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Even Steven
2008-04-11 05:29
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

The Yankees got a solid effort from Andy Pettitte, the usual from Joba and Mo and some pop from 'lil Melky as they avoided being swept in Kansas City and now head into Boston with a 5-5 record (the Sox are 5-5 as well). Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada added back-to-back solo dingers in the ninth against Hideo Nomo (Rodriguez passed Mickey Mantle on the all-time RBI list, and with 521 home runs, is just one shy of Ted Williams. Rodriguez is just 32 years-old). Final Score: Yanks 6, Royals 1.

Chamberlain replaced Pettitte with one out in the seventh. He got out of inning unscathed but allowed two singles in the eighth (the Yankee lead was just 4-1 at the time). Jose Guillen, the potential tying run, struck out to end the inning. The last two pitches he saw were, in a word, unfair. First, he waved at a nasty, biting slider, and then Joba blew a fastball by him. It was right over the plate and came in at 99 mph according to the YES radar. Joba trudged off the mound. No arm swinging, no yelling. Just very tough.

Comments
2008-04-11 05:57:04
1.   Shaun P
Have to ask - did Joba throw any curves last night? Or just fastballs and sliders?
2008-04-11 06:02:57
2.   3rd gen yankee fan
Wouldn't that be beautiful, for Alex to pass Ted Williams at Fenway? mmmmm rivalry.
2008-04-11 06:21:22
3.   RIYank
1 Looks like he threw one curve, to Teahen. 79mph, called strike. You can look on Gameday -- not every pitch is identified, but most of them are.

So Mike Lowell is on the DL, sprained thumb. What are the pitching match-ups? Wang vs. Buchholz first, then is it Beckett against Moose? And then Dice-K vs. IPK?

2008-04-11 06:29:08
4.   Rob Middletown CT
I think he threw 2-3 curves. Certainly Teahan's basehit was on a curve (bit of a hanger). The unfair slider to Guillen looked like a curve to me until I saw the gun reading (86, IIRC). It broke straight down, no lateral movement at all. It was sick, whatever it was.

3 Right, except it's DiceK v. Hughes, not IPK (as far as I know). I suppose it could be IPK if Joe wants it that way, since he only threw 3 innings last time out.

2008-04-11 06:36:26
5.   horace-clarke-era
1 There were curves, one was drop-dead gorgeous. The fastballs were 97-98, a little too straight for true comfort, but if he can deal the slider and curve with confidence and get up to high 90s with the heat, that matters less. He was helped out by a guess hitter (Guillen) chasing way out of the zone but that was partly caused by fear of fastball.

The wind helped Melky's and (somewhat) A Rod's homers, I thought, but Jorge's was a very encouraging no-doubter.

I remain perplexed about Betemit's role if we call up and start a defensive ss. Is he or is he ain't the utility IF?

2008-04-11 06:38:57
6.   Chyll Will
OT; woke up and put on Bronx 12 for some reason (background filler) and scored an addendum to your Sucker M.C. post, B:

http://tinyurl.com/6jybyq

2008-04-11 06:46:14
7.   Sliced Bread
I was exhausted last night. The previous nights' losses wore me down. After Joba did his thing (I missed his curveball if he threw one) I turned off the TV and went to catch the last inning on The Lumpy & Chuckles Show on the clock radio.
I dozed off quickly, but was awoken by Sterling bellowing his "A-bomb for A-Rod!" call.
I smiled, and started to doze off again when next thing I know, Posada has jacked one. I said these exact words in my head, knowing Sterling would utter them a split-second later: "Jorgie juiced one!"
Of course, Sterling obliged, and added, "back-to-back, and belly-to-belly!" as I was absolutely positive he would.
I smiled again, clicked off the clock radio, checked the alarm one last time, dozed off a happy camper.
Even in yer sleep you can predict what Sterling will say.
2008-04-11 06:46:34
8.   Rob Middletown CT
5 It would appear that they've decided Betemit isn't a SS. I can't say they're wrong.

