Yanks find the other end of a blowout, down Tigers 11-0

Montero's two homers lead Tampa to win
Debating Hughes as a reliever

The Yankees didn’t just end their losing streak last night. They pulverized it, and then gave it a purple nurple for good measure. The 10-run seventh was just what the team needed, and it was more than enough to trounce the Tigers 11-0. Things looked grim for the offense in the early going, but they grinded it out* against Edwin Jackson and did what they do best, getting to the weak Tigers bullpen by the seventh. It was all over from there.

*It sounds better than “ground it out.”

While the crooked number in the seventh looks pretty, the story of the night was Phil Hughes. The Yanks needed a good start from their former No. 1 prospect, and he came through with six innings of shutout ball, allowing just two hits and two walks. It was more than the team could have asked for. Hughes looked sharp all night, striking out six along the way. He threw 58 of his 99 pitches for strikes, 59 percent, a bit below the ideal number (66%). That led to a higher pitch per inning total, 16.5, than he’d like. But he’ll have at least a few more starts to work out those kinks.

Hughes mixed his pitches well, throwing what looked like three fastballs — a four-seamer, a two-seamer, and his cutter. Gameday logged almost all his fastballs as two-seamers, but also had him 93 to 94 on many of them, especially in the early innings. Before even seeing the Gameday I thought they were four-seamers and the 88-mph ones were either two-seamers or cutters, depending on how they broke. It looks like Hughes is back up to advertised velocity. His curve was on for the most part, and it was deadly when he got ahead in the count. If he can improve on his efficiency over his next few starts, the Yanks just might realize the potential of Philip J. Hughes.

Through six the results looked like the same old Yankees. They failed to score with runners in scoring position in the third, fourth, and six. In the latest they squandered a Hideki Matsui triple — a sign of the apocalypse if I’ve interpreted my scripture correctly. But while they were futile with RISP, they slowly chipped away at Edwin Jackson, forcing him to throw 117 pitches in six innings and forcing the Tigers to go to the bullpen. The Yanks saw 32 pitches in the fourth, including Robinson Cano‘s 12-ptich at bat which featured six two-strike fouls. Even in the fifth, when the Yanks went down 1-2-3, they managed to see 14 pitches. It all added up, and it exposed a weak Tigers bullpen.

And then there’s the seventh. Oh how sweet was the seventh. After opening the frame with a strike, the Tigers’ 2008 No. 1 pick Ryan Perry had trouble finding the plate. It’s not a good day when you walk Melky Cabrera on four pitches. With runners on first and second with none out Girardi decided to nix the double play and have Molina sacrifice. That’s not normally a good move with Ramiro Pena to follow, but Jorge Posada toughed out his sore hammy and hit a strange sac fly/error combination to plate two runs. He looked pretty bad in the at bat, and the ball should have been caught, but it plated runs and that’s what the Yanks needed. Little did they know it was only a prelude to a drubbing.

In fact, let’s relive the seventh via the play-by-play:

That’s two Melky Cabrera walks, two appearances on base for Nick Swisher, and, of course one grand slam by Jose Molina, an absolute bomb to left-center. Like Varitek on Saturday, Molina cheated fastball and it paid off. While the Tek homer still hurts a bit, comparing him to Molina dulls the pain a bit.

With the win in hand we can now look forward to tomorrow night when Joba Chamberlain faces 20-year-old Rick Porcello. His full name: Fredrick Alfred Porcello. That is a fine sounding name. Hopefully he pitches like Ryan Perry.

P.S. Teixeira had better get a hit tomorrow, or he knows what’s going to be waiting for him at the Stadium on Thursday.

Montero's two homers lead Tampa to win
Debating Hughes as a reliever
  • JobaWockeeZ

    LOL. Love the vid.

  • A.D.

    Nice game to get out of the funk.

    Hughes was definitely squeezed at points which hurt the strike rate & pitch count, but that will happen.

  • tommyfusco

    karma for tex?

    • Drew

      If karma is spelled A-P-R-I-L, then yes.

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    Hava Molina!
    Hava Molina!
    Hava Molina!

    *chair dance* If you’ve ever been to a bar mitzvah or Jewish wedding you know what I’m talking about

    • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

      I haven’t, but I’ve seen plenty of movies with this.

      • Joey

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOxVXQlZXqI&feature=related

        Best vid on Youtube I could find that sung it clearly. A lot of fun, bar/bat mitzvah boy/girl or wedding couple sit on chairs and are lifted up and down while everybody dances and claps around them Good times

        Now you’re cultured

        • Drew

          The dude in the middle singing looks like Eric from That 70’s Show.

  • Brooklyn Ed

    anyone thinks Ryan Freel would make a good CFer? he’s very unhappy being with the Orioles since he has no playing time there.

    • Baseballnation

      Why do a rush deal…Cabrera is playing very well right now and i think they should right that out and then see what ty can scavage for if he cools off and Gadner completely embarrases himself.

      The bigger question is what happes to Wang once hes ready to return and Hughes keeps dealing like this??

      • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

        1. Hughes gets his ass sent down.

        Or

        2. The Yanks go to a six-man rotation.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Might hurt his pride, but:

          3. Wang works his way back into the rotation slowly by making appearances out of the bullpen.

          • Drew

            I don’t know about that. Wang’s sinker needs regular work and 4 days rest.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Meh, maybe you pair Wang up with either Hughes or Joba and have him pitch the 6th through the 9th. As in, keep him on scheduled rest but don’t give him any starts. Treat it like mini-spring training for him and Joba (or Hughes), they’re both getting in work on the same day.

              It’s not ideal, but all I’m saying is if all 5 of our starters are good and grooving, why give starts to the most clearly inferior of the 6? Why not work him back in slowly and limit his exposure (and thus, our risk)?

              • Drew

                Yea it’s not a bad thought. But if our pitching guru diagnosed the problem as weak hips/leg strength, I have to assume when he corrects it he’ll do well. Also, he won’t be pitching back with us when and only when Nardi sees the consistency that he expects. That’s what I think anyway.

                • Drew

                  That doesn’t sound right.
                  *He won’t be back with us until Nardi sees the consistency he expects.

      • http://forums.projectcovo.com/images/smilies/e6omir.gif Expired Milk

        IMO if Hughes keeps pitching quality starts he should stay in the rotation.Wang was so atrocious that he deserved to lose his spot. I know Wang has the better track record but theres no reason why he should gain back his spot if all the other pitchers are performing.

        • Drew

          Isn’t his track record THE reason he should gain his spot back? Two-time 19 game winner, looked great last year before the foot.

          • http://forums.projectcovo.com/images/smilies/e6omir.gif Expired Milk

            Thats so long ago though and hes been really bad in his 3 starts. I mean his WHIP is 4.83 for Mo sakes. What happens if he comes back and is still terrible? Its better he takes his time and get a few MiLB starts.

            • Drew

              So long ago? He hurt his foot in the middle of last June. He was on his way to another 19 win season. I’m not saying he should be back in 2 weeks. When he comes back I’m going to assume he’ll be ready to pitch like ChienMing Wang.

    • steve (different one)

      the yankees and orioles have made like 2 trades in the last 30 years. not a bad idea, i just don’t see it happening during the season.

    • A.D.

      I was thinking Freel as a general utility guy

  • V

    So, how about Penny+Saito+Baldelli+Smoltz so far? Epstein = genius?

    • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

      I was just thinking about that tonight. Yeah, it’s great to have John Smoltz coming back from shoulder surgery as a 42-year-old as a luxury, but with Daisuke Matsuzaka being so shitty he was DL’ed, Brad Penny sucking ass, Josh Beckett pitching the way he is, and not to mention that he’s due for his yearly “ouchie”, Smoltz will have to be depended on, and that’s not a good thing.

      • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

        Agreed. I’m not really sure how the Sox managed to win 12 straight besides Jason Bay, Kevin Youkilis and the Yanks gifting them two…

      • kunaldo

        I’m glad somebody else realizes beckett is an “every-other-year” guy…

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    While the crooked number in the seventh looks pretty…

    Is a 10 a “crooked number”? 1 is straight and 0 is round. Where’s the crooked?

    And yes, right after I typed that, I started thinking of Ovaltine.

    THAT’S GOLD, JERRY! GOLD!

    • JobaWockeeZ

      It was crooked in the scoreboard. It couldn’t fit it.

    • Drew

      Still should be called roundtine..

  • Drew

    Guess what son, we got Matt Wieters! haha

  • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

    I was at CitiField tonight and missed all the fun! I got to see Gary Sheffield hit a triple, though. Not quite as awesome as a Jose Molina grand slam sadly.

    I did just finish checking out the highlights, Hughes’ curve is so awesome when it’s working.

    • Drew

      How was CitiField?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I’m not leokitty, but I was impressed with CitiField. Very well done.

        It’s like PNC park it Pittsburgh: It’s an insult that such a beautiful venue for baseball is cursed with such a tacky, bass-ackwards shame of a team inside it.

      • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

        CitiField is really, really nice. I had a great time there. They have a food court on the promenade level with picnic tables and some stand-up tables as well that is really nice to just hang out in. There are TVs all over so even though you can’t see the field you don’t miss anything going on in the game.

        There are more high class amenities (like the Acela Club) at Citi, but unlike New Yankee Stadium there are also things for the little people to enjoy.

  • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

    Phranchise is talking on BBTN now.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Kruk almost made it through the entire praise session of Hughes without mentioning Joba to the bullpen.

      Almost.

      Sadly, ideas are like the opposite of money: a fool and his idea are rarely parted.

  • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

    Wow, word for word, John Kruk just totally stole Dave Eiland’s line about Phil Hughes “throwing every pitch with conviction”.

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

      Heh, I said that about Sean Henn two years ago. If you search back in the RAB archives, you’ll find me saying something like “would it kill him to throw one fucking pitch with some conviction?”

      Great minds…

  • Will

    And John Kruk ended the Yankee segment with “Joba to the pen maybe”.
    Why is ESPN retarded?

