Sep
29

Two solid outings but no clear fourth starter

By

Every time Chad Gaudin and Joba Chamberalin take the mound this month, they are auditioning for the Yankees. They aren’t really trying out for much beyond two post-season starts, but these outings constitute auditions nonetheless. After two solid outings from both pitchers over the last four games, the Yanks’ fourth starter picture remains cloudy.

Joba, as we know, has been bad. After three strong starts to begin the season’s second half, he is now 5-4 with a 5.37 ERA after the All-Star Break. In 63.2 innings, he has given up 30 walks and 63 hits while striking out 51.

After a series of horrendous outings in late August and early September, Joba seemed to turn it around on Friday when he went 6 innings in a win. He allowed three earned runs on five hits while walking just one and striking out five. More important, however, was Joba’s opponent, as he seemingly broke out of his slump against the Red Sox, a potential ALCS enemy of the Yanks.

Meanwhile, Chad Gaudin has been more than serviceable as the team’s fifth starter since coming to the Yanks. He has made six starts and has thrown 32 innings. While Joe Girardi has kept him on a short leash, Gaudin hasn’t lost as a Yankee starter and owns a win. In those innings, he has given up 28 hits and 15 walks while striking out 23. His ERA as a Yankee starter is 3.09.

Yesterday, Gaudin did what he had to do in his audition. Against a weak Royals team, he went 6.2 innings and gave up a pair of runs on four hits, two walks and five strikeouts. He threw 57 of 92 pitches for strikes and generally coasted through the game.

In one sense, this past weekend did nothing to illuminate the Yanks’ pitching plans going forward. As soon as Detroit or the Twins clinch the Central, the Yanks will opt for the longer ALDS, and the fourth starter issue won’t come to a head unless and until the Yanks reach the American League Championship Series. Even then, we’ve burned a lot of pixels arguing over which pitcher stands to make two or perhaps three postseason starts.

Yet, in a way, this issue is important for Joba Chamberlain. If the Yanks are confident in Joba’s abilities and his arm strength, they will give him the ball. He has, after all, been the fourth starter for the entire 2009 season. He has stayed healthy and has generally given the Yanks a chance to win games. After all, the Yanks are 20-10 in his games. But the Bombers are undefeated in Gaudin’s six starts, and the team won’t overlook that fact either.

Right now, I have no answer, and when we have no answer, we do what bloggers do best: We poll the audience. So as we count down the hours until tonight’s Yankee game, riddle me this one. I voted for Joba, but I don’t think the Yanks could make a wrong choice here.

Who would you name as the Yanks' fourth starter in the playoffs?
View Results
Categories : Playoffs, Polls

107 Comments»

  1. Confidence Level: 27.

    (What’s that? Wrong poll? Oh, my bad.)

    Confidence Level: 27 Joba.

  2. But the Bombers are undefeated in Gaudin’s six starts, and the team won’t overlook that fact either.

    Those six starts were against the A’s, Blue Jays, Rays, Blue Jays, Angels, and Royals. I love Chad Gaudin, and he’s pitched well, but keep that in mind. He’s not exactly facing murderers rows here.

  3. Tank Foster says:

    While I am definitely not a “b-jobber,” I think for the purposes of the playoffs, I’d rather use Joba in relief.

    I wonder if they will be choosing one or the other for the roster, or will have both there anyway and will choose one to be a 4th starter if necessary.

    I think Gaudin gives them a better likelihood of staying in the game and making it through 6 innings than does Joba. On the other hand, Joba gives them a better shot at shutting the other team down. Granted, he hasn’t done it consistently at all this year, but he has had dominant outings. I guess it depends on the situation in the series. If they’re up 3-0 and the bullpen arms are rested, I start Joba. If it’s 2-1 and the bullpen has seen alot of work, I might favor Gaudin. 1-2 or 0-3, it’s Sabathia, of course…

    • You’d probably have to decide their roles before the series got to 3-0 or 2-1, though, because whoever isn’t going to get that start might be used in relief earlier in the series. I think the decision has to be made before the series starts, not on-the-fly based on the score in the series.

