Another day, another come-from-behind win.
Behind seven strong innings from Joba Chamberlain, the Yanks overcame an early but small one-run deficit to down the A’s 8-3. For the AL East-leading Bombers, it marked the team’s eighth straight victory. With Boston edging the hapless Orioles and the Rays rebounding from Mark Buerhle’s perfect game, the AL East playoff picture remains the same. The Yanks will keep on nursing that 2.5 game lead.
Heading into Friday’s affair, a win was no sure thing. Bret Anderson hadn’t allowed a run in three straight starts, stopping the Rays, Red Sox, and Angels during that stretch. In the first inning, the Yanks fell behind 1-0 on a double, a stolen base and a sacrifice fly. After Anderson struck out Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon, and Mark Teixeira with well-placed fastball and some nasty breaking pitches, that one run seemed to be more than enough.
But, just as they did against Vinny Mazzaro on Thursday, the Yanks caught up with the crafty lefty after a few trips to the plate. In the third, they plated two to take a lead they would not relinquish. Robinson Cano singled, and after a Nick Swisher pop up, Melky Cabrera lined a double down the left-field line. Derek Jeter hit a patented opposite-field single, and Johnny Damon drove in the second run with a fielder’s choice. Had someone covered first base, it would have been a double play. Instead, the ball hit Damon’s thigh, and the Yanks scored.
Meanwhile, Joba settled down, and he settled in. After the first inning, he was nearly untouchable, and he dazzled the A’s. He would allow one hit through his final six frames. In the fifth, he ran into some self-generated trouble and showed the old Joba emotion. After two walks and a wild pitch, the A’s found themselves with one one and the tying run on second. But Joba struck old Mark Ellis and Eric Patterson. He unleashed a roar and a fist pump for the ages.
After this spot of trouble, the Yanks’ bats took over. They plated a few on some outs in the fifth and sixth. In the eighth, aided by an Oakland miscue and a Jorge Posada home run, the Yanks blew it wide open in the 8th. They scored four runs, and even a David Robertson meltdown in the 9th couldn’t bring the A’s any closer than 8-3.
Game, set, match. Joba goes seven-plus innings, surrendering one run on two hits. He walks three and strikes out six for his sixth win of the year. His ERA is at an impressive 3.86, and the Yanks are rolling. Eight in a row. And that’s a wrap.
Rookie Pitcher Update: With this victory, the Yankees are now 19-7 against rookie pitchers. That’s the best mark in the majors. For what it’s worth, this is the second time they’ve faced Anderson this year, and the second time they’ve beaten him.
Chase Weems was placed on the temporary inactive list. That just means he’ll be out briefly, so maybe he’s got a wedding to go to or something, and since he’s a catcher they needed to add someone to the roster.
Game 1 (8-7 loss to Toledo in 9 innings)
Kevin Russo & Juan Miranda: both 3 for 5 – Russo drew a walk … Miranda doubled twice, drove in a run & scored another
Ramiro Pena & Austin Jackson: both 0 for 5 – Pena stole a base & scored a run while playing CF … Jackson K’ed thrice
Shelley Duncan: 4 for 4, 4 R, 1 2B, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB – SHELLEY SMASH
Frankie Cervelli & Colin Curtis: both 1 for 5, 1 K – Cervelli doubled, drove in a run, scored another & committed a throwing error
Yurendell DeCaster: 2 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 HBP
Ivan Nova: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 4 BB, 7 K, 1 WP, 2 HB, 5-0 GB/FB – 55 of 95 pitches were strikes (57.9%) … second straight clunker, maybe he’s got a little dead arm thing going on
Kevin Whelan: 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K – 6 of 12 pitches were strikes
Jon Albaladejo: 2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 6-0 GB/FB – 15 of 28 pitches were strikes (53.6%)
Edwar Ramirez: 2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1-3 GB/FB – 26 of 40 pitches were strikes (65%)
Joba can’t handle the 8th!!!
The A’s won’t have the services of Matt Holliday for the rest of the series because he was traded to the Cardinals earlier today, but they will be trotting Brett Anderson out to the mound tonight. He’s got a 1.15 ERA and a .402 OPS against in his last five starts, and those numbers are even more ridiculous (0.00 & .269) in his last three start. The young lefty, once the headliner in a package for Dan Haren, will make the Yanks earn it tonight if they plan on running the winning streak up to eight. Hope Joba’s up for it.
