Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Take It To The Limit
2008-06-03 20:27
by Cliff Corcoran

As expected, Joba Chamberlain, was effective, but innefficient in his first major league start. So much so that his "start" actually worked out to be something of an early relief appearance setting up the game's actual non-starting starting pitcher, Dan Geise.

Beginning his outing with nothing but fastballs, Chamberlain got ahead of Toronto's leadoff hitter Shannon Stewart 1-2, then pinpointed a 99-mile-per-hour fastball up the upper outside corner. Stewart was nearly beat by the pitch, but managed to tip it into catcher Jose Molina's glove, knocking off his batting helmet in his follow through. The pitch hit the webbing of Molina's glove with such force that it sprung out, extending the at-bat. Chamberlain then switched to his slider for ball two and another foul, then missed high twice with 96-mile-per-hour heaters, walking Stewart on eight pitches in an at-bat that would set the tone for his brief outing.

It took Chamberlain six pitches (four of them fastballs) to strike out Marco Scutaro on a slider. Then, with Alex Rios at the plate, Chamberlain threw to first and was called for a balk that sent Stewart to second.

Joba got ahead of Rios 1-2, starting the at-bat off with a nice 76-mile-per-hour curve that dropped into the zone for a called strike, but the second strike, a 93-mile-per-hour heater tailing down and in that Rios swung through, squirted by Molina and sent Stewart to third. With Stewart on second, Molina didn't give a clear target for the pitch, so it's unclear where he was expecting it. John Flaherty has said in YES broadcasts this year that catchers should anticipate having to block breaking pitches, but you can't expect them to anticipate a fastball in the dirt. The thing is, this pitch wasn't in the dirt. It hit Molina's glove just below knee-high, but Molina didn't move his body an inch to attempt a block, instead he rather sleepily snatched at it only to have it tip off his glove and roll to the backstop.

Chamberlain again pinpointed a 98-mile-per-hour heater on the upper outside corner and got Rios to ground out to second, but what should have been an inning-ending double play ball was instead an RBI groundout due to the balk and the passed ball.

At this point, Chamberlain had thrown 18 pitches, right around his inning average this season. He then got ahead of Scott Rolen 1-2 on a pair of fastballs and a slider that Rolen missed by about three feet. His next pitch was another fastball on the outside corner and it produced another groundball to the right side, but this one was perfectly placed between Robinson Cano and Jason Giambi and scooted through the infield for the only hit Chamberlain would allow on the night.

Now at 22 pitches, Chamberlain was in danger of blowing a huge chunk of his allotted 65 pitches. In retrospect, the pitch count came back to haunt Chamberlain, not just because his inefficiency was exacerbated by bad luck, but because the Blue Jays clearly came into the game with the strategy of taking pitches and forcing Chamberlain out of the game early, a strategy which worked perfectly.

With two out and one on, Matt Stairs took four borderline fastballs to get to 3-1, fouled off a fifth, then took his base when Chamberlain's second curve of the night missed high. Lyle Overbay followed by watching six pitches go by-- the first four fastballs, the last two sliders--to walk and load the bases. At that point Chamberlain was up to 34 pitches and the Blue Jays had only swung at one of his last 12 offerings.

With the bases juiced, Rod Barajas took two more pitches, but both were sliders for strikes. Barajas then fouled off a slider away and swung through a 98-mile-per-hour fastball that Molina managed to hang on to for the third out.

One inning. Three walks. Two strikeouts. Thirty-eight pitches, 58 percent of his allotted total for the night.

Fortunately, the Yankees had a nice long inning in the bottom of the first to give Chamberlain a breather. Johnny Damon led off with a triple off Roy Halladay, but found himself still standing at third after Derek Jeter ground out to Rolen and Bobby Abreu struck out. Halladay then got ahead of Alex Rodriguez 1-2 only to have his next pitch slip out of his hand and plunk Rodriguez on the elbow pad. Hideki Matsui then singled Damon home on Halladay's next pitch, and two tosses later, Jason Giambi shot a groundball single through empty left side of the infield to plate Rodriguez from second base.

Handed a 2-0 lead against a pitcher who had allowed just two runs total in his last 23 innings pitched, Chamberlain responded with a 1-2-3 top of the second, but used up another 16 pitches in the process pushing his total up to 54. All but two of Joba's second-inning pitches were fastballs. The other two were sliders called balls against Brad Wilkerson in the first at-bat of the inning. The Blue Jays swung at five of Chamberlain's 16 offerings in the second. Three of those swings were by David Eckstein, who struck out waiving at a 98-mile-per hour heater.

After the Yankees stranded a two-out double by Damon in the bottom of the second, Chamberlain came back out for the third and got Marco Scutaro to hit a deep fly to right where Bobby Abreu made a leaping catch at the wall for the first out. Joba then walked Alex Rios on four pitches, the last of which was his 62nd of the night. That put Chamberlain close enough to his limit for Joe Girardi to come and get him. Repeating the pattern of the second inning, all but one of Chamberlains' eight pitches in the third were fastballs (the other was a slider for a ball to Rios) and Scutaro's out came on the only swing offered by either hitter.

