Yanks win second straight pitchers’ duel to sweep Tigers

Lare dominates (again) as Staten Island wins (again)
Fan Confidence Poll: July 20th, 2009

The only thing better than a pitchers’ duel is having one on back-to-back days. Justin Verlander and CC Sabathia battled on Saturday, with Sabathia prevailing in a 2-1 Yankees victory. On Sunday Joba Chamberlain and Edwin Jackson each brought his best stuff, and again the Yankees found themselves on the heavy end of a 2-1 game. It was their third straight victory, sealing a sweep of the first-place Detroit Tigers.

Like Sabathia on Saturday, Joba ran into some trouble in the first inning, using 23 pitches and allowing two baserunners. Still, he allowed no damage. He rebounded a bit earlier than CC, though, using only 11 pitches to set the Tigers down in the second. Chamberlain would roll from there, his only blemish a solo home run to Clete Thomas. He even survived a first and third, one out, situation by getting Miguel Cabrera to pop up and Marcus Thames to strike out.

It was really the type of start we’ve expected of Joba all along. He tossed 107 pitches through six and two thirds, striking out eight and walking three (he also plunked Polanco). Sixty eight of those 107 pitches were strikes, for a solid 63.5% strike rate. He did it mostly with a fastball, throwing 71 of them, 20 curves, 12 sliders, and four changes. It was a decent mix of pitches especially because Joba, for the most part, kept his curve right around the zone.

Addressing the controversial subject, Joba’s velocity, he averaged just a hair under 93 with his fastball, but that’s a bit misleading. According to Gameday he was throwing mostly 91, 92 mph fastballs in the first three innings, touching 93 sometimes. Then Clete Thomas hit that homer to lead off the fourth, to which Joba reacted by ripping off 94, 95, 96 mph fastballs, topping out at just a hair under 97. It also seemed like he was a bit more conscious of his velocity, as he kept it down for eight and nine hitters Gerald Laird and Ramon Santiago, while ramping it up for Granderson and the heart of the order.

Joba had his best stuff today and showed us what he can do when he does. Now it’s a matter of repeating it. We’ve seen this a few times before from him this season, each time followed by mediocre or poor starts. He’s not going to have starts like this every time out, not at this point in his career. We can only hope that they become more frequent with time. It’s hard to remain patient when he pitches this well one game and gets bombed in another, but it’s part of a young pitcher’s development. And remember, as both Girardi and our friend Rebecca have mentioned, Joba is not an experienced pitcher. He’s had limited experience in the minors, and was basically thrown into the fire in New York. He still needs time to develop. Along the way we’re seeing glimpses of what can be.

On the offensive side, there wasn’t much to remark on. Both A-Rod and Teixeira did a good job of going down and getting a pitch they liked, each parking it beyond the wall, accounting for both Yankees runs. The Yankees had a few chances, five to be exact, with runners in scoring position, but they couldn’t get any of them home. Robinson Cano left three on the pond, grounding to first with Matsui on second in the fourth, and lining out to short with runners on second and third in the sixth. That last one was well hit and looked like it had a shot, but it landed in Santiago’s glove nonetheless.

Not only did the Yankees win all three games of the Tigers series, but all three were highly enjoyable. They were close all the way, and for the most part were pitchers’ affairs. We saw Phil Hughes plow through the Tigers, striking out eight in three innings of work. He laid a perfect bridge to Mo in two of the games, while Aceves took care of business on Saturday. It’s what happens when your starters go deep into games: you don’t need to call on David Robertson in a tight spot.

Next up is Baltimore, and the offense better be ready. Up first is rookie David Hernandez, who has been pretty decent lately, but then come Rich Hill and Jason Berken, both of whose ERAs suffer from hyperinflation. We also get our first look at Sergio Mitre on Tuesday.

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Lare dominates (again) as Staten Island wins (again)
Fan Confidence Poll: July 20th, 2009
  • jim p

    That lack of experience thing is what should make us appreciate what a talent this Joba is. Here he is, and even when he isn’t very good, he’s as good or better most teams 4 & 5. And some’s 3, I’d think.

    And he’s still just learning.

    • jim p

      “as good AS or better THAN most teams’ ” the darn proofreader just now informs me.

  • Dela G

    YANKEES WIN!!!

    WOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOO!!

  • Accent Shallow

    I managed to catch the 8th and the 9th. Very good to see Hughes and Mo nail it down.