And on the mound, Jobber Chamberlain.
Update (6:32 p.m. by Ben): While earlier today we reported that Chien-Ming Wang‘s tests would be shown to Dr. James Andrews for a third opinion, now it sounds as though the Yanks’ once and former ace will make the trip to Alabama himself. Wang could be seeing Andrews as early as Monday, and I can’t expect the Yanks to receive any good news. Maybe we’re better off hearing about Wang’s damaged shoulder. It would be explain his incredible ineffectiveness this year.
While we generally shy away from posting the endless speculation about potential trade requests, this one is too good to pass up. According to Jon Heyman via Twitter, the Yankees asked the Indians about Cliff Lee, and Cleveland expressed its desire for Phil Hughes or Joba Chamberlain and more. As Chris at iYankees said, a trade involving either of those two would defeat the purpose of acquiring a replacement for Chien-Ming Wang. That Mark Shapiro, he’s quite the joker. · (40) ·
Over at YESNetwork.com today, friend-of-RAB Jonah Keri checks in with the nine deadline deals he feels need to happen. The major highlights include Cliff Lee to Tampa, Victor Martinez to the Red Sox and Roy Halladay to the Rangers, but the Yankees make the list as well.
Keri believes, as do we, that the Yanks should do their best to acquire current Diamondbacks reliever Chad Qualls. The 30-year-old right-hander has thrown 39.2 innings over 38 appearances this year, and his peripherals — 33 strike outs to just five walks — are impressive. His 2.58 ground out-to-air out ratio make him, in the words of Buster Olney, a perfect fit for new Yankee Stadium. Anyway, this is Keri’s take:
Sure, Halladay or Cliff Lee would be a sexier move. But Qualls would give the Yankees an excellent strikeout-and-groundball machine who can provide a bridge to Mariano Rivera in the eighth inning (and hopefully serve as a stopper in earlier innings, if Joe Girardi will stop being so hung up on roles). But what’s this, you say, Phil Hughes is already a lights-out set-up man? Too true. But Hughes offers more value if he can settle in as a strikeout-throwing starting pitcher to replace DL’d Chien-Ming Wang and complement CC Sabathia and company.
The Yankees wisely have Hughes — like Joba Chamberlain — ticketed for the rotation long-term, knowing it’s much harder to find effective starters than useful relievers. Qualls would ensure the Yankees don’t have to ship out elite prospects like Jesus Montero to upgrade the big-league roster, while also giving Hughes a chance to stretch into a five- or six-inning starter now, and a potential rotation star later.
Needless to say, the Yankees aren’t going to shipping out Jesus Montero for anything short of the second coming of Whitey Ford right now, but Keri’s analysis is still spot on. Qualls would be a perfect addition to the Yankee pen, and his presence would give them some much-needed flexibility as their pitching depth has suddenly dissipated. We’ll have to see what Brian Cashman can do.
The rumors had been circulating for a few hours, and now it finally seems official: Matt Holliday is going to the Cardinals for third baseman Brett Wallace, outfielder Shane Peterson and right-handed pitcher Clayton Mortensen. The Cardinals will also receive $1.5 million from the A’s. So how does this relate to the Yankees? Simple: The Bombers won’t have to face a recently hot Matt Holliday — .330/.402/.536 over his last 26 games — in the remaining contests they have against the A’s this weekend, and that sounds good to me. · (86) ·
Brian Cashman made one thing clear during his pregame talk yesterday: There is a plan in place for Joba Chamberlain. What exactly that plan entails he wouldn’t say. And why would he? The team’s plans for the 23-year-old righty haven’t changed since Spring Training, and they will not change based on the highs and lows an inexperienced pitcher will inevitably face.
There’s been no shortage of speculation on what the team will do with Joba, now at 95.2 innings, once he nears his limit. Yet no one knows exactly what the Yankees will do. That’s fine. He’ll start until he reaches some predetermined point, and the Yankees will do what they planned to do with him. That won’t stop us from speculating, though.
Before commenting on what they could do, let’s take a look at what Cashman actually said. This comes right from PeteAbe’s pregame audio. Thanks to the sound quality I had to listen three or four times for accuracy. Also, because it sounded like Cashman actually divulged some information.