In all, it wasn't a particularly encouraging outing for Chamberlain, but, as I said in my preview, this is just another step on Joba's journey from relieving back to starting. He'll start again on Sunday and try to get his pitch total up in the 75-to-80 range. Soon he'll be able to stretch out just like any other starter, and the opposing offenses won't be able to exploit his pitch limits by taking an inordinate percentage of pitches.

Last night, the last eight hitters Joba faced saw a total of 40 pitches and swung at nine of them, five of those swings coming from the last two hitters in the order, Rod Barajas and David Eckstein, both of whom struck out. On the night, Joba only threw 52 percent of his pitches for strikes and lasted just 2 1/3 innnigs. Given all of that, taking pitches against Joba looks like an excellent strategy, but it's worth remembering that Chamberlain only allowed one hit, a groundball single, left the game with a 2-1 lead against Roy Halladay, and would have left the game up 2-0 if not for a balk and a passed ball.

As expected, Dan Giese made his Yankee debut by following Chamberlain into the game (though it took him a moment to find the exit from the bullpen), entering with one out in the third inning and Alex Rios on first base. Rios broke for second on Giese's first pitch and Jose Molina, having an awful day behind the plate, overthrew Robinson Cano at second base to send Rios to third, thus allowing him to score on Scott Rolen's subsequent groundout, charging Joba with a second run and tying the game at 2-2.

The Blue Jays took the lead off Giese in the fourth when Barajas led off with a double, moved to third on a Wilkerson single, and scored on an Eckstein sac fly. Giese allowed only that one run in 3 2/3 innings, but also allowed six baserunners, uncharacteristically failed to strike out a batter, and needed Molina to catch Wilkerson stealing third following a one-out double in the sixth to avoid surrendering a second run.

Still, Giese did all of that while throwing only three more pitches than Chamberlain, and the tag-team of Chamberlain and Giese, a pairing I expect will be repeated on Sunday, combined to turn in a quality start: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 HR, 5 BB, 3 K. The walks were Joba's, the lack of Ks were Giese's. I expect both to improve next time out.

A quality start is designated as such because it usually gives the team that receives it a strong chance to win. Indeed, the Yankees entered the seventh inning trailing by a slim 3-2 score and having pushed Halladay to 102 pitches. Unfortunately, the remainder of the Yankee bullpen was unable to keep the Bombers in the ballgame. In relief of Giese, Jose Veras gave up singles to two of the first three batters he faced. With men on the corners, one out and the lefty Matt Stairs due up, Girardi called on his unconventional lefty-killer Edwar Ramirez, but for the first time all year, Ramirez had nothing. He walked stairs, then walked Overbay to force in a run. He then gave up a double to Barajs that plated two more. Disgusted, Girardi had Ramirez intentionally walk Wilkerson to set up the force for groundballer LaTroy Hawkins, but Hawkins picked up where he left off in Baltimore, giving up a two-run double to Eckstein, walking Shannon Stewart, then finally getting the second out of the inning on a sac fly that ran the score to 9-2. The Yankees got one of those runs back, but the game was lost by that point.

The game's 9-3 final unfairly undermines the progress Chamberlain is making toward his goal by leaving a foul taste in the mouth of fans and pundits who watched the game. Similarly, Geise was somewhat unfairly saddled with the loss, tainting his respectable debut, while Hawkins, who came back out for a scoreless eighth, actually lowered his ERA as none of the six runs scored in the seventh were charged to him. Had the game ended with the score 3-2, I imagine the reviews of both Chamberlain and Giese would be more positive than they're likely to be this morning. It thus bears repeating that the two combined to turn in a quality start and gave the Yankees a legitimate chance to beat Roy Halladay.

In other news, Jorge Posada threw out two runners in his extended spring training game yesterday and rejoins the team tonight. He'll be in the lineup no later than tomorrow. Here's hoping its either Hawkins or Veras, and not Chris Britton, who pitched a scoreless ninth last night striking out two, who is jettisoned to make room for him.

Speaking of roster moves, the Jason Lane situation has resolved it self with Lane choosing not to opt out and remaining in Scranton, so Shelley Duncan, who doubled after replacing Jason Giambi, who left the game after fouling a ball of his foot, can relax (then again, is Shelley Duncan capable of relaxing?).

Oh, and Derek Jeter tied Mickey Mantle with 2,415 career hits last night with a ninth-inning single. These milestones pop up a lot, and I don't usually bother to mention them, but the fact that Derek Jeter has as many hits as Mickey Mantle blows my mind.

Comments (84)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-06-04 02:09:09
1.   Mattpat11
My big worry is the clock struck 12 on Edwar
2008-06-04 03:23:53
2.   williamnyy23
With the current state of the Yankee bullpen, I think it is debatable that six inning and three runs gives the Yankees a good chance to win against anyone, not to mention a team with pitching like the Jays.