He's still the backup 1B (with Ensberg), 2 and 3B (theoretically with Ensberg), though.

I hope his struggles this April haven't buried him completely. He looked flat out awful, but I don't think that means that he IS flat out awful.

2008-04-11 06:56:12
9.   Alex Belth
Yeah, A Rod passing Teddy Ballgame up at Fenway Park would be sweet.
2008-04-11 07:00:59
10.   Sliced Bread
make it three jacks this weekend, A-Rod, fer good measure.
2008-04-11 07:04:36
11.   RIYank
4 It looks to me like the ball Teahen hit was a slider. It was 84mph, and the Pitch-FX was just 4". Curves are slower and the break is more. Check Gameday.
2008-04-11 07:26:14
12.   tommyl
11 Tough to call. Joba can throw a 90mph slider, so his curve might sit at 80-85 sometimes (which is sick). Whatever he was throwing last night, his breaking stuff was nasty. I love watching batters swing, not just at balls in the dirty, but have those swings start at belt level. That shows how completely fooled they were.

The idea of slotting in IPK ahead of Hughes isn't a bad one actually. Would help reduce Hughes' innings since IPK has the higher cap.

2008-04-11 07:31:22
13.   RIYank
12 In any case, I hope our batters are patient that day with Dice-K.

You know, I really wish that Sox would pull an Arroyo with Jon Lester, sign him for a hometown discount and then trade him. That would piss off the fans, and more important I could then root for Lester whole-heartedly, instead of rooting for him to lose 2-1.

2008-04-11 07:37:18
14.   Shaun P
3 4 5 Thank you all. The more I see Joba use his curve, the more hopeful I am that he really is going to start down the road. There is no sense in having a guy who can throw 3 quality pitches for strikes relieve, unless he can't stay healthy enough to start (i.e., Kerry Wood).

I'm also particularly pleased that Joba's last two outings have been longer than an inning, and I hope that trend continues.

2008-04-11 07:37:18
15.   dianagramr
13

I have Lester and Beckett on my fantasy team, so I guess I'm gonna have to root for two 2-1 Boston losses.

2008-04-11 07:42:04
16.   williamnyy23
15 Heresy!! :) I have a long standing policy of no Red Sox on my fantasy teams. Under no circumstances do I want to benefit by the Red Sox success.
2008-04-11 07:45:58
17.   dianagramr
15

I also drafted (and have subsequently dropped) Pedroia and Ellsbury. :-)

2008-04-11 07:55:28
18.   Dimelo
2 I just hope ARod doesn't suffer any Hawk attacks at Fenway again.
2008-04-11 07:58:41
19.   tommyl
13 Yeah, its hard not to root for Lester. Seems like a nice kid, fights off cancer to realize his dream of pitching in the big leagues. Damnit, someone tell me he stole a bunch of computers or something so I can go back to hating every Red Sox.
2008-04-11 08:02:31
20.   Shaun P
15 You could always sit both of them. =)
2008-04-11 08:10:44
21.   horace-clarke-era
16 Made me grin. My roto partner and I adamantly slot BoSox DOWN on our fantasy draft lists and have essentially been Boston-free for three years. A trade or two can help. This is NOT smart fantasy ball, of course, but priorities are priorities.

On the other hand I have vivid knowledge of watching the Yanks against a fantasy pitcher of ours and hoping for that 2-1 win. Fantasy can SO mess you up: there I was last night, happy for the two homers, but in part as Mo would NOT get a save for a rival team in our league. Ack.

It is worth noting (unless someone did it in the monster in-game threads which I'm not ready for, in April!) that the Yankees have a killer schedule on the road for a cold month. 18 of 20, overall. I say this because if we manage to be a few games above .500 that is just fine and I would be okay with .500 myself.

