Bats, bullpen provide relief for ineffective Joba

Staten Island offense starting to round into shape
Fan Confidence Poll: July 6th, 2009

Through two innings on Sunday afternoon, the Yankees found themselves enjoying the good life. They had put on 10 runners and had scored four runs while Joba Chamberlain had done a decent job recording the first six outs.

In the third and fourth innings, though, the wheels fell off. In the third, a few hits and a home run brought the Blue Jays to within a run. All three Toronto runs scored with two outs. Worse still was Joba’s climbing pitch count. It took him 65 pitches to record the first nine outs of the game, and again, the Yanks’ youngster couldn’t put hitters away .

Joba would get just two more outs and use 31 more pitches before finding himself out of the game with two outs in the fourth. A single by Lyle Overbay followed by a Vernon Wells fly out set the stage for a play that would echo throughout the game. Cody Ransom misplayed a potential double-play ball, and Joba couldn’t get out of the inning. With two on, Joba got the second out, but then the Blue Jays let loose. Double, single, home run, single. 8-4 Toronto. Joba out; Albaladejo in.

Chamberlain’s final line shows just three earned runs, but the rest of it is downright ugly. He allowed nine hits and a walk in 3.2 innings. He struck out just one and allowed eight runs to score, all with two outs. He threw 86 pitches and wasn’t particularly wild. In fact, a 53/33 ball-to-strike ratio is a bit of an improvement over Joba’s recent efforts.

And yet, this time he couldn’t escape with his 92-mile-per-hour fastball. He couldn’t finish off hitters; he couldn’t finish off innings; and the Blue Jays instead finished him off in short order. As I mentioned last week, Joba’s velocity just isn’t where it needs to be. He threw just a handful of pitches at about 94mph and sat at 92.4, according to Gameday. His peak is down by about 4-5 miles per hour over last year, and his average is down by around 3-4 miles per hour as well.

In the end, today wasn’t a step back for Chamberlain as much as it was a course correction. For weeks, he’s been throwing too many pitches, putting too many runners on and getting away with it. Today, it came back to bite him, and he lost it bad. It’s definitely becoming a problem. Now, the solution to the Joba Problem isn’t to move him to the bullpen. He had these velocity problems in the pen last year, and as Mike will explain on Monday morning, the bullpen should be out of the question. The solution is to find those missing miles-per-hour. Where they are, I do not know.

Meanwhile, with Joba out, the Yankees never said die. Led by a four-hit attack by Derek Jeter and a big three-run shot by Hideki Matsui in the bottom of the disastrous fourth, the Yanks pulled a Roger Federer. After a grueling 3 hour 44 minute affair, the Yanks won by two.

With the offense as loaded as it is, no game is really over for this team, and for that, we can thank the bullpen. Sunday’s game belonged to Al Aceves. He utterly dominated the Blue Jays for four innings and threw just 10 of his 43 pitches out of the strike zone. He allowed one hit and struck out five. I shudder to think where the Yanks would be without him.

Aceves put the exclamation point on a stellar weekend of relief pitching. In three games against the Jays, the Yanks’ pen has twirled 14 innings. They’ve given up one earned run on eight hits and four walks while striking out 12. Considering how badly the pen fared in April, this overhauled bullpen led by Mo, the Phils and Aceves has been all sorts of great.

When the dust settled, the Yanks won. They held steady with Boston who pulled off a late-game comeback of its own, and gained a game on the Rays. They play again at 1:05, and with this win behind us and another game in a few hours, going back to work on Monday isn’t as bad as it could be.

Staten Island offense starting to round into shape
Fan Confidence Poll: July 6th, 2009
  • Salty Buggah

    Some interesting facts I read from various articles:

    – Our bullpen has logged 14 innings in the Blue Jays series, allowing one earned run (0.64 ERA) on eight hits with four walks and 12 strikeouts

    – According to Tim Kurkjian in ESPN magazine, Chamberlain had the fewest decisions (nine) in his first 25 career starts of any pitcher in major-league history.

    • Benjamin Kabak

      I take it the article from which you gleamed that first tidbit was my second-last-paragraph, right? :)

      • Salty Buggah

        let’s just say that ;)

    • Salty Buggah

      ah damn, i only read half of the article, my bad.

  • Joba-to-the-pen

    Joba sits at 92-93.But Hughes also sits at that to.Many pitchers don’t throw 95-96 and Joba’s slider and breaking ball are to good to be this bad.Hughes now throws 94-95 in the pen.Going to the bulllpen will get those miles-per-hour back for Joba.