  4. radnom says:


    After two solid outings from both pitcher over the last four games, the Yanks’ fourth starter picture remains cloudy.

    No, it really doesn’t. The job is Joba’s to lose.

  5. Hand of Abbot says:

    Is it a foregone conclusion that they’ll opt for the longer series? Why see Verlander twice in 4 games?

      • I don’t see why everyone is so willing to take on the Twins. The Tigers are a far worse team, and Sabathia can very easily match up against Verlander.

        • Drew says:

          Part of it is the 7-0. I know, 5-1 vs Detroit.

          My main issue with Detroit is their offense and as you mentioned JV. I know CC can matchup well with him and we would likely win the close game battle but for some reason the Twins just feel like the safer team. Either way though, I’m confident.

        • andrew says:

          Agreed. I think we’d be lucky if we could get the Tigers to limp into the playoffs instead of having to fight off the hot Twins.

        • andrew says:

          Agreed. I think we’d be lucky if we could get the Tigers to limp into the playoffs instead of having to fight off the hot Twins.

        • e mills says:

          I agree…fans should be careful what they wish for

        • Jamal G. says:

          Also, as I explained on Twitter, there is no way Justin Verlander or Edwin Jackson will start the one-game playoff that would take place on *Monday. With Justin Verlander set to go tonight, that would put him on tap for a three-day-rested start on Saturday, or a start on Sunday with his regular rest.

          *Going off of the dates of the last two one-game playoffs in 2007 and 2008, MLB schedules them so there is an off-day between said playoff and the start of the natural postseason. Seeing as how the rules for choosing which series the Yankees would like states that the choice must be made right after the conclusion of the final game that will determine the Yankees’ opponent in the ALDS, MLB would have to schedule the one-game playoff at the earliest possible date (Monday), so as to leave room for an off-day if the Yankees choose the longer ALDS, which starts on Wednesday.

          As for Edwin Jackson, Detroit’s Friday starter, the could not make the potential playoff start on Monday, as he is scheduled to go on Friday night.

          So, rooting for the Tigers to play a one-game playoff makes no sense from a Yankees fan’s perspective other than an extra day’s work for the Tigers’ bullpen.

          • Fri-Sat-Sun looks like Liriano-Blackburn-Duensing for the Twinkies and Jackson-Porcello-Verlander for the Tiggers, so the Monday playoff would be…

            Pavano v. Bonine?
            Pavano v. Robertson?
            Pavano v. Washburn, Curt Schilling-bloody-sock style?
            Pavano v. Dontrelle Willis? (heh, that would be AWESOME)

            I’ll put my money on Pavano.

            :: head explodes ::

          • Ed says:

            According to Verducci, the one game playoff would be on Tuesday. Twins get home field, but there’s a football game at the Metrodome Monday night.

            • Good catch, Ed. Forgot about that.

              Favre v. the Packers on MNF. Zero chance of that being moved, hence, the MLB gets kicked to Tuesday.

              Meaning, if we pick the A series with the extra day off, the Tigers could do this:

              Fri 2- Jackson
              Sat 3- Porcello
              Sun 4- Verlander
              Mon 5-
              Tue 6- Jackson on three days rest in the one-game playoff
              Wed 7-Porcello in Game 1 of the ALDS
              Thu 8-
              Fri 9- Verlander on normal rest in Game 2
              Sat 10-
              Sun 11- Jackson on normal rest in Game 3
              Mon 12- Porcello on normal rest in Game 4
              Tue 13-
              Wed 14-Verlander on normal rest in Game 5

              … you know what? If the Twins and Tigers end up tied and play a one game playoff on Tuesday, we’d be FOOLS to not take the B series with fewer off days. I’d rather throw Joba or Gaudin in Game 4 just to get the accelerated October 7-8-10-11-13 dates and force either the Twins or Tigers to stretch their already thin pitching past the breaking point. We’d be letting them off the hook otherwise.

              • Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

                Sun 11- Jackson on normal rest in Game 3
                Mon 12- Porcello on normal rest in Game 4
                Tue 13-
                Wed 14-Verlander on normal rest in Game 5,

                Mon 12- Yankees prepare for ALCS

                Fixed.

                • Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

                  Confidence Level = 236

                • I agree. Just running out the whole scenario.

                  Consider the difference between this:

                  Fri 2- Jackson
                  Sat 3- Porcello
                  Sun 4- Verlander
                  Mon 5-
                  Tue 6- Jackson on three days rest in the one-game playoff
                  Wed 7-Porcello on three days rest in ALDS Game 1
                  Thu 8-
                  Fri 9- Verlander on normal rest in ALDS Game 2
                  Sat 10-
                  Sun 11- Jackson on normal rest in ALDS Game 3

                  vs.

                  Fri 2- Jackson
                  Sat 3- Porcello
                  Sun 4- Verlander
                  Mon 5-
                  Tue 6- Jackson on three days rest in the one-game playoff
                  Wed 7-Porcello on three days rest in ALDS Game 1
                  Thu 8- Verlander on three days rest in ALDS Game 2
                  Fri 9-
                  Sat 10- Jackson on normal rest in ALDS Game 3

                  Never mind who pitches Game 4 (between Porcello or Verlander for them, or Joba or Gaudin or CC for us)… If the Tigers play the Twins in a one-game playoff, and win, we can force them to go to a pitcher on short rest for EVERY SINGLE GAME of the ALDS.

                  Or, Nate Robertson or Eddie Bonine.

                  I’m very aroused.

                • Jamal G. says:

                  The shortened ALDS starts on Thursday.

                • Aw, fuck me. I was looking across and not down. Looking at the NLDS series.

                  DAMNIT.

                  Ignore my ramblings.

                  http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/schedule/ps.jsp?y=09

        • Ross says:

          Detroit has a very, very good pitching staff and in a five game series scares the crap out of me. Minnesota? Not so much.

          Plus, I think Yankees fans have 2006 fresh in their memories, and also the fact that the Twins never beat the Yankees in 5 game series, or in the regular season, or, ever. The past doesn’t really matter, but I think it plays into the whole thing.

          My argument for facing the Twins is that they don’t have an ace – they don’t have a guy that you are scared to face twice. Detroit has that guy and his name is Verlander.

          • My argument for facing the Twins is that they don’t have an ace – they don’t have a guy that you are scared to face twice. Detroit has that guy and his name is Verlander.

            The counterargument: Our offense is more dominant than our starting pitching (viewed holistically), so we probably match up better against a team that struggles to score runs and has good pitching than against a team that struggles to pitch well but has an offense that can score runs on anyone.

            See also: Why we’re more afraid of the Angels than the Sox.

            You should be slightly more afraid of the Twins lineup clobbering Andy and AJ than you should about Verlander shutting down the potent offense, IMO. The former doomsday scenario is probably more likely than the latter doomsday scenario.

            • AndrewYF says:

              But the Twins don’t have that great of an offense. Remember, they don’t have Morneau.

              Yes, they have Mauer, and Span/Kubel/Cuddyer are very solid hitters, but the rest of their offense is really, really, really bad. So the offense that can ‘score runs off of anyone’ is pretty overstated.

              Verlander, Jackson and Porcello are better than anything the Twins can throw at you.

              • Yes, they have Mauer, and Span/Kubel/Cuddyer are very solid hitters, but the rest of their offense is really, really, really bad.

                And, the Tigers have Miggy (worse than Mauer), Raburn (worse than Kubel), Guillen (worse than Cuddyer), Granderson (worse than Span), and then the rest of THEIR offense is even WORSE than all the crappy rest of Minnesota’s offense.

                Seriously, look it up. The Tigers’ team OPS+ is 94. The Twins is 107. Even if you remove Morneau from that 107, it’s still gonna be WAY better than the Tigers punchless lineup.

                • AndrewYF says:

                  Right, I didn’t say Minnesota had a worse lineup, just that their lineup advantage is overstated, because Detroit’s starting pitching is so vastly superior.