Of course, the current state of the Yankee pen is directly related to the decision to start Joba. Whether you are for or against the move, until Joba can go at least 6 innings on his own (and to a better ERA than the 4.50to which 3 runs translate), the decision to make the move is likely to be a short-term negative. Angry reaction from the fans and media is to be expected, but the real danger is what do the players in the clubhouse think? Derek Jeter was already snippy in dealing with a barrage of Joba questions and few "sources" have stated a few Yankee veterans are not happy with the move. If true, I guess I can't blame them. In many ways, moving Joba now is more for 2009 than 2008, and many of those vets wont be here then. Personally, the more I watch this team, the less I think it is anything more than an 83-85 win team, so I have accepted the beginning of what hopefully is a very quick rebuild.

2008-06-04 03:53:20
3.   Mattpat11
2 The Yankees bullpen is going to be a mess regardless until they find someone that can evaluate pitching. Might as well stretch Joba out.
2008-06-04 03:54:31
4.   monkeypants
2 I'm not sure I follow your logic entirely. It doesn't matter whether or not the good pitching (ie, Joba) comes at the beginning of the gam or the end. So, six innings of three run pitching gives the team the same chance to win whether it is the first six innings or the final six innings. Thus, it does not matter whether the starters or the BP provide those quality innings.

The question is not whether moving Joba to the rotation weakens the BP, or vice-versa for that matter. The question is whether the three or five or six innings he gives at the start of the game is more valuable than the one inning he gives at the end of the game (albeit more frequently).

Put another way: is five or six innings of Joba at 4.50 ERA better than Kei Igawa (or the like) starting? The answer is most certainly yes.

2008-06-04 03:58:26
5.   Mattpat11
4 Some natural disasters are better than Kei Igawa starting.
2008-06-04 04:02:07
6.   williamnyy23
4 It does matter. If Joba isn't going to give the Yankees length anytime soon, they are basically using him as a reliever, but before the starter, who in most cases will be an inferior pitcher. So, instead of protecting Wang, Pettitte and Mussina leads, as he would at the end of the game, Joba would effectively be coming into bullpen blowouts, only before they give it up.

If Joba is not going to give you at least six innings and pitch to amuch better ERA than 4.50, then no, I absolutely do not think the Yankees are better off in 2008 with him in the rotation. That's why this move could correctly be perceived as a move looking past the current season.

2008-06-04 04:04:14
7.   monkeypants
2 3 The BP will be a mess no mattter how good the pitchers are until they can find starters who go deeper into games. Pettitte and Wang are both averaging 6+ INN/start. Rasner has averaged almost exactly 6 INN/start, which helps if he can keep it up. Moose, however, is giving almost exactly 5 INN/start. Meanwhile, the combo of Hughes/Kennedy/Igawa averaged 4+ INN/start. No BP can withstand that sort of use.
2008-06-04 04:07:06
8.   williamnyy23
7 Exactly, but Joba on a pitch count is like a double whammy. You remove 5+ innings of quality innings from the pen, while adding a starter who may not be able to go 5 innings for at least 2 or 3 more outings.

I am not arguing with the move, but calling a spade a spade. Moving Joba to the pen is definitely a move favoring 2009 or 2008. If the vets, including Jeter don't like it, tough. They had two months to prove they were worthy of using a talent like Joba in relief and they didn't play well.

2008-06-04 04:10:58
9.   monkeypants
6 You're basically making the "Joba as releiver is used more often in higher leverage situations than as a starter" argument. This holds true, to a degree. But I still contend that 5 innings of a quality starter is going to be more valuable than one inning of a shut down eighth inning guy, because in reality the latter will be used in games where the team would win anyway, or he will occasionally blow leads (as Joba has done), or he will be used in a low leverage situation because he needs work, etc.

I'll admit that I do not have the numbers to "prove" it, but I am pretty confident that the more innings a good pitcher gives you, the better it is in the course of the season.

2008-06-04 04:12:31
10.   Mattpat11
7 Building a bullpen almost exclusively around men that put runners on base is a failed philosophy no matter how long the starters go.
2008-06-04 04:15:38
11.   monkeypants
8 I just don't see it as a move aimed more at 2009 than 2008, because from the start I have argued that Joba as a starter helps the team more now than keeping him in the pen. The only way Joba-in-the-pen helps the team more (now or in 2009) is if they had a very deep starting staff, which they never did given they started the season with two very young pitchers and Moose. You will recall that I had been calling for Joba to be transitioned to the rotation even sooner than mid-May, and before that I argued that he should have ben used as a quasi-starter (paired with Hughes and/or Kennnedy in a fixed rotation of longer relief appearances).
2008-06-04 04:23:03
12.   williamnyy23
9 I think your missing my point. I absolutely think Joba should be a starter. However, for him to be more valuable as a starter, he needs to pitch quality innings in that role. If it takes any length of time to get up to at least 6 innings, and if he pitches to a 4+ ERA in doing so, then Joba's quantity does not make up for his quality out of the pen.