    Joba doesn’t need to throw 100 miles an hour.The Yankees are going after a bullpen guy yet what they need is a innings eater because they ain’t getting anything besides innings from CC.

    • Benjamin Kabak

      Going to the bulllpen will get those miles-per-hour back for Joba.

      No, it won’t. We have historical data about that. That comp to Hughes is just invalid because Hughes can and was throwing that hard as a starter. It’s his peak, but since he’s in the pen, he can flash that peak for a brief period of time. Furthermore, Joba was throwing 95/96 as a starter for plenty of starts last year. Something else is wrong or has changed.

      As for your innings-eating comment, A.J. Burnett says hi.

      • Tom Zig

        Is it mechanics? I mean Joba never had a back leg kick.

        Is it a lingering shoulder problem?

      • jim p

        If memory serves, wasn’t it just last year, and the end of the year before that everyone was saying “Hey this Hughes is supposed to be 95, but he’s more like 91, 92!”?

        Don’t know what one could glean from that, but maybe it’s something to do with the maturing process. Maybe mastering the physical differences of 2nd and 3rd pitch means muscle memory for the fastball has to readjust a bit, or isn’t honed like previously.

  • Pastafarian

    I’m just thankful I’m not a Mets fan right now

    • Jake K.

      I hear there is a direct correlation between the increase in global temperatures and extreme weather events and the decline of pirates.

  • Little Bill

    Good to see the Yankees win the series today. Tomorrow might be tough. Romero has thrown 15 scoreless innings his last two starts. And they were against Tampa and Philly, two pretty good offenses.

    • Salty Buggah

      20 consecutive scoreless innings heading into tomorrow.

      He got all his K’s last time on that filthy changeup.

    • Cano wears the GIDP crown.

      His HR/FB% is 14.5%, which is automatically 60.5% @ Yankee Stadium. =P

    • Drew

      We will put a hurtin on Romero. Book it.

  • Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    I love that this team is so never-say-die.

    It makes every game immensely entertaining.

    And hey, if you told me we’d take at least 3 of 4 from the Jays in a series in which we get both Halladay and Romero, I wudda been down with that.

  • Salty Buggah

    Can we have a mini Aceves appreciation thread or something? What a find by our supposedly sucky scouts!!

    Funny Ace picture from NoMaas:

  • dkidd

    i’m greedy. i want a sweep

    our bullpen >>>>>>> sox bullpen

    • Stephen

      I’m not ready to say that yet, but they’re a lot closer than ESPN would have you believe

  • Drew

    The game-thread was brutal today during the middle innings… It’s so funny how, once we take the lead, all the riff raff moves on to another blog or whatever the hell they do.
    Bottom line, today was a bad start for Jober. I recall every one of our starters tossing a clunker or two, but when Jober does it, some people swim for the ladders.
    I expect a strong start from Jober next time around and most importantly, a Yankee win, like usual.

    • Jake K.

      It’s astonishing how one event — a bad start, a bad at bat, a questionable call by the manager — provokes this instant, knee-jerk reaction in so many people. You’d think people would have realized that there are going to be plenty of team and individual failures in a 162 game season. Or how times we need to stay that young pitchers will be inconsistent, that even guys like Johan and Greinke struggled when first hitting the big leagues.

      • Mike Axisa

        I know, that’s a weird part. If it’s a 16 game season like the NFL, then you can understand the knee jerk reactions and end of the world mentality. But it’s 162 games and all sorts of weird shit happens all the time.

      • Little Bill

        Johan even struggled this year for a few games, one of them against us. CC had a bad outing last week vs. Seattle and people were jumping on him for not being worth his big contract. It’s just what some irrational fans do when something goes right or wrong. Gardner goes 5/6 one game and is Joe DiMaggio. Tex was booed in April, but intelligent fans knew he would come around. Intelligent fans like you and me always stay rational and level headed. I’ve voted 10/10 in the confidence poll every single week.

        • Mike Axisa

          My personal favorite is all bitching about there not being a retractable roof on the New Stadium whenever it rains.

          • JGS

            I think Scranton needs one more than the Bronx does

        • Doug

          voting 10 in the confidence poll all season is rational?

      • Stephen

        Two friends of mine, both B-Jobbers, texted me when Joba was taken out, saying that he needs to go to the bullpen. I said well, if one bad start is the criteria, then CC should be in the bullpen. They both realized the error of their thinking

  • BigBlueAL

    Im glad Ben brought up and keeps bringing up the Joba velocity issue because for all those people who try to downplay the issue they are missing the point.

