Getting the clunker out of the way

Jackson wears a golden sombrero in loss
Fan Confidence Poll: August 17th, 2009

As Joe Girardi sat in his office talking to reporters about the 10-3 Yankee loss, he summed up everyone’s feelings best. With a 7.5-game lead, that loss didn’t hurt that much. “It’s going to happen sometimes,” Girardi said, “and it hasn’t happened to us in a long time.”

For two innings today, it seemed as though the Yanks would sweep. Joba Chamberlain needed just six pitches to get through the first inning and 15 for the second. After that, though, the wheels fell off. Joba walked Ryan Langerhans, the Mariners’ number eight hitter. Josh Wilson sliced a bad slider into left field. After an Ichiro line out, Russell Branyan walked, and Jose Lopez sliced a bad slider into left field for two two-out runs. Notice a trend?

In the fourth, the Yankees regained the lead. Nick Swisher teed off on a 3-0 pitch and spanked his 20th home run of the season over Safeco Field’s deep center field wall. It was his 17th road bomb of the year. The Yanks’ lead would be short-lived.

After pitching out of a jam in the fourth, Joba would not be so lucky in the fifth. To start the fifth, Ichiro grounded out, Russell Branyan walked again, Jose Lopez singled on a bad slider to left and Ken Griffey popped out. Back-to-back singles with two outs plated another two runs, and although Joba would retire the last batter in the fifth, he wouldn’t come out for the sixth.

For the Yanks’ young right-hander, it was just his third loss of the season, but this afternoon’s start was part of a trend. After three stellar starts to kick off the second half of the season, Joba has been mediocre at best. Over his last three starts, Joba has thrown 16 innings and has given up 12 earned runs on 12 walks and 18 hits. Despite the 12 strike outs, Joba is sporting a WHIP of 1.875 and an ERA of 6.75 this month. He won’t start again for over a week. Hopefully, he’ll rediscover that touch he enjoyed after the All Star Break.

Meanwhile, the Yanks couldn’t overcome Doug Fister once Joba left the game. With two outs and two on in the seventh, Johnny Damon hit a slow roller up the middle. Josh Wilson ranged far to his left and nabbed Damon at first by less than half a step. Had Damon been safe, the game would have been tied, and Joe Girardi probably would have managed the final three innings slightly differently. But Damon was out.

With the Yanks down by a run, the bullpen couldn’t hold the game. Al Aceves had a terrible 7th inning and left after hitting Josh Wilson with a pitch to force in a run. Chad Gaudin allowed all three inherited runners to score as well as one of his own. In the 8th, he allowed a solo shot to Kenji Johjima also with two outs. (In fact, all ten of the Mariners’ run scored with two outs.) Gaudin will start Wednesday in Oakland, but the four hits and two runs he allowed in 1.1 innings today aren’t especially comforting.

In the end, though, the Yankees still have that 7.5-game lead. They’ve won 11 of their last 13 and face Brett Tomko on Monday night in Oakland. They got the bad game out of their system, and now they can look to get right back on the winning track as the march toward October continues.

Derek Jeter Notes: While the rest of the Yanks’ offense had an anemic showing today, Derek Jeter went 3 for 4. With his hits today, Derek set a new record for most hits by a short stop. The plaque keeps growing.

Hideki Matsui Notes: According to various reports after the game, Hideki Matsui had his knee drained of fluid during the game and is day-to-day. He won’t play in Monday’s game. This is not good news for one of the Yanks’ hottest hitters.

Jackson wears a golden sombrero in loss
Fan Confidence Poll: August 17th, 2009
  • Accent Shallow

    Glad I spent the day out, so I missed most of this game.

    While I realize Joba can’t take his regular turn for the rest of the year or he’ll have to be shut down, having all this time off between starts has to be a bit of a concern.

    Some occasional extra rest is nice — see: All-Star break. I worry that lots of extra time off will screw with his rhythm.

  • Salty Buggah

    “Hopefully, he’ll rediscover that touch he enjoyed after the All Star Break”

    Hopefully he does. While he was good in those starts, he also had an extremely low BABIP and like a 93% LOB percentage so he was kinda lucky too. Today, all of the runs came after 2 outs so that luck correction kicked in lately. Hopefully, he pitches well in addition to getting lucky next time against the Rangers.

