Yanks rough up Eyre, Phils


No matter what happened on the offensive side of the ball today — and plenty did — the story was obviously going to be about Joba Chamberlain. There has been some internal concern about him, though nothing too serious since he’s still taking the ball every fifth day. This signals that he’s not hurt, because if there was any concern that he was, he wouldn’t be on the mound. So that’s a bit reassuring in itself. Some, though, are questioning his seemingly diminished velocity, citing his mid-90s heat even after he transitioned to the rotation.

We talked a bit about this in the podcast, coming up at 7, but there are a number of factors at work here. We know that in Spring Training most guys are consciously working on certain aspects of their games. Joba’s fastball velocity might not be of the utmost concern to him and his coaches at this point. He’s got to work up his strength to get to that level, and that could take some time. Plus, he’s also buddying around with A.J. Burnett, whose story this winter was how he learned from Roy Halladay that he doesn’t have to go max effort every time. Maybe Joba’s trying to learn that lesson early in his career.

Then again, maybe the velocity is a concern and we’re just sticking our fingers in our ears. That could be the case, no doubt, but at this point it’s probably best to watch how he’s throwing overall and ignore fastball velocity. If it becomes a problem during the season, that’s something to worry about then. For now, though, Joba’s not looking too bad at all.

After starting off the first inning with two straight outs, he gave up back to back homers to Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Those are two premier hitters; it’s going to happen from time to time. After that, though, he seemed to settle down a bit. It’s also reassuring that those were the only two runs he surrendered — and two of the three hits. A bit more concerning are the three walks he issued. I’d like to think that this was the result of him working on hitting corners and using his secondary pitches a bit more often than he would in a game, but that could be the rose-colored view. In any case, he didn’t let it affect his results. We can safely place this game alongside Joba’s last two starts, in the “not overwhelming, but far from bad” category. Also remember, he’s not going to start a game until April 12. There’s still time.

The bullpen finished off the game without surrendering a run. Edwar Ramirez continued his spring dominance, striking out two in a perfect inning. The shoulder concerns from earlier this spring seem to be gone, and it looks like he’s just about locked up his bullpen spot. Brian Bruney got through a scoreless inning with a strikeout, lowering his spring ERA to 6.75. Jose Veras and Jon Albaladejo, who could be battling for that last roster spot, both tossed well, neither recording a strikeout, though Veras allowed two hits. And finally, Phil Coke struck out the only two batters he faced in direct relief of Chamberlain. He, too, has all but locked up his bullpen spot.

The Yanks managed four long flies in the game: Matsui, Ransom, Swisher, and Melky. The Yanks really took it to Scott Eyre, knocking him around for five runs in the eighth, including the Melky and Swisher home runs. Otherwise, Swisher took yet another walk and Melky went 2 for 3 with an RBI single on top of his two-run jack. Oh, and Derek Jeter went 2 for 4 in the leadoff spot. Girardi is a genius.

All in all, it was another encouraging spring game. The Yanks look like they’re in sync right now, and we can only hope this spills over into the season. Man, what I wouldn’t give to have it starting on time this year. April 6 seems like forever away.

Categories : Game Stories


  1. Yankee1010 says:

    Will Carroll – not smart.

    The Yankee Universe linked to this. It’s unreal in so many ways.

    WC:It’s the Longoria plan combined with the Joba rules. I don’t hate it, but I don’t like what it says about the game. I’m much more into the idea of protecting him. I do think he’s got to get a third pitch and even more than with Chamberlain, I’m not off the idea that he could end up a closer. It’s funny because with Chamberlain, I think he’s a better RP than SP, but think he’ll end up as an SP. By that I mean that as an RP, he’s probably one of the best in the game, right now. He would be dominant, would take over the closer role eventually, and is probably as good as Papelbon. As an SP, he’s going to be good, a solid #3, but never dominant. I’m not sure which is more valuable honestly.

  2. Cor Shep says:

    Are they going to keep Jeter at lead-off or are they just experimenting?

  3. Austin says:

    no RAB radio show today?

  4. Lanny says:

    Bruney is going to be one of the big keys for the season. If hes good the pitching is set. If he is bad or even average it throws everything off. And then we got problems.

    • Double-J says:

      Or not. Coke, Marte, and Ramirez all look ready willing and able to take up the 8th inning job.

    • Darth Stein says:

      I am going to go ahead and disagree here. I don’t see any one reliever as a big key for this season. Especially not with all the RP depth the Yankees have. If you want to make an argument for any RP being a key you could try Mo, but I just cannot see it at all with Bruney.

    • A.D. says:

      I really wouldn’t say problems, but it obviously weakens the pen. Right now the Yanks are counting on him being the 8th inning guy. If he goes back to blowing, then they’ll just have to shuffle around a bit.

  5. btour99 says:

    MLB 09 The Show has had Jeter batting leadoff for the past two weeks. I Girardi really a genius? Is it a coincidence? Or is Girardi taking advice from San Diego Studios?

  6. Rob S. says:

    Ok, let’s not freak out everytime Joba gives up a run. It’s going to happen, you can’t expect perfection. A starting pitcher’s job is to keep his team in the game, Joba did and they won. They don’t expect or want him throwing 98 miles an hour as a starter. His velocity should settle into the mid-nineties.

  7. jason says:

    If I remember correctly , last spring joba had a similar issue in that people were seeing him post 93-95 and saying what is wrong with him. It seems to me that this is classic power starter routine, sit comfortablely at 93-95 with the ability to pump it up to 97-100 to get the K. Its almost like having another pitch you have your fastball 93-95 and then you have the HEAT 97-100, he is trying to find a middle ground so he can log more innings.
    As for him being a #3 pitcher, I think that he needs to develop I think right now he is a #3-#4 pitcher. If you add a curve he can throw in any count/for strikes hes a #2. You add to that a split/change and something like a cutter that you can throw for strikes and you have shown the ablilty to log innings #1-#2. Think Roy Halladay…

  8. Jim in Bingo says:

    I saw Joba get up to 93 or so during the game, but in that first inning he was struggling to touch 90. The fastball that Utley demolished was 89 and right down the middle. That’s batting practice.

    I’m officially worried. We’re damned close to the season right now. This isn’t March 1. Joba needs to be sitting 94-5 and touching 99 when he needs a big pitch. He seems from my watching of the game last night to be sitting 90-91 and dialing it up to 94-5.

    That’s not going to work — he doesn’t have Mussina’s stuff to get away with that.

  9. Jim in Bingo says:

    Also re the Jeter/Damon switch:

    As many folks have pointed out this could cut down on Jeter’s double plays.

    However it is also the case — Bill James (yeah I know he works for the Sawx now) noted a couple of years ago, and had the numbers to back it up, that Jeter has become dreadful at going 1st to 3rd and 2nd to home. Surely not the ideal for a leadoff hitter.

    I seem to recall conjecture that it was that should separation going first to third a few years back that perhaps had made him hesitant to take the extra base.

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