    Of course even with his current velocity Joba can be a very good starting pitcher. But the whole point with Joba was that he had #1 starter stuff and potential and that is what separated him from someone like Hughes. But now Joba’s stuff is basically the same as Hughes so he goes from having #1 starter potential to being a solid #2 or 3 since that has always been Hughes’ ceiling to most. That is a pretty significant difference all of a sudden.

    The bigger problem is that Joba always relied on his nasty stuff but now that his stuff aint so nasty anymore he seems like he doesnt really know what to do. Dont be fooled by his decent ERA, his WHIP is now 1.52 which is even worse than Pettitte and quite frankly Joba has been very lucky that his ERA isnt closer to 5.

    NO Joba should most certainly not go to the bullpen, if anything because Im not sure I would trust him right now in a close game over Ace, Coke and even Hughes. He should just stay in the rotation and go through the growing pains that all young starters go through. BUT for those of you who try not to make an issue of the Joba velocity “issue” you are totally missing the point. I would rather have Joba struggle but still be throwing like he did last season because at that point you could just chalk it up to him just learning how to be a dominating starting pitcher and that would be fine. But right now you have a pitcher who not only has diminished stuff but it seems like he knows his stuff isnt as good as before and doesnt seem to know how to adjust to it.

    • Benjamin Kabak

      Just to take this point one step further: It’s also on the Yanks to figure out why the velocity is down this year. The team has claimed through various channels that Joba’s shoulder is healthy and fine. But 23-year-olds don’t just lose 4 mph on their fastballs from one year to the next.

      • Johan Iz My Brohan

        RAB should do an article trying to figure out anything and everything possible that could be wrong with Joba

      • NaOH

        Considering how cautious the team usually is with injuries, there’s no reason to think they’re being deceptive with these claims. My guess – and it’s nothing more than that – is that they’ve instructed him to dial it down. This would be for two primary reasons: 1) To help him withstand the rigors of a full major league season as a starter, something he’s never done (the guy has only 300 professional innings across 3 seasons), and 2) relatedly, to help his arm safely make this adjustment with consideration for the injury he suffered last year.

        • Mike Axisa

          I don’t think it’s injury at all. If there was any hint of injury, they’d shut him right down, most likely for longer than actually required too.

          • NaOH

            Exactly my point. They are very cautious with player injuries, especially with pitchers. So the question then becomes, if they believe he’s healthy, why might his velocity be down, and that’s the basis for my speculation.

            • Charlie

              what makes you so confident in the yankees’ diagnoses(probably spelled that wrong) of injuries? A-rod’s was discovered a little late, correct? Marte’s earlier in the year? I don’t think they’re as cautious as you think. Maybe Jobber is injured.

              • The Fallen Phoenix

                A-Rod’s was a “cutting edge” injury, though. I can’t fault the Yankees too much for missing it, since it’s an injury that seems to be relatively new to baseball (or at least, an injury that is only now being properly diagnosed for what it is).

              • NaOH

                You’re confusing the ability to diagnose an injury with being cautious in response to a diagnosis. I never expressed an opinion on their ability to diagnose injuries, but it’s not like this is an organization with a long-running history of misdiagnosis, so I’m content to accept that they are doing well in this regard, especially since it’s nowhere near an exact science.

      • Rebecca-Optimist Prime

        What worries me about Joba isn’t that his velocity decreased; it’s that it hasn’t stopped decreasing.

        • bobtaco

          I would also add that he isn’t throwing strikes or being aggressive.

          He seems to fear contact, and especially fear it as YS…

          He should pay attention to the way that both Phil and Ace are going after guys, getting ahead and finishing them off, even with >100 mph stuff.

          But from watching his dismissive attitude during his post game interview, it seems like he is not wanting to admit or address any problem. That will not lead to any kind of correction. Somebody is going to need to get through to him.

          • BigBlueAL

            I believe he isnt being as aggressive because he doesnt trust his stuff anymore. In the past he would just throw strikes because he knew the hitters couldnt hit him.

            Now he realizes his stuff isnt nowhere near as good anymore and he is trying to be so fine on the corners that he is not used to pitching like that and therefore he keeps falling behind. Also I would think at times he overthrows to try to get some extra velocity and thats when you see him throw those fastballs way high.

            Its funny because since I live in Miami I dont have YES (I have digital cable not DirecTV) so I always go to to watch the post-game interviews and stuff. Most of the time, win or lose, they usually put up the interview with the SP (or at least a portion of it on the Postgame Plus). But they hardly ever put up Joba interviews, like tonight I was curious to see what he said but nothing with Joba. I hope Joba isnt becoming IPK, who knows he certainly isnt used to struggling so maybe like IPK last season he is having a hard time dealing with it.