                • Right, I didn’t say Minnesota had a worse lineup, just that their lineup advantage is overstated, because Detroit’s starting pitching is so vastly superior.

                  Is it? Vastly, really?

                  Detroit:
                  4.27 ERA, .262/.335/.424 (.759), 1.41 WHIP, 6.89 K/9, 1.87 K/BB

                  Minnesota:
                  4.50 ERA, .272/.331/.432 (.763), 1.38 WHIP, 6.52 K/9, 2.28 K/BB

                  Is it really vastly superior? Maybe they just play in a more pitchers-friendly park…

                  Once you get past Verlander, the Tigers pitching is no great shakes. Porcello and Jackson are no better than any of the 5 interchangeable Twins starters, and the Twins BP is MUCH better.

                • Your point about the overall pitching staffs and the bullpens is very fair and applicable, but those numbers are a little off since there’s a decent chance you’re facing Verlander twice in the ALDS.

                  I don’t think anyone is arguing that the Tigers are the better overall team or that their pitching staff, top to bottom, is better. But, if Verlander is on, you’re facing him for a disproportionately high portion of the overall innings in the ALDS, and the Twins just don’t have a similar weapon.

                  We’ve seen what a dominant starting pitcher can do in a short playoff series, they can really be game-changers.

                • Verlander’s scheduled to throw on Sunday. If he has to make that start, whether there’s a one-game playoff or not, he’d be throwing on either three days rest or TWO DAYS REST if he pitches Game 1. And, if we pick the B series, he’d be pitching on short rest again in either Game 4 or Game 5.

                  We can wear his ass out. And they’ve got nothing behind him.

        • Even if you’d prefer to play the Tigers, I think the presence of Verlander in the Tigers’ rotation keeps those teams pretty close, in terms of who I’d prefer to see the Yanks match up against. The Twins might be better overall, but in a short series, the Tigers might get to throw Verlander out there twice. The Twins don’t have a weapon like that, and that’s a pretty significant difference in a best-of-5 series.

          In a best-of-5 series, the Tigers are not a “far worse team” than the Twins.

  6. thurdonpaul says:

    i want to see there last starts before i pick

  7. JMK aka The Overshare says:

    I realize I’m probably in the minority here, and lord knows I’m pulling for Joba as much as anyone, but I’d rather have Gaudin (assuming he pitches well in his last start). Joba’s a better talent, no question, and he’s capable of being dominant, but as we’ve seen, he’s more likely to implode. The last two outings have been encouraging, but he’s been very inconsistent this year.

    Gaudin is virtually a lock to go 5-6 innings of 2-3 run ball. The Yankees are very capable of scoring 4+ runs if that score holds but if Joba is bad, a 5-6 run hole could be too much. If Joba pitches well in his last start and Gaudin isn’t very impressive, I’m open to changing my mind but I’m not sold on two good starts from Joba after so many horrendous ones.

    • Gaudin is virtually a lock to go 5-6 innings of 2-3 run ball.

      Really? Really?

      • JMK aka The Overshare says:

        Since Tampa (9/8) his lines are as follows:

        vs. K.C 6.2 IP/4 H/ 2ER
        vs. LAA 4.2/6/2
        vs. TOR 5.2/7/3
        vs. TB 6.0/6/1

        I’m not saying he’s not capable of throwing out a clunker, but overall, I’d say he’s been more consistent. I’d rather take consistency in the playoffs.

    • JMK aka The Overshare says:

      Nevermind Joba’s 2 starts. The one before this was a short outing against Seattle. That wasn’t a good start. The one before that, I believe, against Anaheim, was good though.

    • Rob in CT says:

      I think Chad Gaudin is just as likely to be blown out of a playoff game as Joba is. Gaudin can’t get lefties out and his stuff is merely ok. Joba has been all over the place, yes. But the upside is huge. Joe should be able to tell pretty quickly if Joba doesn’t have it. Before he gives up 5-6 runs, anyway. In that case, pull him and put Gaudin or Aceves in.

