Jul
11

Joba and the unresolved 8th

By

(Photo Credit: LM Ortera/AP)

Last night’s game was absolutely heartbreaking when you forget that realistically, few thought the team would pull out a win with the quality of bottom of the order and opposing pitcher, Felix Hernandez, being, well, Felix Hernandez. By now, those who have stood by Joba despite his inconsistency are likely starting to question their commitment. If anything, the game may have crystalized some of the issues we’d seen with Joba Chamberlain this year.

After the game — in which Joba gave up a grand slam to steal Javy’s outdeuling of King Felix — Girardi said he’d continue to stick with Joba. “As we go forward, I would like to have an 8th-inning guy…I’d like to stay with one guy. I’m going to send him back out there,” he told reporters. He also said that Joba’s been “largely good” when they’ve had leads and he’s still re-adjusting to the 8th inning role.

In reality, some of what Joe said is true — he has been largely good (no, really) all things considered, but when he’s been bad, he’s been Ramiro Pena-in-an-0-2-count-against-Strasburg bad. But unfortunately for Joe and the rest of the team, the excuses aren’t really assuaging anyone’s fears. He’s still blowing up in too many games and he’s the primary reason the bullpen is one of the team’s biggest question marks. For an “8th inning guy,” consistency must be greater.

The starter-turned-reliever-turned starter-turned reliever has had some very impressive peripherals on the year and yet they haven’t turned into positive results. Chamberlain, prior to last night’s game, had a K/9 of 9.91, a BB/9 of 3.22, a microscopic HR rate (which will certainly go up), a festive 2.68 tERA and an FIP of 2.35. Yet somehow he also featured an ERA of 4.95 and a BABip of .378, far higher than anything he’s thrown up in his career. So what could possibly explain the drastic divide in what we know statistically should happen, and what has happened?

Undoubtedly, as the BABip and other peripherals indicate, Joba has had quite a bit of pure bad luck. The reason the results have manifested to such proportions, I suspect, is largely what’s happened after the poor luck. In all, there are ten appearances (not including the most recent game with Seattle) in which he’s given up runs. Maybe he just can’t handle the pressure after never quite regaining that plus-plus-plus stuff he had in 2007?

A quick look at those appearances:

  • Joba enters April 4th game against Sox. Starts with a weak groundout to third then gives up seeing-eye single, walk and a deep flyball and then a game-killing single to RF. Leverage Index was .79 (1.0 is considered high leverage).
  • April 11th against Rays, Chamberlain enters and gives up a sharp single then a triple. He settles down then issues a walk before getting a flyball out. Leverage index was again .79
  • Later in April, against the Angels, Joba enters and gives up a LD single then a home run and then recovers to retire three in a row on flyballs. Leverage index was .95
  • In mid-May, against the Twins, Joba had a wild time. He gave up a cheap single to start, then came back with a groundout, a walk, a strikeout, a single, another walk and finally, a home run. Leverage index was 2.47
  • The next game was against the Sox. Chamberlain saw runners reach on grounball single and an error before getting clobbered with doubles and singles. Leverage is 1.90
  • To close out May, in the infamous Cleveland game, Joba watched a seeing-eye single get through. Then was singled and doubled to death. Miserable. Leverage was 1.99. The previous low point of the season.
  • Sandwiched between some nice outings against Baltimore and Houston was a rough spot against the Jays. He threw 6 pitches; Jose Molina hits a double, Fred Lewis hits a GB single, scoring Molina (!) from 2nd. Leverage was 2.79
  • Squaring off against the Phillies, Chamberlain gave up doubles, singles, walks, steals — it was bad from beginning to end. Leverage was .25
  • Against the Bigelow Torre Tea’s in L.A., Chamberlain started off with a walk, got a double play, then saw a single, a stolen base and a double to allow the run to score. Only Torre’s remarkable incompetance saved him from being the goat again. Leverage was .14
  • Last week against Toronto was the previous mishap with Chamberlain. He gave up a scary out in LF (Gardner made a great catch), then saw a walk, a flyout and two singles. He was actually worse than his line looks. Leverage was 2.76

Well there’s no clear correlation that Joba unravels because of bad BABip luck (I’d have to go back to see the video of those hits, which is just far too much research than I’m willing to put forth), he does struggle when the game is on the line and it does seem that once he gives up a big hit with a man on second, he loses it. With RiSP, Chamberlain is being hit around to the tune of .333/.383/.429. There doesn’t appear to be a problem with runners just on first (.132/.195/.263) but when they reach second he just unravels, yielding a line of .357/.438/.429.