            Thats one thing I have always liked about Hughes, never any excuses or dismissive attitude after his bad starts. Actually his whole temperament even during games I have always liked. I am not surprised Hughes was able to overcome last year because of his attitude, lets hope Joba is the same way.

      • Chris

        I thought there were 2 changes made when he was injured last year:

        1. Mechanics change to take some strain off of his arm

        2. A 2-seam fastball to (try to) keep his pitch count down

        Both of these could explain the lower velocity.

      • The Fallen Phoenix

        Justin Verlander? I keep bringing him up because last year – likely due to the fatigue from the 2006 and 2007 seasons – Verlander’s stuff, most notably his velocity, diminished, and he had his worst professional season by far. His strikeout rate dipped, his average fastball velocity was down to 93.7 after hanging in the mid 90s through his professional career (and indeed, it’s back up to 95.4 this season).

        I think Joba’s missing fastball velocity is likely due to one of these three possibilities:

        1) A conscious adjustment to his mechanics, in response to the shoulder injury from last season. This is not at all outlandish, especially when one considers that Joba’s high fastball velocity was initially sparked by a change to his mechanics by Nardi after he was drafted.

        2) An unconscious adjustment to his mechanics, again due to the shoulder injury from last season. It’s quite possible that Joba’s shoulder is completely healthy, but he’s still favoring it at times (similar to how Hughes favored his leg even after the hamstring healed back in 2007). Will Carrol at Baseball Prospectus likes to write all the time about how cascading effects can occur due to injuries, and that could be in play here.

        3) A decision to mix more 2-seam fastballs (and other, slower fastballs) in an effort to conserve stamina over the course of the season.

        I suppose you could probably expand points one and two to include just basic inconsistencies, or growing pains. Again, since increased fastball velocity can be – and I think in Joba’s case, is – linked to clean mechanics, and we know that Joba has struggled keeping his mechanics clean and in order throughout the season, I’d be willing to be that’s where his missing MPH have gone. And mechanics are usually one of the big things young pitchers struggle to get under control, for a variety of reasons.

        Yes, the missing MPH are worrisome. Yes, we should probably be concerned about it. But I’d be shocked if the Yankees brain trust was completely ignoring it, either, and if there were a serious problem, Joba would have been shut down long ago. The Yankees know how much is riding on his arm, so if there’s one pitcher I expect them to handle properly and with the utmost care in the entire organization, it’s Chamberlain.

        • BigBlueAL

          Oh Im sure the Yankees are aware of it. But what does it say about Dave Eiland if he cant help him fix it, hell it seems to be getting worse actually.

        • Chris

          Verlander’s strugggles can be traced back to his no hitter almost to the day.

        • mattb

          You say more much more concisely here what it took me a book to write below. Totally agreed.

          • The Fallen Phoenix

            You touched on the conditioning issues, though, which I meant to get to in my comment above, and promptly forgot about as I was writing it. D’oh.

    • Salty Buggah

      I wonder how in the Cleveland start he was sitting 95-96 and hit 97-98 in the 8th. What did he do differently that day that he isn’t doing now? I know we got him a good lead after he had a somewhat shaky first so maybe he thought he could let it fly but we did that today too.

    • mattb

      Totally agreed, even if in “throwing like last year” didn’t result in a 2.60 ERA, which I think would’ve been an unrealisic expectation for this season anyway (not long-term, though). I would rather see a Joba who is absolutely lights out dominant 3 out of every 5 starts and labors/even gets knocked around some in the other than this Joba. The numbers about him, before today, about his not having given up more than 3ER in quite some time are nice, and not insigificant–it suggests both maturity beyond his years, and that at least his stuff has been good enough to limit damage–though certainly luck has played a role too.

      But my feeling is, if you never saw Joba Chamberlain before this year, and you’re basing projectabiliy only on his ’08 campaign, what do you see? I think I see a #2 starter still, maybe, maybe, even a borderline 1–part of that being that his pitch counts would be less restrained over the years and the same numbers would of greater value over the additional IP. And his peripherals, before today, and other than the increased BB rate were still awfully darn good, in terms of H/IP and K/9. But I don’t think you’d like at this guy and see a special starter, a true ace, at top 5-7 starter in the game type of guy. And that’s ok–by very definition, almost nobody reaches that level. And Joba sure looked like one of the guys who could do it, given health. Which is why this is weird–if you had asked me what’s the thing most likely to derail Joba’s path to ttue ace sratus, the answer would clearly be health concerns–nevevr in a million years would I thought the answer would suddenly diminished stuff, that reasons for which have not been sufficiently explained.