11 Yes...Joba throwing 7IP and giving up 2 runs helps the team more in 2008, but how close are we to that now? When you combine what you subtract from the bullpen to how long it will take to realize returns in the rotation, 2008 looks like a net negative return.

Again, I have no problem with the move. I see nothing from this team to warrant using a weapon like Joba in the pen. I just think it doesn't make sense to suggest that this move has the 2008 in mind as a priority.

2008-06-04 04:28:23
13.   Mattpat11
I'm going to the game tonight. Hopefully there will be one.
2008-06-04 04:34:42
14.   williamnyy23
13 I don't know...I've become a big fan of rainouts lately.
2008-06-04 04:35:49
15.   monkeypants
12 "Yes...Joba throwing 7IP and giving up 2 runs helps the team more in 2008, but how close are we to that now?"

I reject that he has to throw 7 INN at 2 R to make the balance work out. I am pretty certain that 5 or 6 INN or 3 R is better for the team than 1 INN every two or three days. Look at his game logs from this year: simply put, he was not used in high leverage situations every time out, and he blew a couple of leads (hey, nobody is perfect).

IMO, he was being wasted in the BP and the primary reason he was there was because of innings limits, not the needs of the BP. He would have to be pretty bad as a starter not to help the team more this year than he would as an eighth inning guy.

We could, however, go around in circles on this, so I'm done now.

2008-06-04 04:41:15
16.   Mattpat11
14 Clearly you've forgotten that we have won of the winningest pitchers in baseball this year going tonight.
2008-06-04 04:42:36
17.   Yu-Hsing Chen
13 does your worry come from the weather or from the suckiness? ;)
2008-06-04 04:47:42
18.   Mattpat11
13 weather. i'm resigned to the suckiness
2008-06-04 04:56:36
19.   williamnyy23
15 Five innings and 3 runs is a 5.40 ERA. Jeff Karstens can do that. If that's all Joba can give you, then I think it would be crazy to move him from the pen. Then, when you factor in that the Yankees need 3 innings from the pen in such a start, the folly becomes greater. I guess we'll just have to disagree here.
2008-06-04 04:58:08
20.   williamnyy23
16 Yes, but at 7-1 (and a much better ERA), Jesse Litsch aint so bad himself. This could become a battle of the bullpens, which I think speaks for itself.
2008-06-04 05:27:41
21.   rbj
williamnyy23, I don't get your logic. You agree the Joba would be better as a starter (which I think we all can agree on). But until he can go 6-7 innings as a starter he should be a 1 inning pitcher (8th). Yet to get to that 6-7 innings he does need to get stretched out, by starting and going 3 then 4 then 5 innings. In his last relief effort the starter was going so well that Joba had to finish his scheduled pitches in the bullpen. I would rather have Joba get his work in by starting the game and then having Giese (funny that the Yankees most effective pitcer las night gets saddled with the loss) pick up most of the extra innings.

If the Yankees only effective relievers are going to be Mo & Joba, then I'm not sure the season's going to be successful anyhow. I'd rather work Joba into the rotation now and get his innings up for next year than keep him in the pen and have to baby him next year as a starter.

2008-06-04 05:29:39
22.   Mattpat11
Five innings and 3 runs is a 5.40 ERA. Jeff Karstens can do that.

Lets not say things we can't take back

2008-06-04 05:34:00
23.   williamnyy23
21 I am not sure why you can't follow my logic because I don't disagree with you. Yes, I think Joba should be a starter. Yes, I think it makes more sense to effect the transition at the start of the game. And, yes, I don't think this team is good enough to afford the luxury of having their second best pitching talent throw in the 8th inning.

My only point is that it is disingenuous to suggest that this move is not favoring 2009 over 2008, or more aptly, the future over the present. As a Yankee fan for life, I am ok with that, but I can understand veterans who are about to move on not being in love with the move.

2008-06-04 05:35:19
24.   williamnyy23
22 Well, in 57 IP, Karstens has an ERA of 5.65, so it's close.
2008-06-04 05:51:37
25.   ChrisS
1 True, but he gave up two walks and a hit, after 15 IP of outstanding relief, he didn't have it last night. I think it's unfair to burden him with outrageous expectations of being like Mo (or Hoffman, etc.) He's got minimal experience with ML hitters, but he's shown he has the tools to get them out. I'm still willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

As far as Joba goes, I was impressed with stuff, but he seemed to nibble and then get frustrated after not getting the call on some close pitches (especially after Molina dropped strike 3 on Stewart and Rolen's ground ball). He's gonna be good. Giese impressed me as well.

I wasn't expecting a magical playoff run with grizzled vets and fresh-faced rookies. Frankly, just about everything that could go wrong with the pitching staff has, with the exception of the immortal Rivera. And Cashman can't run this like a fantasy team, repeatedly dumping guys and picking up the flavor of the week for a quick tryout. It's gonna be a rough season, but they've got three young pitchers with talent, plus a bevy of promising young arms earning value who could be trade chips.

For example, Ramirez was a free pick-up from the independent leagues and my guess is that he's earned himself and Cashman at least some trade value that wasn't there before.