He’s also walked (including last night’s game) 8 men in 11 appearances in which runs scored, indicating some level of frustration. Eight of the ten appearances listed above have a leverage score of .79 or higher. Looking at the rest of the game logs, he’s been pretty much all-or-nothing this year — lights out or insomnia-inducing. While his peripherals say he should be one of the best relievers in the AL, it’s undone by the poor luck and the appearances in which Murphy’s Law presides. Part of that appears to be from a loss of focus. He’s just not spotting his pitches when luck puts him in a jam. And they’re getting tagged.

In terms of pitch sequencing, this is about the one area of consistency you’ll find with Chamberlain. He’s throwing fastballs pretty much exclusively if there is a 1-0, 2-0, 3-0 count but by the same token is also fascinated by the 2-2 and 3-2 slider. His pitch selection still leaves much to be desired in terms of predictability and when they’re not spotted well, yikes. With both pitches rated as fairly pedestrian in Pitchvalues this year, adjustments must be made. And he hasn’t made them thus far.

(Photo Credit: Charles Wenzelberg/ NY Post)

As I mentioned, Chamberlain also had some stretches where he was very good and excelled when the game was on the line. In 19 games with a 1.00 or higher leverage situation, teams scored off him in 6 of them. You want much better results for a reliever facing high-pressure situations, but he hasn’t completely Trevor Hoffman’d the bed when the game is on the line. As Girardi said, by that measure, he’s been largely good. But not good enough. Someone that volatile is not who you want to see come into the 8th inning of a tied game 7.

Joba is sort of a special situation in that he’s started before and who knows, may even return to the role next year (though I doubt it). But generally speaking, relievers are not consistent, particularly young ones. It’s why they’re relievers; you can’t just pull them every time they struggle.

At the same rate, having set roles and continuing to set them up for failure could be damaging to the player and is certainly damaging to the team. Girardi admitted that Chamberlain’s stuff was off but yet he had no contingency plan — no one warming up in the bullpen. Putting confidence in the pitcher is one thing, but being haphazard when you know he doesn’t have a feel for his pitches that night, is another.

For the fans, it’s hard to separate expectation from patience. What Mike said last night is correct — he is getting by largely on his reputation from three years ago (or 2 years ago, depending on how you value his 2008 before injury) and outside of Girardi, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who still advocates keeping Joba in his present role, which no doubt infuriates many. Chamberlain has had crazy-high expectations and he’s fallen short.

But still, he’s (still) a young pitcher with very good stuff and we’d be wise to remember how rare it is for a pitcher under 24 to reach expectations so early. Lashing out and saying we should trade him for a few pine cones and a glass of clamato juice is short-sighted. Whether they be mental, physical, mechanical or some combination, it’s in the Yankees’ best interest to get Chamberlain fixed. Right now it’s a detriment to the team to let him fix it in the 8th inning in high-pressure situations, and it seems wrong for him too. At the very least, Girardi needs to be willing to take him out if he doesn’t look strong. A change must be in order, even if no one in the bullpen has really stepped up and made themselves deserving of the 8th inning honor.

With all these notable implosions we should bear in mind that Chamberlain’s not a lost cause either. Tons of 24-year-olds with glimmers of brilliance and moments of frustration and trauma go on to have storied careers. We need to remember the lessons of patience or we’re bound to be disappointed in every shiny new toy we receive.

Check out my other long-winded, poorly conceived posts over at Mystique & Aura.