    • Joey

      Kruk, Simmons, Morgan, Screamin’ A. Smith, Phillips, Bayless, the 2 Stu’s, Miller, Stark, Berman, etc… have been infesting it for years, eating away at good sports coverage from the inside out. So sad…

      • Ivan

        Im sorry but im a fan of Steve A. Smith mainly cuz he’s a blowhard, but a entertaining blowhard.

        • Joey

          I’d rather put a bullet through my head than listen to him for more than the 2 seconds it takes to mute or change the channel. He’s such a self serving asshole, whenever someone tries to make a point opposed to his he just starts screaming louder and louder to make his crappy point seem more valid. He has no journalist integrity (as shown multiple times with that T.O. interview where he was called out by whoever he was with). Really I just can’t stand him, would rather listen to Kay for hours than him for a minute.

          /rant

        • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Didn’t ESPN can SAS?

          • cult of basebaal

            He left to pursue other options, supposedly he wants to do political commentary …

            coming soon to Fox … HANNITY AND SMITH, more hours of mindless screaming than a maternity ward!

            • Joey

              heh, that would fit well actually, pair him up with O’Reilly. Screaming match

      • Drew

        Never thought of this, but now I know why Kellerman was fired.. He’s a Yankee fan.

        • Stephen

          Oh man, Kellerman isn’t on the air anymore? I’ve been in school in Boston, so I didn’t know. That’s too bad, he was actually an intelligent talk show host.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            That’s too bad, he was actually an intelligent talk show host.

            I did too, at first. Then I continued to listen to him… It went downhill.

          • Drew

            Yeah a few weeks ago.. First he gets bumped from around the horn, then the Max Kellerman show, must be the Yankee connection.

            • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

              Nah, I think it’s the fact that he’s kind of an asshole. I heard he and Brian Kenney don’t even talk anymore because of how Kellerman treated the former on the radio show.

              FWIW, Kenney is an intelligent Yankees fan.

              • kunaldo

                reallly? i thought they got along pretty well…kellerman was sometimes kind of annoying, but otherwise very entertaining and usually pretty intellectual(his radio crew added some comedy too)…compared to whats on the rest of sports radio, he was certainly a breath of fresh air

                (except for his stance on joba…he had this obsession thinking he was injury prone, so he wanted him as a relief ace, like goose…which at least is better than 8th inning guy…still, misguided)

  • V

    I really, really, don’t understand how people could be so stupid.

    It’s like, everyone knows that Beckett is more valuable than Papelbon, right?

    And yet, Joba in the bullpen > Joba in the rotation, why?

    Ugh.

    His velocity drop is somewhat worrying, but I think that’s a factor of how good of shape he’s in, not whether he’s starting or relieving.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      But we need someone in teh eighth!!
      Eighth > Every other inning
      s0 w3 need Joba n it becuz hes bettar in teh bullpn//

    • YankeeScribe

      The bottom line is that Joba has been mediocre as a starter and dominant as a reliever. Sometimes, it’s best to put players in positions where they excel. Would you put a world class sprinter in a long distance race just because he does “ok” in cross-country events? It would be a waste of talent to not use the sprinter in the event that he excels in…

      • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

        His ERA as a starter is 2.99. Should I point you to a definition of mediocre?

        • Drew

          Damnit. Ya beat me.

          • DP

            Haha me too

        • YankeeScribe

          2.99 in 15 starts between seasons is a pretty small sample size don’t ya think? He atleast deserves a few more starts to find out if he can get his K’s up and his walks down. But we haven’t seen any dominance from him as a starter…

          • Drew

            Um, he has a smaller sample size in the Pen. 81 vs 59 innings.

            • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

              Lol, you beat me this time.

              • kunaldo

                haha this is fun.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            But we haven’t seen any dominance from him as a starter…

            You haven’t been watching, then.

          • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

            Yes we have. A 2.99 ERA and a K rate over 9 per 9 is dominance. You can say its a small sample of dominance, but its still dominance. BTW, you want see an even smaller sample? Look at Joba as a reliever.

            • YankeeScribe

              Judging by his stats in both roles(both small sample sizes), one can conclude that Joba can be a good starter or a great reliever. It’s nice to have options like that on your team.

              • kunaldo

                uh, that ERA and K rate lead you to believe he’ll be an ELITE starter….do you follow baseball?

          • steve (different one)

            2.99 in 15 starts between seasons is a pretty small sample size don’t ya think?

            as opposed to his GIGANTIC sample of relief work.

            you don’t even know what you are arguing.

      • Drew

        Dude, a 2.99 ERA in the AL east is far from Mediocre.

        • tim randle

          (devil’s advocate hat)

          that’s a sweet era.

          what’s his record as a starter?

          • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

            Considering wins for a pitcher are meaningless, who cares? It’s 3-1 by the way, 3-2 as a reliever.

            • Drew

              Damnit Moshe! What’s wrong with you stealing my thunder twice on one thread!?

          • Drew

            3-1. What’s his record as a reliever? HA! lol

        • RollingWave

          if he can do that for 200 IP for a few years. he’s the new Pedro Martinez at least, and Roger Clemens at best.

      • DP

        How has he been mediocre as a starter? Discounting the minors, since I’m assuming you are, he had a 2.62 ERA as a starter last year, and under 4 this year. Granted, his peripherals aren’t great this year but its THREE starts.