2008-06-04 05:54:12
26.   Mattpat11
25 There's a difference between dumping people on a whim and addition by subtraction and ridding the team of proven failures.
2008-06-04 06:05:06
27.   ChrisS
26 true, and that part wasn't really in response to your post. I've seen a lot of grumbling lately that Cashman should dump everyone in the bullpen but Mo and replace them with AAA arms, or trade for Fuentes, drop Melky and replace him with Gardner, bring up AG to play 2B, etc.
2008-06-04 06:15:50
28.   Shaun P
27 That sounds like how a fantasy baseball team is run, not a real one.

That said, I think Mr. Hawkins has earned his release, which sucks for him, but c'est la vie. I missed all but Giese's first two batters, so I have to ask - did a crappy strike zone have anything to do with Edwar missing so much?

2008-06-04 06:27:10
29.   Mattpat11
27 I argue that Cashman should have known coming into the season that this bullpen group was doomed to fail and be willing to mix and match with AAA arms.
2008-06-04 06:55:07
30.   RIYank
28 did a crappy strike zone have anything to do with Edwar missing so much?

No. He wasn't close. (You can check it out on Gameday.)

2008-06-04 07:02:26
31.   Cliff Corcoran
29 27 I can't quite figure out what you're arguing for or against, but in terms of employing relievers from triple-A, the pen currently includes Ohlendorf, Ramirez, Veras, Britton, and Giese, they just farmed out Scott Patterson, and before they got hurt they were giving important innings to Brian Bruney and Jonathan Albaladejo. Heck, even Billy Traber could count as a guy from triple-A seeing as he spent time there last year and is back there now, and before this conversion their primary set-up man was Joba, who, need I remind you, is a rookie. If there's one thing the Yankees can't be accused of, it's not giving their minor leaguers a chance in the pen. I'm sure we'll see Cox, Melancon, and maybe even Robertson and Steven White before the year's out, and I do believe that Hawkins will get the boot sooner or later.
2008-06-04 07:12:17
32.   horace-clarke-era
27 Funny line, but actually I agree with Cliff ... they ARE doing the AAA revolving door! Not sure what exactly Cash was/is supposed to do MORE. Maybe deal a real prospect for a good reliever, and I kind of expect that, myself, since we'll need a good arm going forward anyhow. Of course identifying good set-up men ain't easy and it is harder to pitch in NY than just about anywhere.

I was pessimistic as hell going into last night's game ... Joba for 3 and a kid vs Doc? Ouch. But in the end that didn't stop me from being really depressed ... even knowing (and predicting) we would lose a lot of games with the pen, and agreeing (as william says) that Joba has to transition, what stared me in the face last night was how iffy our starters also are, overall.

Andy is reliably mediocre now, Wang is somewhat better but not close to a match-up against aces elsewhere. Moose has given us more than anyone expected, way more, and Rasner the same ... but does anyone think this is a strong, reliable staff? We got slammed by PKH and IPK BOTH messing up (or being messed up by injury) and the season did turn on one (or both) being decent major leaguers this year. We can (and do) dump on the batters and the pen, but our offense will be all right, it is just hard to compete against really good pitching when you don't have it yourself. Big news!

2008-06-04 07:28:56
33.   Raf
3 When it comes to bullpen arms, there's no such thing.

7 The Yanks have an 8-man bullpen, one would hope they would be able to figure things out.

2008-06-04 07:51:26
34.   Shaun P
30 You know why I asked. Edwar was bound to have a bad outing at some point. No one is Mo (ie, perfect).
2008-06-04 07:52:24
35.   Schteeve
I'm looking forward to a lot of free time in early October for the first time in a long while.
2008-06-04 08:04:54
36.   Bob B
Too bad that Rivera was looking so great. I sense the pitching staff is on the verge of collapse. Hopefully, Mo gets a season rest and can pick up next year where he's leaving off this season.
2008-06-04 08:34:19
37.   tommyl
1 Why all the doom and gloom about Edwar? He's good, but no one is 0.56 ERA good (not even Mo). He was due for a crap outing at some point and last night was it. What irks me is that I'm sure he's once again moved below Farnsworth on the depth chart. Whereas Edwar is somewhat unproven and shows good upside, Kyle is bad, in a large enough sample now to conclude he's likely to stay bad.

If Britton is sent back down on Thursday I'm going to be really upest. Has he even given up a run or allowed an inherited runner to score yet?

I'm am also rapidly beginning to lose patience with Veras. He's had a few bad outings in a row.

2008-06-04 08:44:41
38.   Raf
25 Frankly, just about everything that could go wrong with the pitching staff has, with the exception of the immortal Rivera.

That has been the case every year since 2004.

2008-06-04 09:08:10
39.   pistolpete
Gotta give it to the Blue Jay hitters last night, though. They seemingly weren't swinging at anything not dead red from Joba.

Although I'm wondering if the umps squeezed Chamberlain at all for all the fist-pumping antics earlier in the season. Tin-foil hat stuff I know but I would think some sort of backlash might be possible...