Categories : Death by Bullpen
  • http://www.theyankeeu.com/author/steve-s/ Nostra-Artist

    Don’t be overly swayed by his peripherals. They’re only good because of his Jeckyl and Hyde nature this year. When he’s on, he dominates and shows flashes of brilliance. When he’s off, he gets nobody out and is lucky to escape only giving up 3 runs, because he has nothing. He’s been on more than off, so the overall peripherals look good. But the bad outings have been so spectacularly bad that his ERA is bloated.

    Girardi has mentioned that his rough outings have been related to getting too much rest, and I did a piece on that today over at TYU. But you can’t rearrange your bullpen for one pitcher. If Joba cant learn how to make adjustments on the fly, learn how to be more consistent, he’s too combustible for his current role.

    Also, there have long been whispers about Joba’s conditioning (or lack thereof) and the sense of the coaching staff that he constantly needs a kick in the ass. I think his lack of being able to locate is related to not repeating his delivery, which is related to momentary bouts of fatigue. Until we see Joba come in chiseled, finally looking like he takes his profession seriously, I don’t think his results will change. Lots of guys have thrown the ball 99 MPH and failed. Mark Wohlers, John Rocker, Kyle Farnsworth, etc. If you can’t locate, you’ll get crushed. Joba needs to keep his fastball below the waist. If he can’t, he’s a useless tease.

    • bonestock94

      Pretty sure he covered that all or nothing point in the article.

      • http://www.theyankeeu.com/author/steve-s/ Nostra-Artist

        Yeah, but he ended on a hopeful note. I think Joba’s career is at a crossroads. Being better conditioned may not even work, but it’s his best shot. What he’s doing now will have him pitching for the Long Island Ducks in 5 years.

    • Brian in NH

      Just wait next spring when he comes back in the best shape of his life…then you’ll see!

    • JMK

      I certainly noted the Dr. Jeckly, Mr. Hyde of Joba, though I didn’t say it explicitly. You’re right — everything looks bloated because he gets lit up in a few games while in the others he throws zeros with high numbers of strikeouts. Anyway, I’m not sure getting too much rest has to do with it. It’s possible and I’ll definitely check out your post, but I agree with your ending point in paragraph 2.

      Joba wasn’t in fantastic condition earlier in his career when he succeeded (in a small sample). I’d say this has more to do with mechanics and focus than anything. As you yourself said, throwing through a brick wall does no good if you can’t spot the ball.

    • Captain Jack

      Kyle Farnsworth really hasn’t “failed” IMO, Joba’s a bit different than that. I’m deeply saddened that now were talking about him strictly as a reliever, seven months ago a lot of the regulars here were all but convinced that he would dominate or at least be a successful starter. The concerns over his lack of stuff in 2009 and now about well…everything this year, it seems that the book is slowly closing on him being a starter in the future. I recall discussing Ryan Dempster with a Cubs fan friend of mine, I told him…occasionally pitchers need an inning or two to get their shit together, thus when you’re a reliever trying to get ready within an inning of play and be expected to shut down a team for an inning may be a bit of an unrealistic expectation. Joba Chamberlain has been bred to be a starting pitcher, he’s had a good forty or fifty innings of bullpen work prior to this year and about two hundred innings of starting. Perhaps the best thing for him isn’t to “adjust” to the new role, but to hit the reset button and transition back to the old one. Try to replace Vazquez or Pettitte in 2012, as of now the bullpen thing clearly isn’t working out…he’s not getting enough regular work, whatever is/was bothering him clearly isn’t getting fixed, nor can it be expected too. Scranton, work on him becoming a starter…relief isn’t his forte anymore.

      Side note: I recall at the last time there was a recap when Joba pitched…someone suggested that we make too much whenever he gives up a run, care to retract that?

      • JMK

        Re: last point on the sidenote — Provide a link if you’re going to bring it up. I looked around and saw nothing of the sort.

        • Captain Jack

          I think it was Mike…not trying to be a dick and call anyone out though. Last game recap where he pitched, I think at that point his last 7 IP he had 2 ER 9Ks and 4BBs.

