did the Babe catch wind that there was going to be a new Yankee Stadium and change his mind about showing up in the playoffs for us?

    Sounds far fetched…but so isn’t eveything that’s been going on around us.

    – Axl

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Why is this so damn hard to understand? Joba could not be moved into the rotation during spring training because then he would have hit his innings cap in August. PERIOD. That’s it. He wouldn’t have been able to pitch more than two-thirds of the season. This is rocket science.

      And as we’ve written ad nauseum, your 8th inning argument is, frankly, bullshit. But I’m not writing yet another post as to why.

      • http://2009 Haggs

        His post was too hard to read, but the Yanks and Joba would have been better off if he was a starter out of spring training, them moved to the pen later in the summer as he approached x amount of innings. That’s not rocket science either. And if you need an example of how it could work, check how this was done the very same pitcher last year.


        He would have weeks of practice games to prepare to be a starter, instead of re-learning midseason out of the bullpen in what most of us agree was a half-assed plan.

        All the media crap would have been over with during spring training. Any ineffectiveness from the bullpen replacements would have been offset (hopefully) by an effective Joba the starter. And if the bullpen sucked hard in the first half, everyone could simply reply, “Joba will be back there in August, and we’ll have plenty of options next spring.” The way the Yanks did it, they created an unnecessary gap between Joba helping the team in the 8th inning and Joba helping the team as a starter, and they did not adequately prepare themselves for his absence from the pen.

        Doing it this way would have to have been physically easier for Joba to handle, because as mentioned above this is the exact same way he did it last year (just that his innings as a starter were in the minor leagues).

        It almost makes too much sense.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

          So tell me then what you do in August when Joba hits his innings limit.

          • http://2009 Haggs

            Math isn’t my specialty but:

            You say before the season x is the max number of innings we want him to pitch.

            In August and September last year he pitched 24 innings out of the pen, but you’d have to figure he’d pitch a bit more than that this time around with less rules to follow, and he’d probably hit the max earlier than August.

            So you cap his innings as a starter at about 35 less than the max, then let him hit the max in the bullpen.

            Then in ’09 he’s in the rotation full-time.