      • Salty Buggah

        About the luck part, considering he has a 4.50 FIP, he was due to blow up like today but it didn’t hurt his ERA much because of Ransom’s error.

  • The Fallen Phoenix

    Justin Verlander’s velocity chart, courtesy of fangraphs:

    Joba Chamberlain’s velocity chart, courtesy of fangraphs:

    So fastball velocity can be inconsistent across seasons for young starters. Again, I’m not really suggesting anything with this…certainly not trying to mitigate any of the worrying that’s going on, just looking to add as much information as possible to the discussion.

    • The Fallen Phoenix

      …the embedded image tags didn’t go through. Oh well. Here are the links:



      • mattb

        I find this to one of the more encouraging data points I’ve seen in regards to thinking about Joba’s future in quite awhile (though I am generally still in the optimistic camp). I wrote a book of a post below, but so long as he’s not hurt–and I mean really not hurt, i.e. the shoulder is structurally sound and isn’t prone to go out on him if he rears back too often), then I would probably basically sign up right now for 80 more innings of the same result (though that would mean he’d still need to be better than he’s been the last few times, as I agree with Ben, today wasn’t such so much an anamoly as it was a correction). I wouldn’t be happy about it–I’d like to see some steps forward in the second half, but both because it would mean he’s not hurt, and because I think the club can win with Joba generally pitching in the 3.80-4.30 range for 70-80 more innings, I’d take it.

  • mattb

    I just think the Lohud spillover aren’t able to appreciate certain subleties and to recognize that not every possibility has to be mutually exclusive.

    For me, Joba’s 100% a starter and any suggestion that he’s getting his old velocity back by returning to the pen is clearly disputed by the evidence Ben points out (it’s SSS, but Joba’s velocity, both regarding his average FB and peak FB were significantly down even we he returned to the pen last year after coming off the DL). I also think one always has to deal with the straw-man, that group whose immediate refrain is “who says he has to throe 100 to be good? Well, no one rational, I don’t think. Obviously he was never going to sit 98-100 as a starter–though it’s clear that last year he was able to comfortably sit 95-96. I also don’t think anyone rational is out there screaming that Joba can’t be an awfully fine pitcher sitting at 92-93. And I also don’t tnink that many rational folks would argue that up until pretty recently, Joba was having a prerry fine season, even with diminished velocity, for a 23 y/o working his way through his first full season as a starter in the AL East.

    All that is well and good–but then there’s the other group, who just wants to bury their heads in the sand and basically argue either that (i) all is fine as is or (ii) this is all part of some well thought out plan to try and get Joba to get quicker outs and be more efficient, even though if that is the plan, it’s been having exactly the opposite effect as intended and would have been disgarded by now (or so one would hope).

    I just think most of these folks, unlike Ben above, raise exactly the wrong issues and straw men–the issue isn’t whether he can be good, while sitting at 92–he probably can be, though almost certainly not as good as he would be sitting at 96. The body of evidence is small, but what it shows is that a Joba who throws 96 in a starting role is significantly more effective than one who sits at 92. As Ben says, the question is figuring out where those extra miles went, and there are a whole bunch of possibilites, each require different course corrections:

    1. He’s flat out hurt and the shoulder isn’t right. I find it difficlt to imagine they’d be running him out there if that’s so, but if it is, obviously, you shut him down immediately and perform a full evaluation.

    2. He’s not significantly hurt, but the shoulder is such that he doesn’t feel good enough about it to just let the fastball go. This is a tricky one, but I still say you DL him if that’s the case–the shoulder has to be structurally sound and Joba needs to feel confident that this is so.

    3. It’s mechanical–this of couse could also be linked to the shoulder, i.e. I keep saying posters who say that the Yanks changed his mechanics after the shoulder injury–I’m not sure I know enough about mechanics to comment on that, though I’d love to see Mike do some of the pitch fx analyses on release point that he was doing at the start of the year. In any event, to me, this is the best case scenario and one that can be addressed–it may take some time, might not even happen this season, but if this is the situation, it’s undisputed great news, IMHO.

    4. More two seamers–this to me would also be good news as an explanation, though I don’t particulaty by it. I mean, more two-seamers would affect the average FB readings, but not the peaks–assuming he still throws a 4-seamer, which of course he does–and last year, as a starter, Jona could hit 100 with his 4 seamer. This ywar, he’s either unable or unwilling to—I think he’s hit 97 tops, on all of two pitches this year. Most often, his peak 4 seamer is 95 or 96–which is, in many cases, the equivalent of his average FB from his starts from last year.