        • YankeeScribe

          How about a .306 BAA record so far this year? Granted, it’s only 3 starts. He deserves a few more starts before people give up on him as a starter but when you compare his numbers as a starter vs his numbers as a reliever, it’s tough to argue the case of him belonging in the rotation instead of the bullpen.

          • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

            Nope, its pretty easy, actually. His numbers are great in both roles, and the starting role is significantly more important.

            • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

              See how easy that was? One sentence.

          • Drew

            CMW? What’s his BAA?

            • YankeeScribe

              Wang has a longer track record as a starter. But I wouldn’t be against him being converted into a long reliever temporarily if it helps him get his “stuff” back and helps the team

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            … when you compare his numbers as a starter vs his numbers as a reliever, it’s tough to argue the case of him belonging in the rotation instead of the bullpen.

            No, it’s not, when you remember that the bullpen IS NOT REMOTELY AT ALL AS IMPORTANT AS THE STARTING ROTATION.

            There is no way of getting around that point.

            I say Joba has been dominant both as a starter and as a reliever. You say Joba has only been “mediocre” or “okay” as a starter and dominant as a reliever. The point is utterly moot, however, because “mediocre” or “okay” starters are still MUCH MUCH MUCH more important to a team’s success than dominant relievers are.

            Joba could have a 0.50 ERA as a reliever and a 3.50 ERA as a starter and, in that scenario, he should STILL be a starter because 200 innings of a 3.50 ERA is better than 70 innings of a 0.50 ERA.

            Starters >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Releivers

            • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

              but if you put him in the bullpen he’ll throw 900mph fastballs, sliders that break 8 feet and all the control issues he’s had so far will just disappear!!

          • http://www.teamnerdrage.com leokitty

            he currently has a 330 babip which you can expect to go down to about 300, lowering the opponent’s batting average.

            part of the reason his babip is up is because he’s giving up lds at a higher rate (about 23%) than previously, you can expect that to drop too. which again will lower his babip and baa.

            why would you stick a guy who is having some control issues in the bullpen to “fix” him anyway?

          • RollingWave

            so your debating about his small sample as a point against him starting but also using his 3 starts… and just batting average. to reason why he shouldn’t start?

      • V

        Um… k.

        You DO realize he had a 2.76 ERA as a starter last season, yes? Opponents batted .245/.319/.322.

        His velocity’s down. That’s worrisome. But there’s no evidence his velocity would be up if he were in the bullpen right now – it’s a function of strength, not role, as evidenced by his throwing 98-99 in pitches 90-100 at points last season.

        • V

          Wow – in pitches 76-100, opponents hit .200/.286/.340 off him last year. That’s beyond sick.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Sometimes, it’s best to put players in positions where they excel. Would you put a world class sprinter in a long distance race just because he does “ok” in cross-country events?

        That depends. In this track meet you speak of, are the cross country events way more frequent and thus important then the sprints are?

        Like, for example, are there 9 races in the meet and 7 of them are cross-country events and 2 of them are sprints? Meaning that having a mediocre runner who gives me a good chance to win the 7 cross country events is probably more important than having a dominant runner who’s a mortal lock to win the relative paucity of the 2 sprints?

        Because if that’s how the meet is set up, then, hells yes, I’ll put the world class sprinter in the long-distance race. Based on the fact that the long distance races are the REASON THAT TEAMS WIN TRACK MEETS.

        • kSturnz

          you are on fire!

          but i guess it is pretty easy to make a case for Starting over relieving, no?

          There shouldn’t even be a debate. this is bullogna

  • Ivan

    Maybe Joba sees Hughes pitch well and he gets even more motivated to pitch great tonight. A lil one-one competition.

    Also, great inning by Melancon, that curveball he threw to Inge was SICK.

    Plus, I like when Karl R. ask Hughes, when you think ur goin back to minors, and Hughes said, I am not going back.

    • jsbrendog

      YES! i agree on all points haha.

      when i saw that curveball i rewound it and made ym gf watch it twice while yelling LOOK HOW DIRTY THAT WAS!!

  • mtrico

    If Hughes has now established himself as a bona fide big league starter, still a big if, and if Wang returns to form, another big if, then the Yankees would really need to think seriously about returning Joba to the bullpen. Joba , Bruney, and Melancon (yep, another if) could form a pretty nice group out of the bullpen. As I said, there are a lot of “ifs” in all this, but Cashman should at least be thinking about such a scenario.

    • Drew

      I’d say the only way Phil takes Joba’s spot is if he bombs tomorrow and the next 2 or 3 starts after that. If that was the case, I’d say Joba goes to AAA to get his strength and innings count up.

      • tim randle

        i would be all for that, except your round peg doesnt fit my trapezoidal reality…

        you guys know a blog where they dont let these stupid FACTS keep getting in they way?

        :)

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Cashman should at least be thinking about such a scenario.

      No, he shouldn’t.

      • mtrico

        The GM should be looking at all scenarios that could possibly improve the team, and that could conceivably be one of them. Thus far, Joba has not been as impressive as a starter as he has been out of the pen. So, if all those other things happen, which, like I said is a big “if,” then that scenario should at least be considred even if it is eventually not the direction they decide to go in.

