Second straight awesome start lifts Yanks over Tigers


Last night’s game was quite similar to Tuesday’s. The Yankees scored in only two frames, and in one they piled it on. It wasn’t quite the 10-run seventh of Tuesday night, but the seven-run fourth was enough to propel the Yankees to a series victory.

Joba Chamberlain pitched his best game of 2009, going seven innings and allowing just one run. There were plenty of encouraging signs from Joba. He struck out six and surrendered only three hits, and kept his pitch count low at 88 (12.6/inning). He threw his fastball between 90 and 95 mph, mostly sitting 92-93. His curve and slider served him well, too.

The Tigers worked him a bit in the bottom of the third, the frame in which he walked three batters. Those were all he’d walk all game. Even in that frame he used just 21 pitches, which is remarkable given the three walks. In a true test for the young starter he faced Miguel Cabrera with the bases loaded and two outs. Big hitter, big spot. After working the count to 2-2, Joba got Miggy to whiff on a curveball. From there Joba cruised, mowing down the next nine Tigers he faced. The sixth was particularly sweet, as it ended after just five pitches. Even after putting two runners on to lead off the seventh, Joba managed to get the next three and used just 11 pitches total in the frame.

That ended Joba’s night, much to the dismay of many fans, myself included. At this stage Joba needs to be building up his pitch counts, and tonight presented an easy opportunity. After the game Girardi said that he did it to get the bullpen some work. “I was going to take him out regardless,” he said. It’s not a huge deal, but Joba’s not always going to have nights as efficient as this. Better to build him up now so he’s used to it when he needs it. It’s not a huge deal, though, and it now amounts to another inning Joba can pitch down the road.

The Yanks struck in the fourth, knocking around Porcello and forcing his ouster. The rally started in a strange manner, a hit and run with Hideki Matsui on first and Jorge Posada at the plate. It worked, as Jorge pulled a single through the right side. What followed was even more absurdity, as Jorge took advantage of not being held on and stole second. It didn’t much matter, though, as Nick Swisher cleared the bases five pitches later.

Melky Cabrera and Ramiro Pena restarted the rally with back to back singles. Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui both doubled, bringing home a combined four runs and extending the Yanks lead to 7-1. That was all the Yanks would need, but Nick Swisher, whose swing makes Earth rotate on its axis, decided he could use another homer. The Yanks threatened for more in the eighth, as Ryan Perry was once again all over the place, but Robinson Cano couldn’t make him pay for walking three straight.

The only blemish on the game was the ninth, which opened with Jon Albaladejo waking Miguel Cabrera on four pitches. By the time Albaladejo recorded the second out the Tigers had already scored a pair of runs. After a single the Tigers had first and third with two outs, which prompted Joe Girardi to go to…Mariano Rivera. It might seem like a strange call, especially in that situation, but Mo hadn’t worked since Friday night. His rust showed, as Curtis Granderson took the second pitch deep to right for a three-run shot, bringing the Tigers within two. Placido Polanco was kind enough to pop out to second to end it right there.

This is the kind of starting pitching the Yanks thought they’d have all season. If it can keep rolling, and if the offense can keep stringing together hits, our fears may be calmed over the next few days and weeks. The reeling Angels are headed to the Bronx for four games over the weekend. A.J. Burnett kicks things off tomorrow night against Angels No. 9 prospect Anthony Ortega.

Categories : Game Stories


  1. Jacob says:

    The curveball that Joba struck Cabrera out with was filthy.

    • Peter Lacock says:

      Nice call.

    • Short Porch says:

      The dude just happened to have the highest career average .440 bases loaded of any active player.

      That knee buckler was a statement. There’s FOUR pitches you got to worry about.

      What that start, that pitch, Joba arrived. The next night, Hughes answers.

      Now that IPK has been properly diagnosed, wouldn’t it be ironic if the big three ended up winning 30 games between them THIS year?

  2. Manimal says:

    Whose genius idea was it to have two 2 game series back to back IN MAY.