When asked if the plan is to have Joba in the rotation through the end of the season, Cashman responded “Yes.” He then added, “Well, it depends on how he gets used.” Well, if he’s a starter he’s only going to get used one way. More importantly, when asked if there’s a chance Joba would be shut down at any point, Cashman said no.
From this, I can only infer that Cash misheard the question as, “Will Joba be pitching for the rest of the season?” since he added the “how he gets used” part. Since he won’t be shut down, I can only imagine this means that he’ll return to the bullpen when he hits a certain milestone. While I know some are against this plan and would rather see Joba hit his limit and then shut it down, I have no problem with this plan.
Young pitchers can learn a lot by pitching out of the bullpen. Phil Hughes is a prime example. He struggled as a starter, though we saw flashes of brilliance. Now that he’s in the bullpen he’s attacking hitters and letting loose with his fastball. The hope is that when he returns to the starting rotation, whether that be later this year or in 2010, he takes those lessons with him.
Same with Joba. He clearly has plenty to work on. At times he looks brilliant, and at times he looks lost. He’s learning plenty in the rotation, but it’s best for him to stay with the team throughout the season, work through a whole 162-game schedule, and continue learning his lessons in the bullpen.
What happens to Joba’s rotation spot once he moves to the bullpen? For all we know, the Yankees could acquire a starter between now and then, but I think Phil Hughes is as obvious an answer as any. Once Joba’s nearing the end of the starter portion of his season, Hughes could shadow him, stretching himself out. Hopefully it would take only two starts (because it’s really a waste of a roster spot), and then the transition is complete. Joba is in the pen, Hughes is in the rotation.
This isn’t necessarily what the Yankees will do, but based on Cashman’s comments yesterday, it sounds like a strong possibility. It would also make sense. The Yankees have two young pitchers whose innings need managing. The Hughes-Joba swap seems to work for both parties.
While the Yanks behind ace CC Sabathia were busy dispatching the A’s, the Front Office had to face some bad news concerning Chien-Ming Wang. After receiving a second opinion from Dr. David Altchek on Wang’s shoulder, the team will consult with Dr. James Andrews as well. Wang himself fears the worst.
Bryan Hoch summarized the bad news late last night:
Chien-Ming Wang is concerned that his 2009 season may be over, having sought a second opinion as he continues to feel discomfort in his right shoulder, and now Dr. James Andrews will get his chance to take a look.
Wang visited on Wednesday with Dr. David Altchek at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York after suffering a setback earlier in the week while playing catch, and Yankees general manager Brian Cashman met with team physician Dr. Chris Ahmad on Thursday to discuss Wang’s situation.
After reviewing Altchek’s findings, the Yankees are next set to confer with Andrews before discussing Wang’s status further. But at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, the 29-year-old Wang said that he is worried that surgery may be necessary. “I don’t know,” Wang said. “The shoulder, the day I played catch, it still feels the same.”
It is worth noting that both Brian Bruney and Damaso Marte have consulted with Dr. Andrews, and neither needed surgery. Wang, however, does not sound like a man confident in his 2009 pitching future, and we all saw this coming.
As Wang struggled early this year after a decent Spring Training, the Yanks tried to blame weak legs and a weak core for Wang’s struggles. Our pitch f/x analysis however — here and here — told a different story. Wang wasn’t releasing the ball where he should have been. When he was a dominant pitcher in 2007, his release point was lower and closer to his body. This year, it was up high and further away. Something was wrong.
Now the Yankees know what it is and the extent of the damage, and soon enough, the rest of us will too. At this point, the Yankees aren’t expecting anything from Wang this year, but they have a larger problem on their hands. With Wang out, Joba nearing his innings and Phil Hughes firmly ensconced in the bullpen, their once-vaunted pitching depth has withered its way down to Sergio Mitre and — I shudder to type it — Kei Igawa.
The Yankees will soon have to get creative, and they will have to acquire a pitcher for the rest of 2009 and into 2010. If Wang’s shoulder is truly as damaged as it sounds, he could be facing surgery and a 10- or 12-month rehab stint. With the trade deadline seven days away, Brian Cashman is probably already on the phone, hunting for that arm the Yanks now need.