This date in Yankee history: the Joba edition


Credit: AP Photo, Tony Gutierrez

On this date in 2008, Joba Chamberlain left his start in Texas after 4.2 innings with what the Yankees later termed right shoulder stiffness. Joba would sit out a month before returning to the bullpen in September. Questions about that shoulder injury have hovered around the youngster ever since.

Prior to that injury, Joba had taken the American League by storm. In 113 career innings pitched, he had thrown to a nifty 2.15 ERA (2.52 FIP) with 44 walks and 138 strike outs. Opponents had hit just .214/.291/.294 against him. Since the injury, Joba has thrown 214.2 innings with less than stellar results. He has a 4.78 ERA (but a 4.05 FIP) while allowing 97 walks and striking out 199. His K rate dropped from 10.99 per 9 IP to 8.34, and his walk rate increased from 3.5 per 9 IP to 4.06.

After the shoulder injury, Joba’s stuff seemed diminished. He had been reaching the upper 90s as a starter but couldn’t hit that mark last year as he struggled to adjust to Major League hitters. This year, his velocity has inched back up into the mid-to-upper 90s, but he hasn’t found the consistently dominating approach he enjoyed throughout those first 113 innings.

We’ll never know for sure exactly how much of an impact that shoulder injury had on Joba’s development. Maybe he’s struggled lately because Major League hitters adjusted to his style. Maybe he peaked young. It’s certainly happened to plenty of players. Maybe the back-and-forth from the bullpen hasn’t been the developmental guide he needed. Maybe the injury had absolutely nothing to do with his 2009-2010 results. Whatever the case may be, August 4, 2008 has always stood out in my mind as the night something changed. Joba left the game and hasn’t been the same since.

Categories : Musings


  1. He looks chunky. I gotta wonder what’s on his training table.

  2. Jay T says:

    Could some it be in his head? I remember last year his 1st 3 starts out of the All-Star break. He was lights out. So, it’s still in there somewhere.

  3. vin says:

    It was on that day that the Yankee season was all but finished. Pettite had started to fade by that point. Wang was obviously done for the year. As was Posada.

    Replacing Wang, Joba and Posada with Rasner, Ponson and Molina will spell doom for any team. Especially one that had down years from Cano, Jeter, and Matsui.

    Heading into that start, Joba was the brightest light and biggest hope for the team. After that injury, it was all pretty much over.

  4. B-Rando says:

    Damn, Joba looks much more out of shape now doesn’t he?

    That picture looks like a lean, mean, flame throwing machine, as opposed to the Joba we have now.

  5. Mike Nitabach says:

    It was those fucken flies in Cleveland the year before that fucked up Chamberlain.

  6. Accent Shallow says:

    What might have been. Eesh.

  7. j_Yankees says:

    This post did..NOT..cheer me up.


  8. Andrew says:

    This event really changed the 2008 season as well. Had Joba stayed healthy, the yanks might’ve had a chance to make a run at the wild card. That’s how good he was that year for the yanks.

  9. dc1874 says:

    He should switch to light beer when goin out boozing.

  10. I Am Not The Droids You're Looking For says:

    Well clearly all that starting hurt his shoulder. If they’d left him in the pen where he belongs then he’d still be that lights out kid and the obvious heir to Mo.


  11. keith says:

    If you look at Joba’s velocity in September of that year, after he came back from the injury it was fine. The velocity issues did not surface until spring training the following year.

    I’m too lazy to look it up but I’ve done it in the past. If anyone wants to that would be lovely. But the numbers don’t lie.

    • The Big City of Dreams says:

      actually when he came back his velocity was down. I remember because kay mentioned it on every fastball he threw

  12. Bronx Ralphie says:

    Joba’s horrible. why do we waste time talking about somebody who is finished?

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