        What would you do if Hughes continues to pitch well and Wang comes back strong?

        • Drew

          We say thanks for filling the hole Phil. See you later this year or next year.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          What would you do if Hughes continues to pitch well and Wang comes back strong?

          Put Hughes back in AAA, because odds are we’ll need a 6th starter again. Somebody will miss a start for some reason. Always happens.

          Not only are starters way more important than relievers, 6th starters who DON’T EVEN START ON THE MAJOR LEAGUE ROSTER are more important than relievers.

          However, I’ll play along with your doomsday scenario.

          Let’s say that both Hughes and Wang are pitching lights-out a month from now and we legitimately have 6 big league starters. Let’s also say that our bullpen has become a disaster (note that I said HAS BECOME and not IS STILL, because our bullpen is currently NOT a disaster and is NOT in need of reinforcements of any kind, but let’s stay with the doomsday theme…) and Bruney and Albie and Melancon and D-Rob are all hurt and Veras and Edwar and Coke and Marte are struggling and it’s basically Mo and 6 bad relievers.

          Here’s what we’d do:

          Line up the 6 starting pitchers that we have, in order of best to worst. Right now, I’d say that’s:
          1- CC
          2- Burnett
          3- Joba
          4- (tie) Pettitte
          4- (tie) Hughes
          4- (tie) Wang

          Whichever of the starters is pitching the worst goes to the pen. Because the marginal utility upgrade of having a dominant reliever vs. an average reliever is SMALLER than the marginal utility upgrade of having a dominant starter vs. an average starter.

          So, if all 6 of our pitchers are lights out and our bullpen is a trainwreck, looks like either Hughes, Wang, or Pettitte are going to the pen. Because none of them are better than Joba, and your best five pitchers on your roster (whom are capable of starting) should be your 5 starters since they pitch the majority of your innings.

          The moment I hear you start advocating for Pettitte or Wang or Hughes to the bullpen, that’s the moment I know you’re truly “looking at all scenarios that could possibly improve the team” and not just reflexively calling for Joba to the bullpen because you failed to adequately analyze the issue and think logically about what is the most optimal way to build a team.

          • Drew

            Philly is like Joba in that he needs to get his innings up for the long term starting role(next year and on). We will trade for a good relief guy before one of those bottom 3 go to the bullpen.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Exactly.

              Once we’ve estabished the fact that you don’t put an inferior pitcher in the rotation to put Joba in the pen, you can move to the secondary point that you don’t interrupt either of the younger pitcher’s development rhythms by putting them in the bullpen.

              The short term benefit of having either Joba or Hughes in the bullpen (replacing an inferior relief pitcher) is way too small to counteract the massive negative of reducing their innings numbers and interrupting the path they are on of becoming full-fledged, non-innings-capped starters. I won’t trade a few months of 2009 for pushing back the clock on Joba or Hughes for another year.

              Which is why I said that what we’d really do if all 6 are performing well is put one of the 6 in AAA, remaining on track to become a starter.

              That means Hughes goes back down. 2009 is not more important that 2010 and beyond.

          • Hobbes

            Not only are starters way more important than relievers, 6th starters who DON’T EVEN START ON THE MAJOR LEAGUE ROSTER are more important than relievers.

            That’s just re-god-damn-diculous.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              No, it’s not, not really.

              Look, if there were a pitcher able to be fungible enough to be in the big league bullpen making appearances on irregular rest and then magically able to pitch as a starter without requiring a week or two of off-time to build up arm strength, then that would be the ultimate value: someone who can pitch the 8th but still be available to make a spot start when one of your 5 starters goes down.

              We had such a player once, his name was Ramiro Mendoza. That’s what made him an awesome pitcher.

              But, when you realistically look at it, having an elite (or even just good) 6th starter is possibly more important to a team’s success then having an elite bullpen arm. Because virtually no team goes through a 162 game season pitching just 5 starters. If Hughes, our 6th starter, makes, say, just 10 starts this year, that’s 60-70 innings right there… which is just as much impact as a bullpen arm.

              And given the difference between Hughes the 6th starter and, say, Aceves the 6th starter or Kennedy the 6th starter and Hughes the 8th inning guy and, say, Damaso Marte the 8th inning guy, I’d say I’m also happy to have Hughes not in the bullpen even if it means that he wastes some of his starters innings in the minors, because the ones he pitches in the majors offer a greater marginal utility over our alternatives.

              Not only are good-to-great 5th starters way more important than elite setup men, good to great 6th starters in the minor leagues are AT LEAST as important as elite setup men… possibly more important depending on the relative injury risk of your first 5 starters.

              • Hobbes

                I appreciate you backtracking and i see where you are going, but to say that Hughes is more important that Mo is regoddamndiculous. Reread your original comment, that’s what you said.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  I’m not backtracking. I stand by my statement.
                  6th starters >>>> relievers.

                  Our 6th starter who spends part of the year in Scranton and part of the year in the bigs is probably more integral to our success than our supercloser Mariano Rivera. Hughes has a likelihood of pitching more innings. More innings = more important.