    Bummed I didn’t get to see Joba, but so it goes. Seems like the All-Star break did him good. What’s odd is it hasn’t seemed like the Yankees have babied Joba this year — they haven’t seemed to go out of their way to get him extra rest or anything like that. Hmm.

    • Johan Iz My Brohan

      I say screw Joba Rules, let him pitch 160+ innings.

      • whozat

        Yeah! Look how well that’s worked out for Toronto’s young pitching!

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

    Guess this means Mo won’t be available tomorrow?

    • Shdwrptr

      There’s no way he pitches tomorrow. If the Yankees have a 1 run lead and the bases get loaded in the 9th with no outs, you still won’t see him up.

      • Evan NYC

        I guess we will just have to beat the Oreo’s badly then.

    • Salty Buggah

      or the day after right?

  • blee

    it was like he was a different pitcher in the 4th after he gave up the HR.. the velocity was back at 95+ and attacking attacking attacking the zone.. I got giddy.. he shook off posada a couple times on the next batter to go w/ the fastbal.. boom.

  • K.B.D.

    I just loved Hughes pitch sequence against Clete Thomas. His first two were hooks that were around the plate, but not quite there. Third was a challenge fastball, right down the middle and Thomas took a cut, but was nowhere near it. He rears back, throws two more and strikes him out. I think he’s just starting to realize that his fastball is good enough by itself sometimes.

  • Dela G

    From the infamous Buster Olney article regarding alex rodriguez

    “He looks like a record playing at a slower speed,” said one talent evaluator who saw Rodriguez over the past two weeks.

    Said another, “He looks old. He’s a first baseman. How many years does he have left on the contract?”

    This is Year 2 of the 10-year deal, the talent evaluator was told. He whistled. “I don’t know what they’re going to do with him,” he said.

    • Salty Buggah

      Heh I still find that funny

    • Dela G

      :D i do too

      • Peter Lacock

        Peter Abraham got sucked in by that too.

        Here’s a rule of thumb and not just for baseball but for anything. For every 5 predictions figure 4 of them are wrong and of those 4, 3 won’t even be close. Good Luck! figuring out which one will be correct.

        Another funny one was by Tim Kurkjian back in May:
        “It looks like the AL East isn’t as strong as we all thought it was.”

        Talk about knee jerk.

        • Klemy

          Well, Tim Kurkjian also predicted just this weekend that the Rays are going to pass NY and Boston, with the Yankees missing out, so…we shall see how bad his predictions are.

          • Zach

            I heard Yankees were going to tank the season and pick Bryce Harper next year too

    • K.B.D.

      Such reactionary drivel. The talent that followed him his entire career just up and walked away. A-Rod is one of the biggest work out freaks in the MLB, his body isn’t just going to fall apart.

  • Salty Buggah

    John “I have no life” Henry is getting agitated about us getting close again…Via Twitter:

    “News from Yankees’ Universe. Big upsurge in membership. Apparently coming mostly from Pluto. Not doing nearly as well on Mars.”

    What a bitter gourd…

    • K.B.D.

      Red Sox Nation seems to have an inferiority complex that they are constantly trying to ignore by over-posturing. John Henry cares more about Yankees’ Universe than I think most Yankee fans do.

      • JobaWockeeZ

        Seriously I think I hate John Henry more than the whole Red Sox team minus Youkillis/Ortiz.

    • Mike HC

      It is like boxing promotion guys. The rivalry makes both the Red Sox and the Yankees more money. And all of Major League Baseball with the revenue sharing.

      • Zach

        +1
        thats why you’ll never see a salary cap

  • BigBlueAL

    Best part of today was that it seemed Joba was getting stronger as the game went on. Ive been critical of him recently but no complaints tonight, he was very good and basically dominant his last couple of innings. Great to see and lets hope this is a springboard for the rest of the season.

  • Salty Buggah

    We had great pitching and our 3-4 hitters did most of the heavy-lifting for us. Tex on Friday, A-rod yesterday, and both today. What a great feeling.

  • Phil

    This friend, Rebecca seems very astute at pointing out the obvious.

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

      huh?

      • Phil

        Joba hasn’t accumulated a ton of experience, whether it was in college, the minors or now at the major league level. It’s not rocket science.

  • JobaWockeeZ

    I thought we can’t beat playoff caliber teams!!!!!

    • K.B.D.

      Only playoff teams from the AL East and AL West count when you’re just trying to fill the trough of Yankee haters.

      • JobaWockeeZ

        Of course! But even if the Yankees do face an AL Central team in the playoffs should they be in it, those playoff teams are flukes obviously since we never beat real playoff caliber teams.