    • Chris says:

      They do this every year. There’s one week where the AL teams play two 2 game series and one where the NL teams do it. I have no idea why, but it’s been that way for a number of years.

  3. BigBlueAL says:

    Was there any talk after the game about Mo nursing a leg injury???? Phillips and Kruk on BBTN were saying he was definitely favoring his right leg hence his pitches tonight all in the high 80′s topping out at 90 mph. I know we all hate those guys on BBTN, but talk like that does make you nervous.

    • seanc says:

      I think the only problem with Mo was coming in for a non-save situation, and not pitching since friday (the rust factor). He also might not have been given enough time to warm up by the wonderful pitching intellect possessed by Girardi.

      I think this is just some of that typical BBTN nonsense where they are creating an issue that isn’t really there (which we all know NEVER happens at ESPN).

  4. josh says:

    if this continues and wang straightens out what happens? i know these things usually have a way of working themselves out but if wang is ready in a few weeks, everyone is healthy and joba and hughes are dominant would they send hughes back down? i dont think so right?

  5. Manimal says:

    As for Joba, Would you rather have an extra inning out of him in April or an extra inning in October… His innings limit stops him from going deep in games.

    • josh says:

      i guess the 8-1 lead allowed them to keep his innings down and give some guys some work to keep them sharp. unfortunately abaladejo stunk

      • andrew says:

        especially after the bullpen got minimal work the last few days (never a bad sign though), i didn’t have a huge issue with Joba being taken out with the Yankees up 7.

        • Peter Lacock says:

          Me either. He did enough for today.

        • steve (different one) says:

          i am also a proponent on letting young pitchers end on a positive note.

          Joba has yet to have a great start this season. last night was a great start.

          if he goes out there for the 8th and gives up a run or two, he leaves with a little bit of a sour taste.

          i’m not a big believer in stuff like this for veterans, but for a young guy struggling to find his stuff? why not?

          every single out doesn’t have to be managed to the SABR handbook. sometimes you do things to boost a guy’s confidence.

  6. Guys, just a quick question here (I’m only on page 7 of my paper, and thus doomed):

    Mo seems to be getting hit a lot more this season, but might our perceptions be altered just because he was that good last year and now he is pitching a little bit more like he’s 39 years old?

    You know, I could probably get Swisher to write this damend paper for me. There ain’t nothing the man can’t do.

    • BigBlueAL says:

      Well like I mentioned above, the BBTN guys immediately following the game were talking about how it was obvious that he was nursing an injury to his pushoff leg, his right leg. He has been on the DL in the past due to groin problems.

      Now tonight he looked awful, pitches werent even 90 mph and had no movement. So far this season I havent seen him top 91 mph, BUT his pitches were moving like crazy and he was getting the same types of swings and shattered bats with even more K’s than usual. So I dont know if tonight was a matter of not warming up enough and being rushed into the game or not. I mean vs Boston he struck out Pedroia and Ortiz nasty and jammed the crap out of Ellsbury and Drew as usual so that HR by Bay couldve been just attributed to it being his 1st time coming into the 8th inning and maybe running out of some gas by the time Bay came up.

      It is something to keep an eye on though I would assume.

      • Joey says:

        The first bunch of appearances before that Boston game he looked amazing, the usual Godly pitch working its magic. What happened between then and now is anyone’s guess, but like any other pitcher I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and think it’s just 2 crappy games before I make any rash assumptions, though I do see what you’re saying with his leg/groin could be the problem

        • Eric says:

          Mo always have a few hiccups in April that prompt people to wonder if he is finally done, and then he dominates for the rest of the year. I’ve seen this happen too many times to be concerned.

          • Joey says:

            Exactly, unless he or the team say something is physically wrong I’m not concerned, there are other things on the Yankees that deserve much more attention

          • Chris says:

            I wonder if he’s trying something different this year. It seems that he’s throwing more 4-seamers than he has in the past. Also, when pitching to lefties he used to throw almost exclusively cutters inside. Granderson’s home run was more of a back door cutter.