    5. Physical/mental conditioning–I don’t want to head too far down this path b/c nobody mocks the “lack of grit/lack of heart/lazy Dominican (the latter obviously not applied to Joba of course) more than me. But I do wonder if it’s legit to ask in this situation. He didn’t have the world’s smoothest offseason, I know he apparently has no relationship with his mom, but as the son of two shrinks (which of course give me, an attorney, full license to play armchair think :)), it’d seem at least somewhat likely that such an event could have at least some kind of impact. And physically, we’ve seen at least one unfortunate bit of evidence of him doing a good amount of boozing in an equally unfortunate mime-like outfit (not that the man shouldn’t be allowed to drink, though of course not before/while driving, but I digress).

    I really only raise this because the Joba I’m seeing this year, I would say with the one exception being the 12 K Boston game (not talking about results here, as much as a certain look), isn’t the same personality. ’07 and ’08 Joba was a freaking bulldog–he was fearless–he was arrogant, in a good way–in the way that he knew guys couldn’t touch him. You don’t see that too often and it’s part of what made me think Joba could be so special (distant second from the amazing stuff, but still a factor). Clemens had that look. Randy Johnson once had it, even periodically as a Yankee (think his late ’05 starts at Seattle, at home against Boston). As much as I hate him, Beckett has it too, though in a more obnoxious, less endearing way, he’s more swagger than bulldog.

    I’ll never forget when Joba gave up the first ER of his career, Lowell took him deep over the monster. The reaction was priceless–just this classic shrug off, like “Oops, left that one up–hope Lowell enjoyed that mistake, he won’t get another”

    This Joba looks tenative, burnened, labored. Maybe some of this is because I waste my life away in the cesspool of BigLaw and see too many of these games on gameday or John/Suzyn, but he doesn’t even look like he’s having as much fun on off days anymore, I mean the guy who’d be prone to see dancing in the dugout after homers (granted, I’ve seen it on occassion this year). I was actually so pumped to see him getting into the act with AJ after the JoPo walkoff, just ’cause I thought it was the first time he looked happy in forever.

    In any event, before this becomes a book–I’m witn Ben–sure, he can probably pitch at 93, but he won’t be the Joba we thought he’d be if he doesn’t find that fastball.

    • Spaceman.Spiff

      Sorry to follow up your great (albeit long) comment with this point but when you enclosed your smilie emoticon inside a parenthetical thought, it looked like a smiling guy with a double chin. :))

      • Salty Buggah

        Heh…that reminds me of those rowdy nation fans for some reason. An uncivilzed fat guy cheering obnoxiously for the Sox. I don’t know why.

  • BigBlueAL

    Oh boy here we go. For the person above who talked about Joba being dismissive after the game, like I mentioned no video of his post-game interview on, the NY Times game recap talks about this:

    “We know that we still have work to do with Joba, and we’ll continue to do that,” Girardi said. “We need to get him to attack the zone.”

    But Chamberlain disagreed with Girardi’s theory. He said that he did a solid job of attacking the hitters and that he felt as good as he had all season. His fastball averaged about 93 miles per hour, but he did not have the intimidating velocity that he has often shown. A cult hero when he pitched out of the bullpen, Chamberlain dismissed the verbal abuse that landed on him.

    “At the end of the day, the sun comes up and I still have a job,” he said. “I give everything I got every time I go out. If that’s not enough, I don’t know what is.”

    Please dont tell me Joba has gone to the IPK school of post-game interviews. Actually I know it is totally irrelevant so I dont want to make that big a deal about this, well I guess I am since I posted this!!

    Sorry dismiss this if you want, I just thought it was somewhat interesting reading about Joba’s comments/attitude after a start like today’s.

    • mattb

      I don’t think the IPK comparison is warranted. They’re not the same guy. I know Joba’s a kid, with 200 career ML innings–but they’ve been darn good ones and he’s been a key piece of this team since the day he got here. And frankly, I’m glad he’s feeling ok about himself–I dpn’t see why he needs to go through some ritual self-castigation for the press. Not to mention, that while Joba hasn’t always been great, he’s thrown exactly one real clunker in his entire career, that beind today–and he’s a clearly a guy who’s liked by his teammates and a part of the clubhouse.