2008-04-11 08:17:50
22.   williamnyy23
21 I get around the conflict by doing an NL-only league. Still, I wind up doing at least one mixed league, so I make it a point to never start a pitcher against the Yankees. Because game-by-game hitting stats make up such a small portion of the total, I've never felt compelled to pull for an opposing batter outside of blowout situations. It's a bit of a handicap, but one thing I wont do is over-draft Yankees, so that mitigates some of the bias.
2008-04-11 08:25:43
23.   Rob Middletown CT
11

It looked like a curveball to me, in real time. Maybe it wasn't. One thing I've noticed, though, is that his curve doesn't have tremendous break most of the time. It's not a jaw-dropping pitch... it's his 3rd-best. It's solid, rather than spectacular. The pitch Teahan hit, whatever it was, was a hanger. So take a decent MLB curveball, hang it, and maybe you get 4" break.

2008-04-11 08:36:39
24.   williamnyy23
23 The first curve to Teahan dropped my jaw a little bit. The problem with the second alleged curve was it wasn't nearly as good as the first one, and we all know Jim Kaat's theory on doubling up with breaking stuff.
2008-04-11 08:40:33
25.   RIYank
23 24 I can't really tell the difference between a curve and a slider, unless it's a really big slow curve or a very fast slider. And Gameday does not, of course, detect the grip or wrist motion, just the trajectory of the ball, so a fast curve that doesn't break a lot is indistinguishable from a slowish slider.

Hm. I might do a little research on the trajectories.

2008-04-11 08:47:22
26.   williamnyy23
25 I thought it was a curve because Joba's slider is usually thrown harder and isn't started as high in the zone. My immediate reaction was he went to the curve once too often, but it probably could have been a slower slider.
2008-04-11 08:48:51
27.   tommyl
25 The only real way to tell would be to detect the spin coming out of the hand. The two pitches spin very differently. A slider is released similar to a fastball, but with a bit less of a wrist snap (at least that's how I throw it). The idea is to get it to corkscrew out of your hand on release. I throw a cutter too, which has the fingers spread a bit more and more of a wrist snap (hence, more speed, less movement).

The curve on the other hand is another beast entirely. You spin the ball with your wrist/forearm motion by actually rotating your hand (hard to describe in words, easy to see). The spin coming out of the hand is different from a slider.

Trajectories of course can vary greatly from pitcher to pitcher, or even pitch to pitch by varying these elements. I'm willing to bet that Mo's cutter moves a hell of a lot more than any slider (or probably even curveball) that I could ever throw. Trajectories won't help you because so much depends on arm angles and wrist motion at release, I would think. But I'm happy to be proved wrong.

2008-04-11 09:03:59
28.   RIYank
27 Yeah, that would be the only definitive way to tell.

I remember last year seeing an amazing collection of pitch location charts, I think they were developed by Josh Kalk from Pitch f/X data, but now all I can find is his web tool that lets you look at the location of pitches as they cross the plate. Interesting, but not useful here -- and in any case he only has four curves from Joba's entire MLB career. (None of them hit into play or even swung at -- two balls and two called strikes.)

2008-04-11 09:21:20
29.   rilkefan
24 - remind me about Kaat's theory?
2008-04-11 09:59:28
30.   Rob Middletown CT
29 I think it's that by doubling up on breaking pitches, you speed up a guy's bat (I think this theory was originally mentioned re: Farnsworth)?

...

Joba's slider has both vertical and horizontal movement and is typically thrown in the high 80s. He usually starts it mid-to-low in the zone and it falls out.

So when I saw a slower pitch, thrown up in the zone, break down and not at all to the side, I thought "curveball."

For the most part, I thought sliders were primarily horizontal breaking pitches and curves were primarily vertical breaking pitches. That's how I classify them. Joba's slider is a slurve in my book, 'cause it has both, and the downward break is significant.

24 He did throw one curveball (perhaps the one you mention) that made me grin. If he can repeat that, oh boy. So far, however, that's the best one I've seen him throw, so for now I'm considering that his best curveball, not his usual curveball.