2008-06-04 09:08:54
40.   pistolpete
0 BTW, Cliff – were you watching the montage from 'Scarface' when you wrote this post?
2008-06-04 09:12:46
41.   Bama Yankee
It seems to me that batters are not swinging at Joba's slider as much as they did last year. I wonder if he is tipping his pitches or if he has become somewhat predictable. I've noticed that he likes to throw the slider once he gets two strikes (going for the K) and maybe batters have realized this as well and are just laying off that pitch.

I realize that he is trying to work on all of his pitches, but I wonder if he would have been more effective last night (especically since he was on a tight pitch count and the Jays were taking a lot of pitches) if he had thrown fewer sliders and more fastballs. There was a point where I thought "just throw it down the middle... they ain't swinging".

2008-06-04 09:26:34
42.   YankeeInMichigan
I'm waiting for some pundit to come up with the line "having Joba in the pen makes the rest of the relievers better." Somehow, since Joba was moved to the rotation, Farnsworth, Hawkins, Veras, Ohlendorf and Edwar have all gone into tailspins.

The results back up williamnyy23. To this point, Joba has been missed in the bullpen and he has not added any value to the rotation. The benefits of the move will be long-term. The question is whether long-term means mid-June or 2009.

I'm kind of surprised that Joba was relying on fastballs and sliders. The fact that we had begun mixing in his secondary pitches in his relief role was an indication that he was ready to start.

I believe that the team will give Hawkins a number of additional chances before they go the DFA route. It's not as if he is blocking any young studs in AAA. There are still plenty of candidates for the Scranton Shuttle.

2008-06-04 09:37:13
43.   Raf
41 I thought he should've thrown more fastballs.

42 He may not be blocking anyone @ AAA, but he's a proven mediocrity, as well as redundant. Let someone like Patterson, Giese, or Britton get a chance. If Girardi's insistent on having a long man out of hte pen, I'd rather see Giese than Ohlendorf in that role.

2008-06-04 09:39:09
44.   Cliff Corcoran
41 Dude, did you read my post? Joba was almost all fastballs in the last two innings and mostly fastballs in the first. He threw just two curveballs, no changeups.

That said, you're very right about the way hitters are having more favorable outcomes on his slider this year. Still, the pitch is so good sometimes it doesn't matter, as Scott Rolen proved with that awful swing last night.

39 The strike zone was a bit tight last night, but I guarantee you it had nothing to do with his fist pumps. Why would an umpire care about that sort of thing anyway?

40 I'm not sure what you mean by that, but I'm intrigued. Please explain.

2008-06-04 09:49:09
45.   Raf
44 I think he was referring to the title of your entry, "Take it to the Limit."
2008-06-04 10:01:33
46.   pistolpete
44 Just blind speculation. Umps toss guys out of games all the time for gestures, words or expressions that could be interpreted as benign in most other contexts, so who knows.

45 is right, the cheesy 80's montage in the middle of the movie is set to a song called 'Take it to the Limit'.

Oh Tony, why don't you ever notice the big hole in the clock with the FBI camera in it?

2008-06-04 10:08:27
47.   RIYank
34 Right.
He was pretty wild, but one wild appearance doesn't worry me. Much.
2008-06-04 10:30:59
48.   Cliff Corcoran
46 That's "Push It To The Limit" by Paul Engemann:

That's one of the great montages of all time, but the word "take" is key to the title of the post as the Blue Jays were taking pitches to get Joba to his pitch limit. The fact that it's an Eagles tune and that Eagles and Blue Jays are both birds is a happy accident.

2008-06-04 10:31:17
49.   Mattpat11
37 The last two outings reminded me of 2007 Edwar. Homeruns, walks and other hard hit balls. Maybe it was just the inevitable adjustment to a 3-something ERA. Maybe it was the adjustment to the same old Edwar.

31 The continued insistence on hanging on to people who have repeatedly failed us annoys me. Last year was the time to totally clean the dead weight from the bullpen and try something new. Instead, everyone came back, including men like Farnsworth and Bruney that failed us over and over again last year, men that aren't particularly impressive minor league pitchers like Veras and Ohlendorf, and what appeared to be a one trick pony that the league had figured out in Edwar. And then we added LaTroy Hawkins.

2008-06-04 10:47:28
50.   YankeeInMichigan
49 As Steve Goldman often points out, there is very little variation among relievers. There are a few Mariano-type studs, a few guys that clearly don't belong and then everyone else. Among the "everyone else," someone may get super-hot for a month, two months or even an entire season, but he will eventually gravitate to the mean. For this reason, it makes sense to stock a bullpen with young, low-cost pitchers who can be shuttled back to triple-A when their magic wears off. Bruney was brutal last year, but arbitration price tag was low and he seemed to be worth a hot stretch or two. He was indeed the hot hand until his injury. Ohlendorf and Edwar certainly provide value when they are hot. Cash just shouldn't be afraid to shuttle them down when they cool off (like now). Veras has not yet demonstrated that he can be a league-average reliever for a few weeks at a time, but his velocity remains intriguing. He's worth a look now-and-then as long as he is not blocking those who are clearly better. Hawkins and Farnworth are just another couple of league-average relievers who make a lot more money than the others. The Yankees seems to find a sense of security in a couple of veterans in the pen. At least they no longer go overboard in this regard (see Karsay, Stanton, Quantrill).
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-06-04 10:53:38
51.   yankster
Joba's line, as Cliff writes, doesn't reflect his actual pitching very well. A tight strike zone, a passed ball, a dicey balk call, and the published pitch limit with Toronto taking everything all added up to making it all not look so good, but I really enjoyed the start, and I'm looking forward to the next one.