  • Vinny “The Bull” Scafuto

    Here’s last night’s silver lining: Mo got another night off. If they tag Rowland-Smith tonight, he’ll hopefully get all the rest he needs to help his side and his knee.

    • Pete

      Mo, Jeter, Posada, and a little bit of Swisher. Also, Javy pitched very well. The team has gone twice through the rotation without a single bad start now, and all but one or two of them have been excellent.

  • Jim

    I love how you felt the need to throw in the Wizard of Oz Lion pic.

    • JMK

      Don’t read too much into it or think of it as a slight. It was a funny picture and I’m sure many feel that way. You’ll see how I feel about Joba by reading the post, not by just looking at a picture.

  • Simon B.

    That Joba as the Cowardly Lion photo always reminds me of that brief scene in the Shining of the guy in the dog suit.

    *shivers*

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      You had to do that, didn’t you? Now I’m gonna have that stuck in my head all goddamn day.

  • Bill

    I think Joba needs a trip to scranton.

  • Dave

    ESPN is reporting that Bob Sheppard has passed away. Sad day for baseball.

    • Maris61

      R.I.P. Bob You truly were “the voice of God”.

      • http://www.theyankeeu.com/author/steve-s/ Nostra-Artist

        The ‘Voice of God’ ascends to Heaven.

    • JMK

      The Sheppard passing thread is now up above. If you’d like to share any thoughts on the longtime PA announcer, please do so there.

      (Not trying to sound rude at all.)

  • Michael Kay but not THE

    does it sound like the Yankees realize Joba needs to develop at AAA but they feel as if they have no backup option to replace him? It is weird though because if Melancon had gotten called up and had just 1 appearance like Joba did he’d have been shipped back to Scranton this morning.

  • Pete

    I think of Joba a lot like I think of Brackman. You want giant leaps, but you’ll take baby steps. I found myself hoping, at the beginning of this season, that his stint in the bullpen would allow him to gradually regain his old stuff (velocity and slider action-wise), and eventually some better command, on account of throwing the same pitch to the same place so many times.

    I think we have to consider the injury in 2008 as a major setback for Joba as a prospect. Yes, he was already pitching in the major leagues, and pitching well at that, but he had flown through so much of his development that there was still a lot of room for him to grow in terms of gaining command of his curve and change, and, of course, gaining stamina and being able to pitch more innings. I really feel that it would be unfair to even think about Joba as the pitcher he was pre-injury, aside from his velocity. IMO, after the injury, he re-entered project phase, and is currently in phase 2.

    As a pitcher coming off a shoulder injury beginning his first full season as a starter in 2009, I really think that the primary goal was to get him a lot of innings and keep him healthy. Results would have been nice, but they weren’t particularly relevant to the big picture, which was getting Joba through a full season as a starter.

    Now, in the bullpen, I think the primary goal is for him to regain his stuff of old. It appears, as he has been busting out mid-to-high 90s fastballs consistently for a few weeks now, that he has started to do just that. If you ask me, that’s the biggest story in regards to Joba this season. Much like with Brackman, pretty ERAs are nice, but him getting his stuff back AND having nice walk and strikeout rates is much more important.

    I recognize that he is currently playing a pretty big role on the major league team, and so it feels like results are more important than anything; he’s a big-leauger, not a prospect, so all that matters is what kind of production he’s giving you. But this isn’t the right way to look at it. Joba’s development has been famously stunted by both injury and (rightly or wrongly) the team’s decision to emphasize immediate success over his development. So he may be 24, and 3 years into his big league career, but in reality, he is still a prospect. He is still a guy that the team is trying to turn into a high-end major league pitcher, whether as a reliever or a starter (I personally think the team still views him as a starter).