                  Having a closer like Mo kind of skews the equation a little because he’s so demonstrably amazing, but the fact remains that, on those title teams of the late 1990’s, Ramiro Mendoza (our 6th starter) was more integral to more wins than Mariano Rivera was.

                • Hobbes

                  lol
                  OK!

                • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

                  Via FanGraphs, the WAR tallies so far for 2009:

                  Mo: 0.3
                  Phranchise: 0.2

                  One good game of Phil Hughes was worth almost as much as eight games of Rivera.

            • kSturnz

              the insurance of having a quality 6th starter is no laughing matter

          • mtrico

            Fair enough, but I doubt that Pettitte or Wang would end up in the bullpen under that scenario. Not that they shouldn’t, it’s just that management would not put them there. Hughes maybe, but I’m still not sold on Joba being a better starter than Hughes in the long run. I guess we will see.

  • YankeeScribe

    Why are some of you guys so locked into the idea of Joba staying in the rotation? I want him to be wherever he performs best and can help the team most. If that means him staying in the rotation, so be it but I’m not against him going back to the pen…

    • Drew

      He’s a starter, that’s why I think he should stay in the rotation.

    • Joop

      You just don’t get it. Where he can help the team most is in the rotation. There is no questioning that.

    • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

      It’s because Joba-to-the-bullpen is not a very intelligent idea in comparison to him being in the starting rotation. It’s that simple. Most here are against idiotic notions; that is an idiotic notion. Not much else to discuss.

      • Rich

        Market economics proves that point. Top starters make up to $23 million a year, while top setup relievers make about $5 million a year. There’s a reason for that which seems to escape too many people.

        • andrew

          After just finishing an econ problem set, that’s not what i wanted to read. But alas, It’s true.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Why are some of you guys so locked into the idea of Joba staying in the rotation?

      Because that’s where he performs best and can help the team most. He helps the team most in the position of maximum utility. That’s in the rotation.

      I want him to be wherever he performs best and can help the team most.

      That’s in the rotation.

      If that means him staying in the rotation, so be it but I’m not against him going back to the pen…

      And yet, you advocate for it without thinking about any other alternatives, or thinking about why exactly you’re advocating for it in the first place.

      Why aren’t you calling for Hughes to the bullpen? Why not Wang? Is it because you can’t conceptualize what you have not yet seen?

    • Baseballnation

      The Joba to the pen spiel is so bullshit…Off of 3 starts? Right, the same way that CMW is all of a sudden disposable after 3 starts…

      The only way Chamberlain to the pen should hapen is if:

      A) Rivera is lost for an extended time period to injury

      Or

      B) Every yankee reliever outside of Mo is ineffective, arms fall off, or they step on a bobbie (HA) trap.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

        Why A? What makes Joba, a starting pitcher, the heir apparent to Rivera? If Bruney comes back, he gets to close. Otherwise, right now, it would be a mix-and-match effort with Melancon, Albaladejoa and possibly Coke to face lefties.

        Moving Joba to the closer role because Rivera gets injured makes as much sense as moving Sabathia or Burnett into the closer role if Rivera gets injured.

        • AlexNYC

          Ben I really hate the MSM. Wonder if they are scared of Melancon being the heir apparent to Mo.

          Moving Joba to the closer role because Rivera gets injured makes as much sense as moving Sabathia or Burnett into the closer role if Rivera gets injured.

          Exactly. Why doesn’t Burnett (a two pitch pitcher) make the transition to the bullpen instead of Joba. I know it seems silly for a 82.5 Million dollar man to move to the pen but Justin Chamberlain throws 4 pitches and yet everyone wants him there?? Sheesh. Joba is a starter since college, heck even Alex Gordon knows that.

        • Baseballnation

          I do not dissagree that Bruney should get the shot, but If were talking realistically about what the Yankees would do, I suspect they’d feel alot more comfortable with Chamberlain as closer vs Bruney in the case of Mo being hurt for an extended period of time. A chamberlain/Bruney (8th inning) combo is more ideal then a Bruney/Veras/Coke back bullpen. And Melancon is the X factor of course in such a situation and how he transitions to the bigs.

          Look, I am in no way saying I am in favor of switching Joba to the pen, and I get your argument…Minus moving Burnett or sabathia to the role in such a situation for obvious reasons.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        “The only way Chamberlain to the pen should hapen is if:

        A) Rivera is lost for an extended time period to injury

        Or

        B) Every yankee reliever outside of Mo is ineffective, arms fall off, or they step on a bobbie (HA) trap.

        A) There are five live, healthy, and effective starters who are CLEARLY, HEADS AND SHOUDLERS better than him on the major league roster AND under contract/expected to be in the rotation for the foreseeable future, thus totally blocking Joba out of a rotation spot both now and going forward

        AND

        B) there are no negative implications to his development as a big league starter incurred by temporarily putting him in the pen.

        Fixed.

        Seeing as how Joba is currently on innings caps as the team tries to build up his arm strength into a 200+ IP starting pitcher, there’s no way Joba should be allowed to go to the pen if it means he pitches fewer innings until he’s initially reached that 200+ IP threshold.