Even though it's only 2 1/3, compared to watching IPK and PH, Joba was commanding. None of the hitters dialed in his stuff, and although he was sweating bullets, he kept it together when it started to look ugly.

On the other hand, the only way he becomes an ace is if his secondary pitches are reliable AND he relies on them. Given that he was obviously amped, I can understand that his touch pitches were off, so I'm looking forward to his non-debut start.

I'd gladly wager that he will have a solid positive impact (< 4.2 ERA) as a starter before the season's over. I also doubt anyone can really disagree with that, if so, let me know and we can maybe set something up...

2008-06-04 10:58:51
52.   pistolpete
48 Push, take, whatever. Tony's still an ego maniacal boob. ;-)
2008-06-04 11:05:37
53.   Mattpat11
50 I have no problem stocking the bullpen with young cheap arms. But when they fail you, as they all have, you have to try something new. This team just keeps trotting them out there hoping to get blood from a stone.

Jose Veras isn't a good minor league pitcher over his ELEVEN year minor league career. Is 96 mph that intriguing that we need to keep trying?

We're in the third year of Farnsworth failing us. When is it "going over board" to keep trying this experiment?

2008-06-04 11:09:00
54.   Bama Yankee
44 Yes, I read your post (which was a good recap as usual). I guess I did a poor job of trying to make my points (trying to post while working can have that effect). My first point was that Joba seems to either be tipping his slider or hitters have just learned his pattern and have been able to guess slider (and thus lay off) more effectively.

My second point was the one that was worded poorly. I was thinking more about the first inning. Since the Jays were in a take mode, the pitches out of the zone were not very effective. If I were Joba, once I got to ball three on Stairs and Overbay, I would have made them hit my fastball (knowing that risking a walk, would just waste more of my pitches). Once it became obvious that the Jays were not going to swing at pitches out of the zone, then I would have said, "okay boys, here it better be swinging". Maybe he started doing that in the latter innings, but I would have started sooner. Not a big deal, my first point was the main one.

2008-06-04 11:16:57
55.   Schteeve
46 I wouldn't say it's "all the time" and usually it happens only when those gestures are directed at the ump.

I agree with Cliff, I don't see an ump tightening the zone because he thinks Joba is a showboat or something.

2008-06-04 11:40:17
56.   Raf
53 Veras has done well in the minors since he moved to the bullpen.
2008-06-04 11:47:53
57.   Mattpat11
56 I don't think WHIPs around 1.5 and ERAs in the mid 3s are particularly encouraging minor league numbers
2008-06-04 12:11:10
58.   Cliff Corcoran
54 I agreed with that first point. As for the fastball thing. It was the fastball that was missing the zone in that first inning. Of the 12 pitches he threw to Stairs and Overbay, 9 were fastballs and, having walked both of them, he then threw two sliders for strikes to Barajas and struck him out on a fastball.
2008-06-04 12:19:10
59.   Shaun P
Molina seems to have had a lot of defensive miscues lately. Though he's under contract for another year, is it possible the Yanks choose Moeller over him?
2008-06-04 12:25:47
60.   RIYank
59 Molina might be decent trade bait. Think how many teams need BUCs.
2008-06-04 12:34:59
61.   Bama Yankee
58 You're right, maybe what I should have said in that original post was that Joba needed to throw more strikes since they were not swinging at pitches out of the zone. The pitches out of the zone might work against a team that is up there hacking. But once he realized the Jays were taking more pitches in one AB than Robinson Cano has taken in the last month then I just wanted him to throw strikes and make 'em start hacking. Okay, (as you point out) maybe that's what he did... so, maybe I'll just retract my second point altogether...

Hey, at least my first point made some sense. I'll stop while I'm at .500

2008-06-04 12:39:28
62.   pistolpete
55 FWIW, I did say it was "tin foil hat" sort of stuff. I didn't know the Literal Brigade would be policing these parts today. ;-)

60 Yeah, including us.

2008-06-04 12:40:25
63.   RIYank
61 That first point was very good, too, so I think you might be slugging 1.000.
2008-06-04 12:40:56
64.   Jeb
Continuing my Godfather references:

There was this kid I grew up with; he was younger than me. Sorta looked up to me, you know. We did our first hitting together, worked our way out of the minor leagues. Things were good, we made the most of it. During 2005, he hit 36 homers with 101 RBI's but since the Nationals had come along, we didn't have to play in Canada... made a fortune, your father, too. As much as anyone, I loved him and trusted him.