    • Accent Shallow

      I think this is a misapplication of stats — BABIP and LOB% are the sort of things that you expect to stabilize over the course of a season, not over 2-3 games.

      (Reminds me of a great joke that was posted in the Fangraph comments after Buerhle’s no hitter: “Not impressed. I don’t think that .000 BABIP is sustainable.”)

      • Salty Buggah

        Heh I remember posting that comment here. That’s the misunderstanding of the stat. But I think I used it right. I think that in those 3 starts, Joba got a bit lucky (though he was pitching well) as the balls weren’t finding holes or landing but now are his BABIP is regressing to normal levels. And everytime he put someone on, he got lucky and got out of it. Now, he not as lucky anymore and those runners are cmong across.

        I know they stabilize over the season and not in a couple of games but Im just pointing out that maybe he his luck in those and it may be starting to go back to his normal levels (or maybe he’s being unlucky now). Im not saying that his luck has already evened out.

    • Benjamin Kabak

      I meant to write about the two-out thing but lost the thread while writing the recap. Not only did all of Joba’s runs come with two outs, but every single run the Mariners scored today did so with two outs. If not for the 7.5-game lead, that’s infuriatingly bad pitching.

      • Salty Buggah

        Yea, when I read that stat from one of the beat writers it kind of made this loss dissapointing. Before that I didn’t mind it all but now I kinda do (but still OK with it overall).

        • Salty Buggah

          Gutierrez’ 2 out hit while being down 0-2 in the count and Ace’s 2-out bases juiced HBP, especailly after he K’ed Langerhans with 2 RISP, stung the most.

  • Joebrah

    Things must be pretty good in Yankee land when this thread has only two (now three) comments.

    Honestly, I’m kinda glad they lost today. It was the last game of a four game series, which they had swept to that point. It was against an AL West team, and Boston lost earlier.

    Good day to have this happen. I, unfortunately, am one of those Yankee fans that typically gets pissed at every loss, fwiw.

  • JSquared

    Yes, this one i am not mad abouy missing due to White Water Rafting.

  • beware of Michael Kay

    The Yanks will be facing a pissed off version of Brett Tomko — as was noted in this space a few weeks ago. He didn’t get the chances he wanted and thus, whined.

    Let’s hope pissed off Brett Tomko doesn’t do the famous … 6.2IP, 3H, 0ER, 1BB, 3K … line that awaits so many a sucky pitcher who faces the Yanks over the past 3 or 4 years.

    • Accent Shallow

      A pissed off Brett Tomko probably still gives up one or two bombs.

      I’m looking forward to it.

      • JSquared

        Yeah, Oakland gave up a while ago… and we can only thank them.

      • Klemy

        Yes. Looking forward to seeing how Tomko does. I’m hoping they tag him good.

  • Matt ACTY/BBD

    Joba’s slider was not working one bit today.

  • YankeeFan

    Does anyone else think that Joba has been battling fatigue for a while now and now having these ASB-type rests will help him for a late run? I think we are starting to see why there are these ‘Joba Rules’ and why the organization is being careful. His stuff is there but his lack of command of his fastball and no bite to his slider seem like symptoms of fatigue as he continues to get his innings up.

    • Ed

      That’s what I’ve been thinking for a while. Was going to write it myself, but you did first.

      He’s already pitched more than he did the previous two seasons. He’s about at the level he was at the year he was drafted, but that was broken up into two parts – college in the spring, Hawaii league at the end of the year. He had a few months off in between.

      Also on that note, in 2007 he started the season late due to a spring training injury, and in 2008 he had the month of August off. He’s never pitched straight through an MLB length season before.

  • zs190

    Meh, we are not going to win them all and today was a lousy game. Joba had a standard bad Joba game, bad command, doesn’t go deep but doesn’t kill you either.