  • Jack West Jr.

    The best part of this weekend’s series was the fact that the Yankees beat two exceptional starters.

    They pitched well, managed timely hits and played some good defense. Hopefully all this continues the rest of the second half.

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

      When’s the last time the Yankees had two pitcher’s duels like that in back-to-back games and won both? It seems like it’s been an eternity.

      • Ivan

        Word man.

        I was really impress by the heat the yanks threw at Detroit. AJ, Joba, CC, Hughes, Mo, and heck even Coke can bring up to 95 from the left side.

    • AndrewYF

      I really hope this was some kind of preview for the ALDS.

  • Little Bill

    Joba proved all the b-Jobbers and t-Jobbers wrong today. He showed why he is an untouchable. They faced two really good pitchers the past two days and beat them both in pitcher’s duels. Remind me again why the Yankees need to sell the farm to get Halladay? Exactly, they don’t.

    • Salty Buggah

      t-jobbers=Trade Joba?

      • Little Bill

        Yes. It’s amazing how people just through this guy to the curb. He has amazing potential and he’s still so very young as Phil Hughes so astutely pointed out today. Some sports writers said he “doesn’t listen to anybody” and that his teammates were “tired of his act.” How did they know this? Because Joba shook off Posada a few times in one game. It was preposterous and Joba showed why today!

  • Johan Iz My Brohan

    Boy am I glad that we face the Orioles next and the Sox face the Rangers.

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

      Yeah well, last week they had the Royals, A’s and M’s at home while the Yanks had the Twins and Angels on the road. It evens out.

  • Salty Buggah

    Every team has its irrational fans, especially the Tigers immediately after being swept.

    Here’s one:

    “Cabrera has a 16 game hitting streak. So what? He’s only hit a couple balls hard in the last month…all singles. He is going thru the motions and needs to be called out. Same w Granderson. 250? Gimme a break. Weakest lineup in MLB..Laziest mgr in MLB…Leyland is on cruise control w the extension and wont get off his butt to shake this team up. Did I mention the most boring team inbaseball…By far. #rd place won’t be far away.Lotta wasted pitching so far and plenty more to come.”

    Ha, this sounds familiar. Read more funny comments on this comments section of this story. http://www.mlive.com/tigers/in.....ching.html

    • Salty Buggah

      Man, Miggy has been getting a lot of heat all around.

      • RollingWave

        maybe they sould trade him… and granderson… to the Yankees… for Brett Gardner…

        • Salty Buggah

          I tell them Kei Igawa or Shelley Duncan, take it or leave it!

  • Ivan

    The pitching in this series was electric. That was some of the most dominate relief pitching I,ve eva seen in concern with Hughes in my life time. His FB was just untouchable.

    Overall it just shows the potential of the type of stuff the yanks can throw at any team when it comes to the arms.

    Teix and A-Rod played absolute stars and bang the yanks sweep the Tigers.

    Great series and arguebaly the best yankee series so far this season.

  • Dela G

    Hey Rebecca, i had no idea you were just one year older than i am

    that is awesome! Although i feel like i must not be doing much in my life you already have a blog and are famous around here

    haha

    • KG Sturnz0r

      Get a Job

      • Dela G

        haha i am a 22 year old college student about to start my last year of my masters degree

        :P

        • KG Sturnz0r

          wow, can you say prodigy?

          • Dela G

            i’m no prodigy, just a regular old college student living the dream, sleepin in till 1pm, going to the pool which is outside of my door, and partying on the weekends :)

            • KG Sturnz0r

              I couldn’t fathom getting a masters at 22. I’m going to have to take a mental break before going for the juris doctor

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

                Getting a MA at 23 isn’t fun, either.

  • Danny

    a reader from lohud has graced us with the video of Jesus hitting the grand slam!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooTI2rcje88

    • Dela G

      ALL HAIL JESUS!

  • Salty Buggah

    For those who couldn’t watch this game, here’s a condensed game version of it:

    http://mlb.mlb.com/media/video.....id=5636119

  • mattb

    wfully encouraging. I think Joba did a lot of things well today–just a much better job of attacking and trusting his stuff. But boy, you can’t ignore the velocity jump. By my count, he threw 71 fastballs, and his average velocity comes out to pretty much exactly 93–now that’s very good for Joba this year, though it’s still off from where he was pre=Texas shoulder. But starting with his 50th fastball, boy, he turned it on. The distribution from that point on:

    92—1
    93—5
    94—5
    95—4
    96—3
    97—4

    That’s an average velocity of 94.6, which is comparable to Joba the starter in 2008.