      Totally different spot with IPK–and even with IPK, I think he more guilty of excessively poor judgment in not anticipating how those remarks would play then the actual substance of the remarks. But even if you hate the substance, you’re talking about them beind made by a a kid who had contributed exactly nothing to the club over the course of the entire season, who had just came back to make from AAA to make a start for a club struggling to stay in the race and who also, incidentally, not only got shelled, but didn’t have the benefit of the team coming back to win as they win today.

      For me, Joba gets the benefit of the doubt for today–if it’s a repeated pattern, i.e. the Kei Igawa school of media relations, I’ll readily change my view.

      • mattb

        Man, major typo fails tonight. Staring at a screen too long.

        • BigBlueAL

          LOL no problem I feel you with the typo errors and staring at a screen too long. No I absolutely agree with you, but like I mentioned earlier its why I have always liked Hughes and when you think about it he really has been the pitcher with the greatest expectations and he is still the youngest pitcher by far on the team but seems to just get it in terms of his attitude during and after games.

      • LiveFromNewYork

        I wrote in last night’s thread that it seemed Kennedy-esque to me….yes not the same but it really annoyed me.

        Especially coming among the Mo-to-the-All-Star-Game (“it’s an honor”) and Aceves “Mo is schooling me in humility” interviews.

        I think that Girardi is definitely going to need to watch the attitude on his young pitcher.

        It was a big deal for me because I’m a big Joba fan and I’ve defended his fist pump as enthusiasm not cockiness but during that interview he was downright unlikeable. Meh.

  • BigBlueAL

    Great, now both the Daily News and Post basically ripped Joba more for his post-game quotes than his pitching. He said his mechanics were the best he felt all season and just that Toronto has great hitters. Sigh……

    • LiveFromNewYork

      When I was watching that interview I was wondering if perhaps he did not pitch the same game that I saw.

    • Jamie

      dont listen to those retards. just attempting to sell papers to the masses. yawn.

      • LiveFromNewYork

        I didn’t think the coverage of Joba was that bad or the criticism unwarranted. He comes across as clueless in the remarks and that’s what he struck me as when I was listening to him after the game.

        • V

          I think fans are ignoring one key comment of Joba’s in the post-game:

          “I didn’t throw well at all.”

          If you ignore that, he looks clueless.

          • LiveFromNewYork

            That didn’t jibe with the rest of his remarks about how his mechanics were good etc. Which adds to, doesn’t take away from, the cluelessness.

  • Jake H

    My complaint about Joba is that he doesn’t attack hitters when he has them in a hole. I swear if he gets them 0-2 this year he is throwing tons of balls then instead of throwing a quality strike for the K or out.

    • V

      Early on yesterday, I thought he was actually attacking hitters a bit, but he got Phil Hughes syndrome. 0-2 count, foul, foul, foul, foul, ball, ball, ball, etc.

      • V

        Ok, I misremembered, based on only one at bat, lol.

        Scott Rolen: Strike looking, Strike looking, Pickoff attempt, Foul, Foul, Ball, Ball, Pickoff attempt, Foul, Foul, Rolen struck out swinging.

  • ArodMVP217 Retire 51

    My theory is that he didn’t train like he did at the minors and as a husker

  • theyankeewarrior

    Can you all do me a favor and stop labeling every Joba failure as “just one start”. I think the reason most people are sick of watching our former lights out reliever on the mound to “start” the games is based on a whole bunch of terrible performances, not just one. But you do have one thing right… he does only fail one game at a time.

    • Rob in CT

      A whole bunch of terrible performances? Yeesh. Harsh. He’s not being all he can be, that’s true. But he has not been terrible except for yesterday.

    • Jackson

      You and I clearly have very different definitions of failure, because when a pitcher has given more than 3 runs only 3 times in 16 starts I don’t see many “failures”.

      • Tank Foster

        The failure is more that he can’t get through enough innings in a game. Averaging 4 innings a start isn’t really very good even if you do have a very low ERA and lots of strikeouts.

        • Zach

          hes not averaging 4 innings a start.
          if you did it for his career thats not fair because he had ‘starts’ last year in which he had pitch counts of 60-70-80.

          ’08 Joba is averaging 5.1 IP/S (take away the game he got hurt and its 5.2 IP/S)

          Clayton Kershaw is averaging just over 5.1 IP/S
          Rick Porcello is averaging just over 5.1 IP/S also

          • Zach

            Max Scherzer- just over 5.1 IP/S
            CC (rookie year)- just over 5.1 IP/S
            Peavy (rookie year)- just over 5.2 IP/S
            Beckett (2nd year)- 5.1 IP/S
            Ubaldo Jimenez (rookie year)- just over 5.1 IP/S

  • A.D.