        What happens in the bullpen is totally immaterial to what happens with Joba. His long-term development as a starter trumps and short-term benefit we may gain from putting him in the pen.

        Ditto Hughes.

        The rest of Joba and Hughes’ careers >>>>>>>>>>> the 2009 Yankee Bullpen

    • Rob in CT

      Because starting is where he helps the team most. Simple.

  • RollingWave

    Let’s just review this.

    a player should only be in the bullpen if.

    A. there are 5 guys who are better than him in the rotation. (i.e most relievers)
    B. he is A TON better as a reliever. (most closers are like that, Mo, Gagne, Soria etc..)

    C. he is too injury prone to let him try to pitch 200 IP every year. (Kerry Wood, or Hong Chih Kuo)

    so which part do Joba fit? most likely not A. and there isn’t any proof of B . (As in , if he maintains anything close to this current ERA for his career he’s the new Roger Clemens) , C might be the only legitimate debate. but you have to actually give it a few shot to be sure . age 23 is way too early to conclude this.

    • YankeeScribe

      So far, Joba is somewhere between B and C. He had the injury last season, a history of shoulder problems, his velocity is down this year, and his high rate of walks this season is worrisome. It’s too soon to give up on his ambition to be a starter but it’s silly to rule out him ever going back to the pen. At the very least, the Yanks need to figure out what’s wrong with his velocity and why he isn’t missing many bats…

      • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

        So far, Joba is somewhere between B and C.

        No, he isn’t. In ’08, he was pretty awesome as a starter. In fact, he was really awesome.

        He had the injury last season, a history of shoulder problems, his velocity is down this year, and his high rate of walks this season is worrisome.

        Sure, the injury last season was bad but he hasn’t shown signs of that now, and even if he did, that wouldn’t be reason to put him in the bullpen. He’d have to show injuries a lot of years in a row, a la Kerry Wood, before that course of action should be taken. Why does moving to the bullpen make him less exposed to injury, anyway? He’d obviously be going max effort on irregular rest which isn’t a good thing. What about that scenario makes him less likely to be injured?

        His velocity is “down” because he’s pacing himself. It’s April. I’ve said this three times: the difference between his fastball and his changeup is exactly where it was in ’08 (11.5 MPH) and as long as he keeps that difference, his fastball can be effective. As the season goes on, he’ll start throwing harder and the walks will come down. If it doesn’t happen, send him down to Scranton and let him work it out there.

    • http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/00mwbIM15ofMv/340x.jpg Mike Pop

      D. He isn’t a league average starter and shows he can only pitch out of the bullpen(Like Mo, Gagne, and other great relievers).

      If he is good enough to pitch in the rotation and can give 150-200 innings a year, that is better than having him in the pen. That simple. Which we all beleive, Joba will be at the very least a league average starter but probably much much better.

      • YankeeScribe

        That’s a big “if”. I think the whole reasoning behind the Yanks experimenting with him in the bullpen is because some in the organization have doubts that he can be a 150 to 200 innings type pitcher.

        Again, 1 good start and 2 “ok” starts is too small a sample to write him off as a starter but the question has never been whether or not he has the talent to be a starter. The big question is whether he proves the scouts from other teams wrong(the scouts who think he’ll be injury prone because of his history of should issues) and gives us 150 innings or more this season.

        • Nady Nation

          “I think the whole reasoning behind the Yanks experimenting with him in the bullpen is because some in the organization have doubts that he can be a 150 to 200 innings type pitcher.”

          This is false. They put him in the bullpen at the end of ’07 because he was nearing his innings limit. They thought he could help the big league club without accumulating the innings of a starter, so he was brought up.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

          Since no one has called you out on this yet:

          “history of should issues”

          You mean the ONE shoulder issue he had last year? There’s nothing I can find in Joba’s history which suggests any kind of shoulder injury before that. He had a triceps issue which caused him to fall in the draft (along with concerns about his weight).

        • jsbrendog
    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

      B. he is A TON better as a reliever. (most closers are like that, Mo, Gagne, Soria etc..)

      Wanna know something funny? Even average starters are worth more than great relievers. Two prime examples: both Jamie Moyer and JOE BLANTON had more Wins Above Replacement than Brad Lidge. Andy Pettitte’s “mediocre” performance last year was wroth 4.4 WAR. Mo’s dominant, inhuman, godly, (insert superlative here) season was worth 3.1 WAR. Even if Joba gives the Yankees 150-200 league average (or slightly better) innings, he will be more valuable to them than he would as a kick-ass, lights out, automatic closer.

      C. he is too injury prone to let him try to pitch 200 IP every year. (Kerry Wood, or Hong Chih Kuo)

      And like Kerry Wood, he’d have to prove his injury-prone prowess over A BUNCH of seasons, not just one or two.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Kerry Wood as a starter wasn’t abandoned as a strategy until Wood was 30 years old.

        THIRTY.

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

          I’d be more than willing to do the same for Chamberlain.

  • Eric S

    “Purple nurple” and “interpreting scripture correctly”…this is why we no longer need beat writers in the MSM. I’d rather read your game recaps any day!