2008-04-11 10:08:11
31.   williamnyy23
29 Kaat's theory was that if you were going to throw successive breaking pitches, each one had better be better than the previous.
2008-04-11 10:13:40
32.   Bagel Boy
8 Hopefully they haven't also decided they need someone like Gonzo or Green.

14 I'm also very pleased with the 1 IP+ philosophy for Joba, especially in the middle of an inning. Hopefully, by June, it's 3 IP+. Instead of thinking of a transition to starter, I'd be mighty please to see him get 6-7 IP across two games each week. It will have meant he came into meaningful games, and in support of decent starts. My math says 6 innings X 24 weeks = 144 innings.

2008-04-11 10:41:29
33.   Knuckles
From a BP article on the 2005 draft:

C.J. Henry, Yankees (No. 17 overall, $1.575M bonus)
Henry is just about ready for somebody to stick a fork in him. He never produced with the Yankees, and after going to Philadelphia in the Bobby Abreu deal, he hit just .184/.238/.322 last year at Low-A Lakewood and requested his release. The Yankees are giving him another shot this year, but the player who could have been playing basketball with the national champion Kansas Jayhawks had he not tried baseball is expected to give hoops another shot next year, joining his brother Xavier, who is generally seen as one of the top players in the country.

Nice little deal for the Yanks this turned out to be. Maybe Big Stein can make it continue to pay dividends by enticing him to go to Ohio State instead of Xavier.

2008-04-11 10:45:20
34.   dianagramr
32

You want Joba to become the reincarnate of 1986 Mark Eichhorn ... ? Interesting!

http://www.baseball-reference.com/e/eichhma01.shtml

2008-04-11 10:52:49
35.   Bagel Boy
34 Nice! Can't say I remember him, though. Did he have trouble staying healthy? If so, that becomes an argument against, but still, you play it carefully and just monitor how he feels. Still, if he can't consistently do 3 innings in the pen, who says he can do 6 in a start?

But, yeah, that's exactly what I'm thinking. And if they play it right, there's no reason to continue to have Joba and Mo pitch the same games either, especially if they work Joba up to 3 inning appearances.

2008-04-11 10:59:24
36.   dianagramr
35

I had trouble coming up with the name, but I did remember the team and approximate year. :-)

Judging from his later stat lines, it seems those two 100+ IP years DID take a toll on him, at least in terms of performance.

However, for THIS 2008 Yankee team, the best way to leverage Joba is to use him as the 1+ IP set-up man, lest we leave those duties to the likes of Farnsworthless.

If the Yanks had a Nelson/Stanton setup situation like they did a few years ago, then by all means get Joba in the rotation.

2008-04-11 11:02:23
37.   yankeemonkey
36 "If the Yanks had a Nelson/Stanton setup situation like they did a few years ago, then by all means get Joba in the rotation. "

If Bruney and Traber continue what they've done so far, we just might...

2008-04-11 11:22:45
38.   Bagel Boy
The problem with Joba in the rotation this year is where do they put him and who goes?

Moose? Would they bump him to the bullpen again? Why? Sure they could cut him, but he'd have to be really bad for that. And they wouldn't try to trade him unless they were cutting him any ways.

IPK or Hughes? Neither are bullpen arms, and would they really send them down? I suppose, again, if they're bad enough. But you'd think that would be in May or June, and that's not when Joba will be "ready". So send them down only to bring up Igawa? That seems very unlikely.

Really, the only scenario that I could see is that an injury in July or August opens up a slot for Joba. But that injury would have to be season-ending for that pitcher, or else they'd have to deal with Joba going back to the bullpen.

Honestly, the simplest thing seems to be keeping Joba in the bullpen and smartly stretching him out this year. Shoot, if he's regularly pitching 3 innings in July, they could even have him throw a few spot starts - either filling in or when later season double-headers muck up the rotation (6 games in 5 days). If all goes well, this time next year, Moose is gone and Joba got 150 innings.

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