    Its his first full season starting, there are going to be bumps in the road, Hughes & IPK had their’s almost immediately, which got everyone down on them, Joba is having his now.

    He still has the flashes of brilliance, and that’s key, it’ll come together sooner or later.

    It could be the lower velocity is leading to him not trusting his stuff as much and nibbling. Or he has a general cautiousness leading him to not throw as hard as he can, and also nibbling more.

  • Andy

    Better question – who starts Thursday??? It would seem like maybe Aceves, the way Girardi kept him in there for four innings, but HUGHES NEEDS INNINGS!!! Here is a perfect opportunity to give him innings! I will be very disappointed if they give Ace the start, even though he has been lights out, because Hughes is the better prospect, and the one who should take Pettitte’s spot in the rotation next year. If Ace starts, I’ll be almost as disappointed as I was to learn they called up Albie instead of Melancon….

  • Tank Foster

    “Is it mechanics?”

    Has to be…maybe this is a stupid thing to say, but your velocity can’t change unless the mechanics do. The mechanics change if an injury limits your range of motion, or limits the explosiveness of your arm movement or whatever. So naturally it’s mechanics, it’s just whether it’s intentional, unintentional, or a combination.

    Hearing Girardi say “attacking the zone” sorta puzzles me. I don’t think he nibbles. I think he just doesn’t have great control. Even if you have great velocity, in the majors you still have to locate the pitches. Tom Seaver said a good pitch has to have 2 of 3 of the following: velocity, location, and movement. Joba clearly can’t locate precisely enough with his level of velocity. He’s probably trying to stay down in the zone, or work one half of the plate depending on the hitter, but he either misses over the center of the plate, or misses off the plate.

    Watching yesterday, what I noticed was he doesn’t get many swings and misses now. Pitch count was up because of lots of foul balls. Swings and misses can come via lots of velocity, which he has lost. But they also come from the hitter being on his heels and not knowing what’s coming. Aceves had lots of swing/miss yesterday, and he was sitting at 91 tops. But he threw everything for strikes, so the hitters have to get defensive and swing at his junk.

    To me, the question is how much longer do we wait on him as a starter. One way or another, he has to learn how to get through a lineup 3 times in a game. I say he finishes the season as a starter, and definitely begins next year as a starter. But if he can’t get into the 6th inning relatively consistently next season, he shouldn’t be a starting pitcher. I’m not sure at what point next year you give up on him….maybe you give him the whole year. But even a back end starter…doesn’t matter. Whether it’s due to velocity, command, whatever, doesn’t matter: the bottom line is if he can’t make it deep enough into games, he needs to pitch in relief.

  • Harry

    Face facts. He’s a dif pitcher starting. He’s not as good.

    • Observer283

      Harry, when Joba was in the minors, he sat 95-97 MPH as a STARTER. When he started last year, before he got hurt, he sat 95-97 MPH as a starter. Go to YouTube and find his start last July against Beckett. He was ridiculous.

      He hasn’t lost velocity simply because he’s pitching differently as a starter. He would never have become “JOBA!” if he were throwing 92-93 MPH when he was starting in the minors. He became “JOBA!” because he was sitting 95-97 MPH as a starter.

      Something else is wrong.

  • Observer283

    Here’s the issue: The Joba Chaimberlain we are seeing now is not the same pitcher we are seeing now is not the same Joba Chaimberlain we were all correctly saying should be groomed to be a starter. But, he is also not the same Joba Chaimberlain that dominated “Teh Eighth.” If we put him back in the bullpen, and he goes out there with the same “stuff” that he as been going out there with recently, he won’t dominate in that role either.

    The decreased velocity is obviously at the heart of the problem. Not just because it diminshes the effect of his fastball, but also because of its impact on his slider. When he was getting up there at 97-98 (both in the bullpen AND as a starter), hitters had to gear up earlier and couldn’t wait as long to pick up his slider. Now that they can foul off his 92 MPH fastball with an emergency hack if they wait a little longer, they are picking up his slider and not swinging at it. It is quite amazing to watch hitters just look at his slider and spit on it, given how many terrible swings that pitch used to induce.

    If Joba gets his velocity back, his slider will again be incredibly effective, allowing him to restake his claim as one of the best young pitchers in baseball. Until then, he frankly will be a good-ish pitcher at best. That’s nothing to sneeze at. But he won’t be the dominant pitcher we envisioned him as. And that’ll be true whether he remains a starter or goes back to the bullpen.

  • DSFC

    The Cleveland start, to me, suggests a mechanical issue. If he were injured, he wouldn’t have been able to throw as hard as he did that night.