            • Peter Lacock says:

              I doubt there’s anything wrong with Mo. He just adjusted his cup.
              It’s bad that they lost to Boston because he’s not getting enough work but it’s good that he’s not getting overworked now.

  7. Andrew says:

    ESPN radar gun had him around 92-95 most of the night, hitting 94-95 far more often than he had in previous games. I’d say he sat around 93-94 a lot more than 92-93…

      • Tom Zig says:

        I know it has been mentioned before but why does Gameday say that every fastball is a 2-seamer? I didn’t think it was possible to 99 MPH 2-seamers.

    • BigBlueAL says:

      Funny thing is that Hughes was said to be sitting at 92-94 mph last night and was even being talked about how he looked stronger than in the past. Obviously Joba has the ability to throw 98 mph which Hughes cant but all of a sudden they now average the same velocity with their fastball. I dont know if thats a good thing since Hughes was throwing alot last season at 89-91 and now maybe he is both physically stronger and obviously healthy or is it still something to worry about that Joba averages the same MPH on his fastball as Hughes.

      Dont get me wrong I am NOT someone who wants Joba in the bullpen since even with his “reduced” velocity it is more than enough to dominate as a starter. But Im just saying maybe Hughes becomes the better starter between the 2 of them after all, wouldnt that be something????

  8. Andrew says:

    Oh, btw, absolutely no reason to risk running him out there after sitting through another long inning, on a cold night. His stamina will build up, there’s plenty of time. Don’t get all crazy over nothing.

  9. Mike says:

    Edited by RAB. You posted this exact comment in another thread. Plus, I’ll not have my second straight recap hijacked by another goddamn Joba bullpen argument.

    • Tony says:

      I obviously didn’t read all of this, yet my eyes are still bleeding. Why?

      • AndrewYF says:

        If someone has the capacity to throw 100mph, you have to let them throw 100mph. It is a well-known fact that if you have a pitcher throw a pitch in a game that is clocked at 100mph, you get 3 extra runs. So how can you not let Joba throw 100!?

        Or something. That’s pretty much the B-Jobber line at this point. It’s getting a little sad.

    • KP says:

      For all of us, shut the hell up. He’s a starter.

    • Jamal G. says:

      You people can’t let us just have this one night? My Mo, can we just have one night without you people mucking up the place?

    • Tom Zig says:

      Don’t days like today absolutely refute B-Jobber arguments?

      I mean dear lord, Joba made it through 7 innings on only 88 pitches. What more are you looking for?

      On any other day, Joba would have been sent out there for the 8th (therefore pitching in the oh so valuable 8th inning that B-Jobber’s are advocating he pitch in), but the bullpen actually needed to get work in. (This is kind of an odd statement considering I recently said that our bullpen was over worked). Couple that with an innings cap around 150 this year and the long top half of the 8th on a cold day meant that Joba’s day was over.

      On behalf of Joba Chamberlain, I would like to apologize for him “only” going 7 innings.

    • Matt ACTY says:

      I just spent a fairly long time FJM’ing this thing. Dammit.

  10. KP says:

    I think RAB should have a forum.. yup.

    So anyways, I think when Bruney comes back, Alby should be the one to go. This isn’t the first time he has looked like shit.

    I also think Shelly should be brought up for bench pop. Our lack of a pinch hitter with power is going to hurt late in games. Come on, we’re the team that had Brett Gardner Pinch Hit.

    I also think Melky has clearly won his starting role again. Brett is a good fielder, but not good enough to deal with a .200 batting average.

    When A-Rod comes up, our worst hitter will be.. Melky? I can deal with that.

    • This isn’t the first time he has looked like shit.

      I think Rivera should be the one to go. That’s two straight appearances now with home runs.

      Do you see what I did there?

      • Tom Zig says:

        Funny you mention that Ben. I saw a comment on a NY Daily News article that not only advocated moving Joba to the bullpen, but making him the closer and Mo the set up man.

        • I am now dumber for knowing of that article.

          • Tom Zig says:

            There was also a poll attached to the article. I’m sure you can guess what it was about and how the results turned out.