    This is, I believe, why he continues to pitch regularly. Because he has to. I know a lot of people don’t like the idea of the team being hurt somewhat for one player’s development, but if it leads to the old Joba coming back, it will have been worth it. So, just like JMK said, don’t ask for him to be traded for nothing. We have to take it one step at a time with Joba, and, more importantly, we have to recognize where we’re stepping from. You can choose to see it as someone who was a star in ’07/’08 and has gotten progressively worse since then, or you can see it as somebody who has been making steady progress in his return from injury, first gaining arm strength and stamina from spending a full year in the rotation, and then gaining velocity (and hopefully improved command later on in the season) from a year in the bullpen. I’ll take the latter.

    • JMK

      Had I not already rambled for 1600 + words I would have mentioned his 2008 injury and discussed it in more depth. Beyond that, I tend to take a similar view, even if I espouse mine far less elegantly.

      If you want the longterm benefits of a top-flight player young player, you almost always need to go through the growing pains. I’m not a fan that it’s happening in the 8th in the first place (Since Hughes “won” the rotation spot in ST, I’ve long advocated for him to be a starter in AAA to develop his pitches further, stamina and refine his pitch selection) and I think it would make sense to drop him from an arbitrary role he didn’t “earn”, but we really do need to be patient with him. I can’t say that enough.

      I like the parallel to Brackman here. The worry I have is that while his velocity has largely returned, the movement doesn’t seem great, he can’t locate it and it seems like every bad outing is as much a function of frustration and a lack of focus as it is mechanics. He just can’t stop the bleeding when he gets hit in the nose.

      With Joe saying he’s going to stick with Joba in the 8th and the team only having a few weeks to option him before teams could claim him off waivers, it is what it is. For this year’s sake, he needs to be more consistent in this role. But if him struggling in the 8th this year (by no means a good thing for the short term) means dividends next year and beyond, that’s fine. There’s no perfect science to it but long-term >>>>> short term. We have to be patient. Rashness inflames situations.

      • Pete

        right. I don’t think he’s anything close to being all the way back, but if we (perhaps stupidly) think of this year in the bullpen as a process by which he regains his stuff of old, then we must assume that the process will take the whole year, or he wouldn’t be there the whole time. I think being at the point where he’s regularly 95+ on his fastball is a good halfway point for this year for him.

        He has performed horribly. While the degree to which he has sucked may be debatable, it’s pretty much a fact that, up to this point, he has been awful. I wasn’t trying to mask that, just point out that people may be looking for the wrong things. Not that success is ever a bad thing, but would you rather have, halfway through this, his age-24, 2nd year after surgery after a healthy season of starting, a Joba who was still sitting around 90-91 on the fastball, but with a nice 2.00 ERA, or a Joba who was, for the first time since mid-2008, finally touching the upper 90s with regularity. I guess it depends on whether or not you see Joba as something close to a finished product or not. I don’t, so I have found many aspects of this season for him to be pretty encouraging.

        • ROBTEN

          Not that success is ever a bad thing, but would you rather have, halfway through this, his age-24, 2nd year after surgery after a healthy season of starting, a Joba who was still sitting around 90-91 on the fastball, but with a nice 2.00 ERA, or a Joba who was, for the first time since mid-2008, finally touching the upper 90s with regularity. I guess it depends on whether or not you see Joba as something close to a finished product or not. I don’t, so I have found many aspects of this season for him to be pretty encouraging.

          I agree with you Pete, but velocity alone is not the issue. Of course, we can say that past success has corresponded with his velocity, so that regaining lost velocity is also part of his development. However, if Joba had lowered his velocity but was learning out to pitch and, as a result, was successful then I think that one would have to look at that as part of his development as well.

          I think that in some ways the Yankees were spoiled by Hughes’ success in the bullpen last year. Hughes too struggled after coming back from injury and I think it was more a matter of time than it was pitching out of the bullpen alone that were the keys to his regaining his form.

          Again, and I know that this is unlikely, but it really benefits the Yankees in the long term if they were to consider giving Joba the space to make these adjustments and regain velocity in an environment where more patience was the guiding principle rather than “win now.”

    • ROBTEN

      You can choose to see it as someone who was a star in ‘07/’08 and has gotten progressively worse since then, or you can see it as somebody who has been making steady progress in his return from injury, first gaining arm strength and stamina from spending a full year in the rotation, and then gaining velocity (and hopefully improved command later on in the season) from a year in the bullpen. I’ll take the latter.