    He also hit 95 and 96 twice each earlier in the game. Note there have been games this year where he his peak FB is 95.

    Now maybe it was the extra rest–and frankly, I think that should be looked at. I know tjsc feels differently on this, and I don’t know how many opportunities to exist to do (and also whether doing so requires giving an unacceptable number of additional starts to guys like Mitre), but do you have to think about skipping him whenever the chance arises? Maybe it gives you a more effective Joba, and also conceivably one who could start a playoff game if the circumstances should so justify.

    Don’t get me wrong–he needs to learn to be effective on normal rest. But I’d definitely be open to them trying to be a little creative here on out this year.

    Also, in listenting to his postgame, makes me think even more this is something worth considering–he sounds like a totally different guy talking right now, and I think this is valid–for all he says it doesn’t matter, he can’t be unaffected by some of the issues surrounding his family right now, and it sounds like he really did need a break both mentally and physically. How easy to forget that the kid is 23 and has an awful lot to responsible for in his personal life at a pretty young age.

    • Chip

      No way, he needs to get his innings in so we don’t have this problem next season. The reason he’s getting worn down is he just doesn’t have the stamina that he had earlier in the season. He’s going to go through tough stretches where he can’t consistently hit 93 mph because he’s a young guy and as it’s been pointed out, hasn’t had to pitch this many innings very often.

      • mattb

        Oh I’m not suggesting he not get his innings–of course he needs them. My point just being that given that we are starting to see something that looks like a trend, why not consider skipping him the few times the chance presents itself? He’ll still get to 150-55 (and even that it’s a little high, I think they’re working off a total previous high of 116, so even if he gave you just 10 more starts of five inning a piece, he’d be at 145.

        I agree for sure that in general he needs to learn to be effective every fifth day (and I’m not saying it’s absolute fact that he needs extra rest to be effective, it’s not like it’s proven to any substantial degree)–but my point is really I don’t think he needs to learn EVERYTHING this second half. If skipping him occassionally (and again, I’m not saying that guarantees any kinds of results) allows him to be more effective, he’ll still easily hit his innings–except it just might be whne starting a playoff game, not sometime at the end of August.

    • LiveFromNewYork

      He did sound like a different guy in the post game. The arrogance was gone.

  • dkidd

    that series was the perfect antidote to anaheim

  • mryankee

    I admit I was very hard on Joba and he came through today. Amzing what happen when you throw the ball with purpose. What I dont get is that I watch games and the yes gun always seems to be behind the espn gun or the tbs gun which had Joba at 95-97 most of the outing. I have to give hinm credit though he stepped up and beat a great pitcher and good team. I certainly hope this is the sart of a verlander like rennaisance for Joba.

    • Mac

      Yep, the Yes gun is FUBAR – curves registering 93 mph, etc.

      Hard to make a deal for Doc when Joba and Phil looked like they did. Hope Joba gives us some more like we saw yesterday – regardless of his 8 ip performance earlier, I think this was his best start of the year – stuff wise.

      Polanco, Granderson, Mags are simply not the hitters they used to be, although I’d love to see Granderson in the Bronx – K’s and ba aside,

      • Chip

        I’m convinced the gun is picking up arm speed rather than the ball

        • Arin

          Yep, it did it all weekend.

  • Tank Foster

    I think people are over-reacting to the velocity thing. I’ve never pitched, but I have golfed quite a bit, and at a reasonably high level (single digit handicap at points in my ‘career.’). One thing that happens is that, occasionally, for no appreciable reason, you lose swing speed. Then, just as mysteriously, it comes back.

    I’m not saying that all the theories about Joba’s velocity are wrong or silly, I’m just saying that it probably is not something that we need to worry about yet. It may be intentional, it may be unintentional and due to some tiny mechanical change in his motion that neither he nor any of the coaching staff can accurately diagnose. But the point is, the velocity is still there, it’s just not consistently as high as we saw in 2007.

    To me, what was most signficant yesterday was that he was throwing his off speed breaking pitches over the plate more than I remember in any of his recent starts. So batters were a bit more on the defensive, and were making weak hacks and giving him some Ks. In other recent starts, the batters seemed very relaxed against Joba, knowing they could just sit and wait for a fastball count and tee off on him. When that breaking ball is thrown for a strike, the fastball is far more effective, whether he happens to be throwing it at 92 or 96 mph.