Thoughts on Joba

Lemme start off with a little story…

As I’m at the game last night watching Joba take his warm-ups, the guy sitting next to me (young guy, probably 21 or 22, resident Angels’ fan rockin’ a Chuck Finley jersey) turns to his friend and says “Joe-buh Chamberlain? Who’s this fucking clown? We’ll be back in this game in no time.” I cracked a little smile, looked at the guy and said “Man, you have no fucking idea what you’re in for.” Five minutes later, he was singing a much different tune.

Random thoughts after seeing him pitch:

  • Holy crap.
  • You can file Willits’ hit under the “nice piece of hitting” category, because that pitch was nearly at his shoestrings. Even so, it was little nubber back up the middle, far from a hard hit line drive. Oh, and can Reggie Willits & Howie Kendrick switch names already and restore order back to the universe?
  • Dude, he schooled Vlad on 3 pitches. Like really schooled him. Had him way out in front of a first pitch slider, blew 100 mph heat (drew lots of ooohs & aaaahs) that Vlad barely fouled off (if he centered that pitch though, man, that ball would have landed in Encino), then finished him off with a devilish slider. Ridiculous.
  • I still like Phil Hughes more, but Joba’s got the clear edge in EORP (Excitement Over Replacement Player). It’s going to completely nuts in a few years when those two hit their prime.

Joba’s now thrown 102 pitches in the bigs, 68 for strikes (66.67%). The opposition is hitting a flaccid .115-.179-.115-.294 off him. I want you take a second and get a good look at Joba’s career K/BB ratio at the bottom of the Joba Watch (that K/BB ratio includes everything, Hawaii last winter, Futures Game, bigs, minors, everything). I mean take a reaaaaal good look at it and understand how completely sick that is.

I drove 80 miles for that?!?!

Quick like a ninja:

  • Mike Mussina was so-so. Okay fine, he was terrible. Abysmal. God awful. All of these words too. Four doubles in 1 inning? Are you kidding me??? Even the outs he recorded were hit hard.
  • I didn’t stay the whole game, I took off after I saw Sean Henn trot out of the bullpen to relieve Edwar. I’m sure the Edwar we witnessed last night was the Edwar the Angels released. Twice.
  • Games like this happen to every team, there’s nothing you can do about it. The part that frustrates me more than anything is that the Yanks lost a game in which they scored 5 runs off Kelvim Escobar.
  • For cryin’ out loud, did Torre have to use Vizcaino? Here’s how I imagine the dialogue when Vizcaino broke the news to Torre that his arm wasn’t right:

    Viz: Joe, my arm’s sore, I could really use a break. I feel terrible for not being able to help my team right now, but I realize it’s better for our playoff push if I get a little rest and finish up strong.

    Joe: Okay Scotty, if you need a day you get a day. Thanks for being honest.

    Viz: I’m Luis, Scott was traded a month ago.

    Joe: Sorry Tanyon. We’ve got a big series coming up against the California Angels, so get yourself ready.

    Viz: …?

    The score was what, 18-8? Throw a damn position player in there for a friggin’ inning. Andy Phillips pitched a little in college, why not let him give it shot? You know Shelley would be down, what about him? Ridiculous.

  • Forget calling up IPK, it’s not gonna happen. He’s thrown 140.2 innings this year after throwing about 135 last year betweem USC, SI & Hawaii. He’s certainly deserving of a shot, but they won’t let his inning total go up much more, especially in a pennant race. That’s not how they roll.
  • Ugly night all around, hopefully all of you on the Right Coast got some sleep. Should have a decent shot at a win tonight, with Andy going and Joba available for 2.

FYI, some dude in the minors struck out 11 straight batters last night. He had 64 K in 109.1 IP in college this season.

Thoughts on Phil Hughes

My thoughts after seeing the kid in action:

  • Curve just wasn’t cooperating, fastball command came and went, changeup was good but not thrown enough. I don’t want to make excuses for him, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say he was a tad nervous pitching in front of friends & family.
  • Way to many first pitch curveballs early in the game. Dunno what that was all about, but I’m guessin’ it had to do with Jorge’s gameplan.
  • The stadium gun had Hughes sitting at 88-90 with his fastball, with two or three 91’s mixed in. The same gun had Dustin Moseley at 92-94 with one 96 (!). I have a hard time believing any of that.
  • Kid’s got a great delivery, I’m a big fan of a pitcher being able to repeat his motion, and Hughes does it extremely well.
  • Love the way he pitched Vlad, hard in on the hands. Not many young pitchers would be up to that. (FYI – all those years on the turf in Montreal must have destroyed Vlad’s knees and ankles, he’s barely mobile & will be a full-time DH by 2009 the latest)
  • The scoreboard said that Mathis was hitting .200 on the year when he ripped that double in second. I saw the ball head for the corner and muttered 3 words to myself: fuck the heck.
  • The second inning was kinda ugly, but he was pretty dominant from the 3rd through 5th, blowing a few guys away on those supposed 88 mph heaters.
  • I can’t help but laugh everytime he starts wearing down after his 80th pitch. Pitch counts, turning great arms into 5 inning pitchers since 1985!
  • His line on the year: 32.2 IP, 28 H, 14 BB, 30 K, 373 pitches/243 strikes (65.1%). Just needs to cut down on those walks a bit, and improve his pitch efficiency.
  • Phil owes me $295 for the speeding ticket I got on the way to see him pitch.

With any luck, I’ll have a similar post for Joba tomorrow.