      I wanted to repeat this, because it emphasizes perhaps the most difficult thing about watching young players as they develop.

      The main stumbling block for Joba might be the mythical creature known as “Joba Chamberlain ’07” when a young, hard throwing pitcher came up and pitched an outstanding 24 innings and made a lot of people believe that the Yankees had found the equally mythical “heir to Mo” or the more ridiculous “8th inning” guy.

      The truth is, young pitchers often struggle. Not everyone comes up and is instantly Dwight Gooden, especially when dealing with injuries.

      All of the points JMK raised — the struggles with RISP, the walks, the resistance to changing pitch selection — to me all point to a young pitcher who is trying to live up to an extremely small sample achieved early in his career.

      In other words, the peripherals show that Joba still has the “stuff” to succeed, but the results and the difficulties show that he still has to make adjustments to put it together.

      I would expect that the best thing for Joba would be to go back to being a starter while making his adjustments in an environment that is conducive to trying things out without the pressure of chasing those mythical 24 innings thrown as a 21 year old.

      As JMK said:

      Tons of 24-year-olds with glimmers of brilliance and moments of frustration and trauma go on to have storied careers. We need to remember the lessons of patience or we’re bound to be disappointed in every shiny new toy we receive.

      • Tim

        I agree. One thing I have never been able to figure out – the resistance to changing pitch selection. Who calls the pitches? Shouldn’t Girardi or Eiland be telling Joba when we goes out their that he isn’t allowed to shake off the catcher, and that he has to throw whatever Posada or Cervelli put down? And if that ain’t good enough, Joe or Dave should be relaying in the signs to the catcher? I mean, if I know he’s going to throw a slider, and you know he’s going to throw a slider, I would guess the hitters all probably know, too. Right?

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    Just demote the kid already. He needs a no-pressure environment to rebuild his delivery and mechanics.

    As a starter.

    • ROBTEN

      As a starter.

      This.

      One of my biggest concerns would be that they would send him down to AAA only to have him pitch out of the bullpen.

      • The Big City of Dreams

        that would be the biggest mistake if they did that. Since he would be in scranton why not get him as much innings as possible and start him

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      Word.

      Option Joba, call up Nova; DFA Park, call up Nova. Put Joba in SWB’s rotation for the season.

    • JMK

      Many of us wanted this in the beginning when it was announced Hughes “won” the 5th starter’s spot. It didn’t happen. Unfortunately, Girardi is saying he’s set in a particular role and they’d only have a few weeks to send him down before he’d be eligible for waivers.

      It’s not going to happen.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Maybe Joba’s sucking on purpose to force the team’s hand. “Oh, you want to put me in the pen? Guess what, I’ll suck there too. Now you’ll have to demote me and I can start again.”

        (No, I don’t actually believe that.)

        • Pete

          I do.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            Nah.

            Joba may not be smart, but he’s not LeBron James dumb.

            • Pete

              Oh he’s smart. This whole thing goes deeper than you could possibly fathom…if you think Joba’s current line, 9/11, and the Great Pyramids are not connected…well…

        • mustang

          If it’s true he is dumb and selfish.

        • old fan

          I know that Joba has a lot of “head” issues from his family, is immature,prone to making dumb comments, etc. and I was always in his corner and wanted to see him succeed and beat the tough issues in his life.

          But, now I’m beginning to think he is just a loser, who can’t handle success and who isn’t really very smart.

          How long would George S. has put up with his performance of the last year? He’d already would have been read the riot act multiple times and, most probably be pitching elsewhere–SWB or another team. George was correct in insisting on “winners” playing for the Yanks.

    • hello9

      This.

      If we continue with ‘the screw around with Joba’s mechanics/head variety show’ as a starter/reliever we’re going to destroy a potentially valuable pitcher. If we have the ability to go out and trade for an all star CF, all star pitcher and went hard after Cliff Lee all in one year (and still have an above avg farm right now) there’s no reason we shouldn’t get a good reliever or two to avert this trainwreck.

