Strike out-happy Yanks down punchless Padres

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Just two days ago, I wrote up a 14-strike out game tossed by Andy Pettitte and the Yankee bullpen. It was the first time in nearly two years that the Yanks had reached that lofty K plateau. Little did I know they would reach — and exceed — that level again less than 48 hours later.

Behind a strong, 100-pitch outing from Joba Chamberlain, four Yankee pitchers combined for a whopping 15 strike outs of the San Diego Padres. Joba started off the fun with 2 K’s in the first and hardly looked back. On the day, he threw a few too many balls (42) and issued a few too many walks (3), but in 5.2 innings, Joba struck out nine and gave up just four hits. Outside of a rough first outing, his transition into the rotation has been about as smooth as we could expect.

On the season, Joba has yet to pick up a win as a starter, but to anyone who follows the team, that matters very little. The Yanks are now 3-1 in Joba’s four starts, and the right-hander has thrown 18.1 innings while striking out 19. For all the analysts who said Joba couldn’t keep up his velocity and strike out totals, Chamberlain is doing a good job of proving them wrong so far.

Of course, it’s still early on in Joba’s career, and he’s still finding his way as a Major League starter. The walk total — 12 in 18.1 innings — is, point blank, unacceptable. It will get better.

After Joba’s departure, Jose Veras, Kyle Farnsworth and Mariano Rivera combined for 3.1 innings of scoreless, one-hit relief. The trio struck out six with Mariano Rivera’s continuing to utterly dominate the Padres. He faced San Diego three times this week and nailed down seven strike outs.

Offensively, the Yankees took advantage of the Padres’ weakness. While Josh Banks continued his stellar pitching this season, the Yanks exploited the Padres’ catchers. Melky Cabrera scored the Yanks’ first run of the game off a walk, two stolen bases and a sacrifice fly. A Derek Jeter stolen base put him in position to advance to third on a Bobby Abreu ground-out and score on an A-Rod single. Who says the Yanks can’t run?

With that win, the Yanks win their seventh in a row. It is their longest winning streak since they won nine in a row against the White Sox, Pirates and Diamondbacks in June of 2007. The Yanks, it seem, love beating up those weak NL teams.

Riding high on a win streak and just 2.5 games behind the Wild Card-leading Tampa Bay Rays, the Yanks will meet the Reds, another last-place NL team, this weekend. Edinson Volquez and his sub-2.00 ERA go on Friday. The Yanks are finding ways to win big and small, and I’m lovin’ every minute of it.

RAB trade deadline podcast
Open Thread: Evaluating RAB
  • J.R.

    40k’s in 3 games. Thats awesome.

  • iYankees

    I’m so syked for Volquez VS. Mussina. The Yanks have been a lot of fun to watch during this 7-game streak. Too bad the AL East is so deep. They haven’t really closed the gap against the Sox (and the Rays keep winning), but the WC is certainly in reach.

  • joba

    staten island yankees tonight baby!

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    Congratulations Joe Girardi! You are now an above .500 manager.

    Here’s to no looking back! Cheers!

  • Alan

    As much as I love the Yankees, I’m looking forward to watching Edinson Volquez tomorrow. Tier Reserved here I come!

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      I’m looking forward to the Yankees blasting him.

      • Alan

        Oh I hope so too, but Jay Bruce and Volquez are both pretty exciting young players. Regardless, I’ll be sporting my Joba shirt (albeit, a day late).

        • Slugger27

          hope its the joba rules shirt… i got one of those myself

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    I look forward to the Yankees welcoming this Mr. Volquez to the major leagues on Friday.

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    Could you imagine if Edison Volquez would have been a Yankee? Fans would have had him run out of town. He’s a great example of being patient with your young guys.

    • dan

      Very true. And for the record, he’s still walking 4.5 per 9

      • pete

        which is 3 per 6 which is less than joba’s rate certainly (in starts)

  • Babe’s Ghost

    I’m looking forward to Joba learning the Stottlemeyer/Rivera lesson… that you can win just as often and pitch for longer if you don’t always go for the strikeout. Sure it’s nice to be overpowering and pile up strikeouts, but I’d rather Joba were more efficient, threw eight innings without a walk and saved his strikeouts for when he was in trouble.

    He’s got the stuff to dominate hitters, he has to make them feel like they better swing early otherwise it will be strike one, strike two. Get them swinging and making bad contact, instead of trying to blow it by them or get a swing and a miss with the slider.

    But he’s young and he will learn and it will be a lot of fun to watch.

    • nmc

      funny thing, though, is this season, where Mo has been striking people out like mad. still uses almost no pitches. he just pounds the strike zone and is basically unhittable once you’re behind in the count.

  • A-Point

    While Joba threw too many balls, I didn’t think that his control was bad. He wasn’t wild, so I think he will get better as some times goes on with painting the corners.

  • J.R.

    Get the ball count down and he will deffinently go deeper into games.

  • dan

    SI Yanks and Bklyn cyclones on SNY right now

    • yankeemonkey

      No switch-pitcher :(

      • dan

        he’s a reliever… wait a little bit

  • Slugger27

    the 8 hole hitter working a 1 out walk… stealing 2nd, stealing 3rd, and running home on the 9 hole hitter’s sac fly was more exciting than any solo homer… how bout them yankees?

  • Jamal G.

    Oh man, I’m watching Alan Horne’s start vs. the Toledo Mud Hens via MiLB.TV and his Curveball is just nasty, and I mean nasty.

    • Jamal G.

      Nick Green just put a charge into one, over the wall in LF.

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  • John Cerra