            • J.J. says:

              actually… this guy who wrote it may be smarter than you give him credit for. I didn’t read it but there is a growing theory that makes a lot of sense for relief pitching and it would remove mariano from the Closer role.

              There’s runners on 2nd and third with 2 outs in the bottom of the seventh. we’re up by one. A basehit puts us behind and basically, we NEED an out to ensure that the game is well on its way to being won… who should we bring out? Logic dictates that it should be our best pitcher. our best pitcher is Mo.

              Mariano and all elite relief pitchers should be used as our best pitcher not as the “9th inning guy” that many are used for. although relief pitching is important each team has a guy or 4 that you wouldn’t trust holding a 3 run lead in a vitally important spot. Having the flexibility to move Mo to where hes needed and not relegated to the 9th only duties helps the team immensely.. it just hurts Rotisserie Leaguers Save stats.

              I’m not saying he shouldn’t be closing games; because there are going to be many times the last three outs are going to be the most essential to the team’s success; but he should be used more often when he is needed seeing as he is the best pitcher on our staff.

              • Peter Lacock says:

                The game evolves but don’t expect Girardi to embrace this anytime soon.

              • MattB says:

                That’s not so much a growing theory as it is an older theory. Prior to the mid to late 80s, that’s how “relief aces” or “firemen” were dispatched. They came in with the game on the line and pitched in what are now called “high leverage” situations. It wasn’t until LaRussa and Duncan pioneered the uber-specialized bullpen in Oakland that the “closer” came about. Winning 3 straight pennants led everyone to copy that bullpen model, but not everyone had Dennis Eckersley.

                Check the BR pages for the other relievers in the Hall: Wilhelm, Fingers, Sutter, Gossage – these guys all pitched 100+ innings a year in their prime. Mike Marshall threw 208 (208!!) relief innings in 1974. Of course then his arm fell off. Sparky Lyle topped 100 innings in 5 of his 7 seasons with the Yankees and never threw less than 82. “Closers” today never top 80.

                I’m not suggesting that closers be used that way today. They aren’t conditioned for it. And despite likely offering far more value to their teams that way, they wouldn’t be compensated nearly as well without the almighty save totals.

      • KP says:

        If I had to pick one BP guy to go, it would be him, because kicking Marte would be a waste.

  11. Bryan says:

    Quote of the day: “We were happy to squeeze one out. The ninth inning is always different, but we got out of it,” -Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez

  12. dkidd says:

    we’ve turned it around. by next wednesday, we’ll be ahead of the sox.

    • Kevin Greene says:

      haha beat me to it by 1 min

    • a) I hate you for making me read the Daily News.

      2) You know, obviously that article is a very short, incomplete synopsis of some of what’s going to be in the book… But the only thing in that article that I think is even news-worthy is that he may have been using PEDs in high school. That seems like the only allegation supported by any sort of evidence (eyewitness accounts, etc.). All the other stuff is “Bob in accounting had suspicions,” or “he was on the same team as Kevin Brown,” etc. I don’t know, most of the things described in that article seem really, really weak to me.

      3) Is the Daily News a PR outfit for HarperCollins now? Fuck the heck?

    • Rich says:

      The words “strongly suggests” invoke a standard that is worthy of a gossip column, not a book that should be taken seriously.

    • Brooklyn Ed says:

      I don’t believe it. If it was the truth then why wasn’t it out before?

  13. Kevin Greene says:

    UGH….check out the NY Daily news website, new arod book…. took roids in hs and as a yankee… here is the last line which makes it just over the top annoying

    He was even hated at Hooters, where he tipped the minimum 15%, the book says.

    guess we have this to look forward to for the next week…

  14. Rich says:

    He had the best command he has had since his first start of the season:


    v. Det: 38-50 57% strikes

    v. Bos: 42-49 54% strikes

    v. Cle: 44-47 52% strikes

    v. KC: 32-56 64% strikes

  15. [...] Confidence Poll « Second straight awesome start lifts Yanks over Tigers Apr [...]