    • mustang

      “As a starter.”

      How come I’m not surprised and the same people I will give you guys this you don’t give up. How about going down and working out of the pen to help the weakest part of this team they already have 5 good starters.

  • Gonzo

    If there is a glimmer of hope that he might be converted back to a starter this might be it. It’s improbable, but a guy can dream.

  • pounder

    I wonder if the Rangers would bit on a Joba,Montero,Javy deal, for Cliff Lee? Throw in some money perhaps?

    • JMK

      Har har har.

  • paulb

    joba has never been the same since the shoulder injury. A lot of his effectiveness was related to his intimidating velocity, which he has never fully regained. He should be sent down to the minors to learn how to pitch.

    • billbybob

      He hit 99 mph last nigh so his velocity is not the problem. Generalized suckiness seems to be his main issue.

      • Kyle Litke

        It was never just the velocity though. The problem is he’s ridiculously inconsistent. I think twice this year he looked like “Joba from 2007″, but usually when he dials it up to 97 now, he doesn’t know where the pitch is going. And that slider isn’t the same as it used to be either. I don’t know what it is, seems like mechanics but I’m not a pitching coach. Whatever it is though, I don’t think “the 8th inning in high pressure situations” is the place for him to work on his inconsistency.

        • speed freak

          It most certainly was the velocity, at least in some significant part. Even with all other things being equal, when his velocity as a starter dropped from 95 to 92 I have a hard time believing that didn’t adversely affect his ability to put hitters away. He’s averaging 94.3 this year and he averaged 97 in 07. It’s not everything, but it’s pretty important.

          Now he has outings where he averages 96+ and outings where he averages 93, but I haven’t noticed much of a difference in performance. I think it’s mostly about how sharp his slider is a particular day, and frankly sometimes you get hit and sometimes you don’t. It’s just poured basically every time it’s rained.

  • Mike HC

    I put a lot of blame for Joba’s struggles on the Yanks. He is clearly not the most stable of guys, and is inconsistent with his conditioning as he noticeably gains and loses weight throughout the season. With someone like this, I think it would be of the utmost importance to keep him on as consistent of a routine as possible. You don’t rush him to the big leagues and turn him into a reliever, only to turn him back into a starter, only to turn him back into a reliever. That is almost a guaranteed roadmap to creating a flameout/bust, for someone with Joba’s temperament. He gave us great short term gains in the beginning, and then completely fucked with rest of his career.

    Joba deserves plenty of blame himself, but the Yanks should have recognized this, and handled him completely differently.

    • Chris

      he noticeably gains and loses weight throughout the season.

      I don’t think there’s any way to tell whether or not he gains/loses weight during the season unless you’re watching him get on the scale.

      • Mike HC

        Or watching his face and body get bigger and smaller.

        You make it seem like there are not noticeable differences when people gain and lose weight, only an arbitrary number on a scale.

  • Tank Foster

    When is Aceves back? If The Gangster is back sometime this month, I say swap Joba for Melancon, put Robertson in the 8th inning slot, and let Aceves do the flexi work, and let Melancon sink or swim with some experience.

    If the Yankees do still want Joba to be a starter, I think it’s time to make the full time committment to that role now, in the minors. But even if they see him as a relief pitcher, I still say send him to AAA and have someone work with him.

    I truly believe, as Yogi would say, that half of Joba’s problem is 90% mental.

    Although he doesn’t look like he’s lost his cool on the mound, I think he gets terribly frustered and doesn’t think clearly. It affects everything, from mechanics to pitch selection to control. I don’t know what his personality is, whether he would learn better by being forced to do things a certain way, or by encouragement and positive reinforcement, but either way, he definitely needs someone to guide and manage his development more. He doesn’t seem to be able to manage his abilities successfully on his own, as, say, Hughes seems to have.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      When is Aceves back?

      Best case scenario: September.

      More likely scenario: Next year.