  • http://eastrutherfordrant.com donttradecano

    Keeping Joba in the rotation is what melvin would do.

  • JP

    Hughes [em]looks[/em] like a pitcher. It may take a couple of years before he’s his best, but they have to stick with him now. I’m also against the mainstream on Chamberlain. I think he can be a top line starter, and they need to stick with him. Not sure why his velocity is off; maybe they’re muzzling him to protect his arm and shoulder. But still…in the long run, I think they are better off with him as a starter.

  • V

    What I love about the ‘Joba to the pen’ crew is that Cashman/Girardi have shown absolutely zero inclination to even entertain the idea to do so.

    It’s like those arguing for Jeter to CF. It ain’t happening. Stop wasting time arguing for it.

    From now, anytime I see one of these ridiculous assertions, I’ll introduce my own – Cano should be held in reserve as a pinch hitter. Instead of getting a bunch of wasted hits with no one on base and being stranded, we can hold him in reserve for those close and late situations – tie game, 8th inning, man on 2nd. Cano to the bench, bay-bee!!! [/snark]

    • Jeremy

      Fans who support Joba to the pen probably just associate a Joba relief appearance with a win. You never see a Joba to the pen argument supported with stats. Instead there are generalized statements about how nice it is to have a strong pen. These fans are irrationally letting their aversion to blown leads obscure the obvious fact that you uusually can’t have a lead without a good performance from your starter, which is the main reason starters are far more important than relievers.

      B-Jobbers like Kruk are just trying to get more air time for just about the only strategic “debate” in baseball they can claim to understand. It requires no effort or research on their part to rehash the argument over and over again, and the argument garners superificial appeal with Yankee fans who believe that Joba in the pen would solve all of the team’s problems.

      The people who actually run the team don’t look at things this way, which is why there is no plan to return Joba to the pen.

  • steve (different one)

    this write-up was really entertaining and i was looking forward to this thread, only to find it filled with the same boring ass Joba-to-the-pen debate.

    nothing you guys can do about that, but still, a gigantic “SIGH” nonetheless….

    • YankeeScribe

      Yeah. If anything we should be talking about how well Hughes pitched. He gave arguably one of the best pitching performances of any of our starters so far this season. Hopefully he can pitch his way back into the Yankees’ rotation.

      • Ray in Cheshire

        Hughes was fantastic last night and just what the Yankees needed. Hopefully, he’s here to stay and we are going to see more of this.

      • jsbrendog

        hughes pitching was in no way better than burnett’s near no hitter at the trop

    • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Yah, I hear you. It’s kinda deflating to see this conversation again, I don’t have any motivation to get involved. Frustrating.

  • A.D.

    Leave it to the Yankees bats to score enough runs in an inning, that if they could have spread that over the previous 3 games they’d have won all of them.

  • Acquiescent Axl

    The Yankees win 11-0 and score 10 in an inning. The Red Sox bumble 3 errors including a pretty embarrassing bottom of the 9th routine under-toss from 1B to the pitcher to lose the game…

    This is what I’m talking about! This is how it should be!

    Hughes looked masterful…as did Jackson…but fortunately we forced Jackson to throw like 114 pitches pretty quickly and chased him out of there to bring in the one bullpen that could actually perform worse than the way ours has.

    But like I said yesterday. The best part is how Matsui is still hitting the ball all over the place. He may not have the same power he once had…but he’s still a great hitter and the fact that he’s contributing so much lately is a great sign.

    Having a batting order of Jeter, Damon, Teixeira, Rodriguez, Posada/Matsui, Cano, Swisher, Cabrera….now that ain’t half bad. The bench is still pretty weak…but hopefully Nady comes back soon…we’ll still have Gardner as a pinch runner (random CF platoon guy), Molina, Pena for defense, and who knows who else. Freel? Really? He’s another SB guy…or was at least. Not bad but unlikely.

    These millionaire pitchers we have on our team need to take a look at the job Hughes did last night and get hungry. And Hughes did it against a very potent line up. I’m sure Sabathia and Burnett will come around…but Joba’s decline in velocity is a bit concerning. While you don’t necessarily have to throw as hard in the SP role as you do in a closer or set-up guy role…I don’t think that’s the case with Joba. Therefore, I don’t think putting him in the pen makes any difference at this time other than him pitching less innings. I’m pretty sure he’ll still be throwing in the low 90’s until he works out the issue.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      These millionaire pitchers we have on our team need to take a look at the job Hughes did last night and get hungry.

      Trite clichés like this tell me you’re making progress but you still don’t get it.

      Stop assigning false narratives to fortunate or unfortunate events to try and give them more metaphorical meaning. CC and Burnett and Joba and Pettitte and Wang are trying plenty hard. They’re “hungry”, whatever the hell that means. They’re just not getting the results they want. Shit happens.

  • Kilgore Trout

    Hughes did look great last night, but has he always landed his lead foot towards the away duggout? I never noticed that before.

  • Acquiescent Axl

    I was just thinking…imagine if we had Brandon Inge on our team.

  • Frigidevil

    Don’t forget the last cool stat of the seventh, when was the last time someone pinch ran AND got a single in the same inning a la Berroa yesterday?