  16. BigBlueAL says:

    Oh boy, I just read a quote from Brett Gardner where he said the problem is he is taking too many pitches and needs to be more aggressive. I see some 1-2 pitch ab’s resulting in the same crap for Gardner in the future….

  17. Drew says:

    What would it take to get Houston Street in a month if the Rockies are still playing badly?

  18. Axl says:

    What doesn’t make any sense is that our starting pitching has only seen maybe 4 total dominant starts. Other than it’s been mediocre to record-breaking awful. Our bullpen is on the verge to become the worst bullpen in the history of the world. We’ve hit into the 2nd most double plays in the league. We’re ranked 2nd worst with hitting with RISP. We have several guys going down with injuries or that have already been on the DL with injuries. And Mariano Rivera has given up 2 home runs in 8.2 innings. Meanwhile the Red Sox have won 12 out of their last 13 games.

    And despite all of this…SOMEHOW…we’re still only 3 games out of 1st place. How does that work????

    • steve (different one) says:

      well, it works b/c sometimes numbers can be misleading. most of the bullpen woes can be traced to 3-4 games where they gave up a ton of runs in what were basically lost causes.

      also, you are exaggerating how poor the starting pitching has been. Pettitte’s been good to very good in all 4 of his starts. Burnett had 2-3 good starts before shitting the bad last time. Sabathia has had 2-3 good starts. Joba and Hughes just gave back to back excellent starts.

      they haven’t been “dominating”, but you can see it starting to come together. Sabathia is getting stronger. he made one bad pitch last time. Joba is getting stronger. Hughes looks like he belongs at least.

      think about it like this:

      the Yankees are 11-10 despite playing 15 out of 21 games on the road so far. if Mariano holds onto that game in Boston, they’d be 12-9, and you’d have to be thrilled with that, no? 15 road games, no A-Rod, nothing from Wang, little from Teixeira?

      if i told you before the season that Wang, Bruney, Nady, would be hurt, and Sabathia and Teixeira would have their typical slow April, what would you guess their record is right now? 8-13?

      in a month, they could have Bruney, A-Rod, and maybe even Nady back. Melancon and hopefully Robertson will have settled in.

      this is a good team.

      • Axl says:

        Very true…although “home games” certainly won’t have the same feel in a new stadium that plays entirely different from the old one. Especially if there isn’t as many people showing up to cheer for them…

        But I get what you’re saying. We do have a good team…but a lot of things have gone wrong…and to think that everything is just going to go right the rest of the way eventually is to be a tad naive I think…

        But we all hope that’s the case…and only time will tell.

      • Chris C. says:

        “if i told you before the season that Wang, Bruney, Nady, would be hurt, and Sabathia and Teixeira would have their typical slow April, what would you guess their record is right now?”

        I’d guess they’d be around 13-8.
        They’re a 200 million dollar ballclub, and you’re acting like a few injuries and slow starts should turn them into the little engine that could!
        Yankee fans always think they’re the only team who gets injuries and slow starts by sluggers.
        The Red Sox are without Dice-K, Smoltz, Lowrie, Lugo, Baldelli, and Kotsay. St. Louis is without Carpenter and Glaus. Toronto is without Romero, BJ Ryan, Barrett, Litch, and Shawn Marcum…..and they lost Burnett to the Yankees.

        And all those teams are about 4 games ahead of the Yankees right now. AROD is a luxury item. Without him, they still have the highest payroll in baseball by a good margin.
        So there’s no reason they shouldn’t be a few games over .500 even without these guys.

        They are not 11-10 because of injuries. They are 11-10 because of inconsistent baseball.

        • They’re a 200 million dollar ballclub, and you’re acting like a few injuries and slow starts should turn them into the little engine that could!

          You’re acting like being a $200M ballclub means they should be flawless. We’re not.

          • Chris C. says:

            “You’re acting like being a $200M ballclub means they should be flawless. We’re not.”

            How am I acting like they should be flawless by saying I’d guess they’d be 13-8 right now even without the above mentioned players?

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