  • http://www.lennysyankees.com lenNY’s Yankees

    “Undoubtedly, as the BABip and other peripherals indicate, Joba has had quite a bit of pure bad luck.”

    Doesn’t it also have to do with his pitches sailing right down the middle and belt high?

    • hello9

      He’s been unlucky on how far opposing batter have walloped those pitches.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        That.

        Joba’s been poor and has left far too many pitches on the fat part of the plate, but he’s also been victimized by some bad luck as well.

        Last night was a perfect example. That high, straight, flat fastball to Lopez was inexcusably bad execution and 100% on Joba, and it happened because his previous sliders weren’t sliding and he couldn’t go to any other pitch, which is also 100% Joba.

        But the previous batters (Wilson/Ichiro/Figgins), Joba actually made some good pitches in good locations that normally would have resulted in either strikes or harmless flyouts, but they fell in for hits. Sometimes you’re both bad and unlucky which makes you look even worse than you really were. Up until the Lopez PA, Joba hadn’t really gotten lit up, he looked pretty decent.

        • http://www.mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK The Overshare

          That’s exactly what I mean. Last night was the perfect storm of Joba having some poor luck (the first few hits were not particularly hit hard but fell in), poor pitch selection (being predictable and needing to rely on a pitch, one that wasn’t terribly effective), losing his shit and not being able to locate anything. He got tagged.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            Bingo.

        • steves

          I said the same thing in essence in the post-game thread and met some sarcastic disagreement. We usually don’t allign on many issues but on this one we are on the same page. Nice to join you on this one.

  • mmx

    Someone said Joba is the new Kyle Farnsworth.

    I think it’s pretty close.

    He either has to be traded or send back to 3A to rework his mechanics & mindset.

    • Pete

      why would you trade him? what are you going to get?

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    I’d still like to see us trade some non-elite prospects (i.e., guys who have mid-level trade value but probably aren’t good enough to ever play meaningful roles for us, like Zach McAllister) for a reliever or two to bolster the bullpen and allow us to demote Joba to get him fixed.

    Especially relievers who are Type A or Type B guys who would likely net us a draft pick in 2011’s stacked class, meaning that the total prospect cost would be next to nothing.

    The two guys I have in mind are Octavio Dotel and J.J. Putz, both of whom are pitching well at the moment and have returned to their strikeout-per-inning rates. They’re both scheduled to be Type B’s, so we’d get 4 months of them for a prospect that we’d instantly replace in the system. And since they’re only Type B’s and not Type A’s, their teams probably wouldn’t overvalue them.

    • Tim

      Dotel probably wouldn’t cost us a thing. We have a nice history of pillaging the Pirates, too.

  • Ben

    It’s worth noting, even though it’s of little significance, that the final walk and home run against the Twins was not with Joba on the mound.

  • rek4gehrig

    “Most of the times when we’ve had the leads he has done a good job,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Tonight he struggled, it was with his command and we’ll just keep working at it.”

  • Mike Nitabach

    I don’t think this is a mechanical pitching problem. I think he does not have the psychological makeup to be a major league pitcher, other than as a low-grade inning-eater relief pitcher. He just looks totally befuddled out there, and the moment the situation becomes a little tense, he totally loses his cool. He does not have the temperament for high-impact situations.

    • Tom Merritt

      I agree!! I’m getting sick of seeing him screw up. I wish the Yankees would do something with him and I really don’t care what. Demote, trade, release, any would be fine.

  • Wil Nieves #1

    We need Chris Britton.

  • Easterneagle

    GET RID OF JOBA!!! I AM SICK OF HIM BLOWING GAMES!!! SEND HIM DOWN OR TRADE HIM OR WHATEVER!!! THIS IS THE MAJOR LEAGUES MAN!!!!!!!!!!!! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.. I AM SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO ANGRY ABOUT LAST NIGHT I HATE THIS GUY….IT IS IRRESPONSIBLE TO KEEP SENDING HIM OUT….Einstein was right…”The definition of insanity is when you do something over and over and over again and expect different results” STOP THE INSANITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!