The Joba Rules. If I never hear that phrase again, it will be too soon. The rules are, of course, what would govern any young pitcher in Joba’s situation. But the media has taken the Yanks handling of Joba as a personal affront, and seemingly mock these “rules” at every turn (though there are obvious exceptions). The Yankees are in the precarious position of balancing short-term needs with long-term goals. Those are not easy waters to navigate. They’re doing their best, although mistakes have been made in the past.
The idea is that Joba will go three or four innings today, with an indeterminate cap on his pitches. This is in an effort to build him back to to the six, seven inning range by the time October rolls around. I hope this is the right move, though I’m not sure what, beyond completely shutting him down at around 150 to 160 innings, would be an optimal course of action.
Girardi won’t have the luxury of Al Aceves to back up Joba this time, nor will he have Chad Gaudin. If the game gets out of hand either way we could see the likes of Edwar Ramirez and Mike Dunn get in the game. Otherwise we’ll probably see Jon Albaladejo and Mark Melancon fill the middle innings, with Phil Coke taking the 8th inning slot. Presumably, Mariano Rivera is not available again tonight.
Toeing the rubber for the Jays is Roy Halladay, perpetual Yanks nemesis. Well, that is, until this year. The Yanks have tagged him for five runs in each of his last two starts. In fact, Halladay hasn’t been at all himself since the calendar flipped to August. He opened the second half strong, throwing back to back nine-inning appearances out of the gate, against the Sox and the Rays, and then had a rough but serviceable start in Seattle. He hasn’t been the same since.
In his last 42 innings, Halladay has allowed 27 runs, though only 22 earned. That’s good for a 4.71 ERA, certainly un-Halladay-ian. The big culprit: homers. He’s allowed eight in that span, a far, far cry from where he normally sits. That, and the .860 OPS against in August, doesn’t bode well for him as he faces the homer-happy Yankees.
Quite a strange lineup. Jeter has the night off, which is understandable, but Hinske batting second? Wouldn’t Cano be better in that spot? Anyway…
1. Johnny Damon, LF
2. Eric Hinske, RF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Hideki Matsui, DH
6. Jorge Posada, C
7. Robinson Cano, 2B
8. Melky Cabrera, CF
9. Ramiro Pena, SS
And on the mound, number sixty-two, Joba Chamberlain.