    Ace had a terrible game and that’ll happen once in a while with relievers, I thought Joe pushed him way too hard today, it was obvious he didn’t have it and Joe had him threw 50 anyways. Part of it is because Mitre only lasted 5 1/3 yesterday and all the lower leverage pitchers have been used already I guess but I would have just put Gaudin in earlier instead of using him with baseloaded.

    Offense sort of took a break today too so it might have been hard to win anyways. Tomko tomorrow, should be fun.

    • PinstripesForeverDougie

      Tommorrow won’t be the same without seeing the Giambino :(
      Seriously, the A’s are an embarrassment and all you have to know is they are forced to pitched Tomko.
      Great job by their Moneyball genius GM :D Of course,I hope we sweep these innept bottomfeeders, but knowing Gaudan goes on Wednesday makes me feel 2/3 would be fantastic.
      Can’t wait for Friday…

  • LiveFromNewYork

    I think that shutting Joba down is a good thing for his development.

    But what of the “working quickly” Joba that seems effective and the oppostion–most notably Boston–seems to have figured out that the way to get to him is to throw his rhythm off?

    Also disturbing is his post-game remarks that it was a bad pitch here or there (walks tend to suggest more than “a” bad pitch). I hate when he sounds clueless.

  • Russell NY

    “Hideki Matsui had his knee drained of fluid during the game and is day-to-day. He won’t play in Monday’s game. This is not good news for one of the Yanks’ hottest hitters.”

    As if there was any question, he will not be coming back next year.

    • Mac

      He had his knee drained on April 16th as well. Before April 16th he was batting somewhere around .158, after he had his Knee drained he went on to bat .385 the rest of the month.

      This could get him through the rest of the season or potentially be worse then earlier in the season.

      No one knows.

  • Mac

    So it looks as if the Yanks can line up Joba, Burnett, CC against Boston this weekend. It does not look like the Sox are going to be able to throw Bucholz or Lester against us.

    Potential Starters
    Friday – Joba vs. Penny
    Saturday – Burnett vs. Tazawa
    Sunday – CC vs. Beckett

    I am worried about Joba though. He has already thrown close to 30 more innings this season then any other season. He is at 126.2 innings this year. In order to get him through the regular season with under 150 innings they need to skip at least 2 of his starts down the stretch. Then they have to decide on whether they keep him starting in the playoffs which could add another 20-30 innings onto that. If the Yanks can push the lead in the AL East to double digits, I seriously consider shortening his arm and letting him finish the rest of the season from the bullpen. Then potentially moving Alfredo or Gaudin into the rotation.

    A bullpen of Joba/Hughes and Mo has a chance of shutting out a team after the 6th inning.

    • Joseph Pawlikowski

      The Yanks are starting Pettitte, Burnett, and CC against the Sox. That’s set in stone. Joba won’t start again until next Tuesday against Texas.

      As for his innings, he threw 127 innings in 2006 between college and the Hawaiian Winter League. So he’s just about at his previous high.

    • Chris

      They’ve announced the rotation already and it’s Pettitte, AJ, and CC.

      They’ve also said his innings limit is higher than most people expect – I believe somewhere around 160 innings.

      Finally, they have announced that Joba will not go back to the bullpen this year. They’re just going to skip starts or spread them out to limit his innings.

    • Mac

      Nice, Thanks for the info guys. I was unaware Gaudin is pitching Wed and Pettitte would pitch Friday.

      Joba may have thrown 127 innings in 2006 but you can’t compare 127 innings of College and Hawaiian winter ball to a major league season. Skipping 2-3 more starts down the stretch would probably put him somewhere around 150-160 innings. But playoffs could easily put him in upwards of 180-190.

      They just need to monitor him and make sure hes honest about how he feels. If he starts to break down like he did last year then they are probably going to have to rest him then put him in the bullpen.

  • Bo

    Joba is really tough to watch when he nibbles around the zone. Maybe he needs to fist pump after every out to throw strikes and attack hitters.

  • Pablo Zevallos

    Since the Yanks turned in a clunker, do they get cash for it?

  • deadrody

    Most brilliant move of the season ?

    “Hey, Joba’s coming off an 8 inning shutout. How about we skip his turn?”