      • JMK aka The Overshare says:

        The Tigers have two lefties and neither is a good hitter. I’d say his stuff is better than average. It’s not anywhere near Joba, but he’s got a fastball with good movement and his slider can be very good. His change isn’t bad either. Joba’s upside is huge, I agree, but I’m not sold on one good game of late. As I mentioned in the post, if he pitches really well in the last game and Gaudin is average-to-bad, I might revise my position. But not yet.

    • pete says:

      i think you’ve been blinded a bit by numbers like 3.09 ERA w/ the yankees – in reality, he’s simply been taken out before shit hits the fan almost any start b/c the bullpen has been generally rested for his starts. he shut down the royals, but other than that, i would say most likely scenario for Gaudin is 4.2 innings, 2-3 runs. I think joba, on the other hand, provided he’s prepped something along the lines of “don’t worry about shit just strike everybody out” is more likely to go 4-5 innings, and no runs. If you’re lucky, you get 5-6 innings, 2 runs out of gaudin. if you’re lucky w/ joba, you get 6-7 innings, 0 runs. I’ll take jobber

      • JMK aka The Overshare says:

        You’re right that Gaudin has exited before things really went down, usually in the 5th. But Joba more likely to go 4-5 innings, and no runs? I’d love for that to be true but I’m not sure the numbers are on your side on that one. I doubt saying, “don’t worry about shit, just strike everybody out” is (or has) made any difference. Impossible to know, really.

        Again, upside is higher with Joba, but it’s still a guessing game if he shows up.

        • pete says:

          very true very true it’s much more of a hunch than anything else, but I can’t shake the feeling that we could get 4-5 dominant innings out of joba, which i don’t think we could get out of Gaudy

      • andrew says:

        but we still are allowed to take Gaudin out before shit hits the fan. Just because the playoffs it doesn’t mean we are required to leave him in for 7 innings. I dont think we’re being blinded by the numbers. We know that Gaudin’s ERA is partly because he’s been pitching 4 or 5 innings every time out, but there’s no reason why 4 or 5 innings of 2 run ball can’t be helpful in the playoffs also.

  8. JM says:

    TWINS WIN IN TEN INNINGS!

    Disclaimer: I am only rooting for the Twins because the Twins don’t have some guy named Verlander on their staff. Heard he is pretty good at pitching.

  9. the artist formerly known as (sic) says:

    test post

  10. The Fallen Phoenix says:

    If Gaudin will perform about as effectively as Joba would, I’d say go Gaudin for 4th starter to keep Joba’s postseason workload down.

    I don’t think that’d be the case, though.

  11. Drew says:

    It’s good to see so many people voting for Jober. I thought most people had given up on him for the year.

  12. Manimal says:

    We need to get to the ALCS first…

  13. dkidd says:

    if you’re girardi, which scenario results in deeper feelings of regret?

    a: you choose to start joba and he gets rocked
    b: you choose to start gaudin and he gets rocked

    b, obviously. start joba!

  14. Chili Davis says:

    “The Red Sox aren’t built for the regular season; they’re built for the playoffs. Beckett and Lester are great postseason pitchers, Dice-K will only give you six innings — but they’re six good innings — and then you’ve got Papelbon. Pretty good staff. The Yankees’ pitching is a coin flip.”-Colin Cowherd

    Is there some sort of carbon monoxide leak in Bristol, Conn.?

  15. dkidd says:

    re tigers versus twins, which potential narrative would you rather have drilled into your head by the media:

    tigers give beleaguered motor city a reason to cheer
    twins get final miracle in the baggy-dome (ghost of kirby puckett)

    i’d rather play the tigers. weird stuff happens in minnesota in the post-season

  16. Joseph M says:

    I think Joba would make a great 7th inning guy for the postseason. Can you imagine Joba to Hughes to Rivera, it would be 1996 all over again. Opposition teams would be under the gun to get the lead before the 7th or face lights out.

  17. Lanny says:

    Gaudins been good but hes not in Joba’s league in terms of talent and stuff. Joba can shut down a lineup like Boston. Gaudin can shutdown KC. Big difference. Plus Joba would be much better in the pen if they went that route.

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