Later on he had an idea to rename a ballpark in Houston. That kid's name was Morgan Ensberg, and the ballpark he invented was Minute Maid. This was a great man, a man of vision and guts. And there isn't even a plaque, or a signpost or a statue of him in that town!

Someone DFA'ed him. No one knows who gave the order. When I heard it, I wasn't angry; I knew Morgan, I knew he was head-strong, talking loud, saying stupid things. So when he turned up released, I let it go. And I said to myself, this is the business we've chosen; I didn't ask who gave the order, because it had nothing to do with business!

2008-06-04 12:41:49
65.   RIYank
62 But we have two.
How many teams do you figure have a better BUC than we have? And we have two. So that means...


2008-06-04 12:42:25
66.   Raf
57 Given the reputation that the PCL had on offense, sure, why not? He did well in 2006 and 2008 in the minors (so far). I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for 2007, seeing as he had surgery.
2008-06-04 12:53:54
67.   Bama Yankee
63 Thanks, RIYank
(you are now hereby deemed the Official Scorer for all my posts...)
2008-06-04 13:15:04
68.   Jeb
67 Bama -- you want my tickets for 6/20 and 6/21. I don't have the stomach for this team.

Someone needs to settle all family business with them.

2008-06-04 13:36:01
69.   JL25and3
60 Molina might be the only BUC whose contract makes him almost untradeable. Who's going to trade for a 44 OPS+ with a 2 yr/$4M contract?

For that matter, who'd be silly enough to offer that contract in the first place?

2008-06-04 13:41:35
70.   Shaun P
Can someone tell me if Casey Kelly (a possible high pick in tomorrow's draft) is the son of former Yanks IF Pat Kelly (born 1967), or is the son of former Blue Jays catcher Pat Kelly (born 1955)? I've seen both said at reputable sites. Pete Abe, BP, and a general ESPN article say '67 born Pat Kelly; Peter Gammons and say '55 born Pat Kelly.
2008-06-04 13:43:13
71.   Shaun P
69 Well, his OPS+ when the Yanks traded for his last year was 39, so youneverknow . . . of course he wasn't under contract then . . .

Hey, he is a doubles machine!

2008-06-04 13:44:35
72.   Bama Yankee
68 Actually, I have tickets for Monday's game against the Royals.

The other day I accidently left my four Yankee tickets on the dash of my unlocked truck as I ran in to the grocery store for a few seconds, when I came back there were six tickets...

2008-06-04 13:53:43
73.   Jeb
72 pretty damn good! I hope you have a great time and we don't get rained out. And, I hope you take the subway because I found it to be a lot of fun. I also caught the Royals series in 2006 and it was just amazing.

Take the 12:00 tour too if you can; it's well worth the $20. They're sold out on the website, but they have limited walk-up tickets available.

I've go the Reds and I'm hoping against hope that Griffey doesn't homer unti then, and then hits a beautiful upper deck shot in the stadium off Sparky Hawkins or Goose Farnsworth in a 12-1 Yankees win.

2008-06-04 13:54:22
74.   tommyl
72 LOL, too funny. At least we get to see who pulls the countdown lever. You know, for the last game, I think as soon as they pull the lever a huge wrecking ball should smash into the stadium, Simpsons style.
2008-06-04 13:56:02
75.   pistolpete
65 I don't know if I'd rather have Moeller, though. Molina seems more comfortable with the staff.
2008-06-04 13:57:46
76.   Jeb
72 Bama -- do you have a blackberry or a similar device, so that you can blog from inside the stadium? Gotta post at least once on the Banter. You can pull up the archives years from now and think "Damn, I was at the Ballpark when I wrote that"
2008-06-04 13:58:27
77.   tommyl
76 Good luck getting a data signal in the stadium.
2008-06-04 14:01:08
78.   JL25and3
70 Not to be confused with the Rev. Pat Kelly, born 1944, the only one of them who ws any good.

Kelly: Skip, don't you want me to walk with God?
Earl Weaver: I'd rather have you walk with the bases loaded.

But I'm no help with your actual question.

2008-06-04 14:01:23
79.   spudrph
The Jeter- Mantle connection blows my mind, too. It's hard to reconcile.
2008-06-04 14:06:14
80.   Bama Yankee
73 Yeah, I'm a little worried about the rain. But since it's a day game, maybe they'll try to get the game in. Actually, as long as I can just get into to the Stadium for once in my life the game will be gravy.

We are going to try to take the tour. Hopefully, we can get the walk-up tickets. I also have tickets for the Yankee Clipper boat ride to the game (thanks to Sliced Bread for the tip).

I'm looking forward to the trip. I've been waiting over 30 years to see a game in Yankee Stadium. The Yanks won't let me down, will they?

2008-06-04 14:23:49
81.   Bama Yankee
76 Sadly, I don't have any such device (sounds like it might futile anyway per 77 ). That would be cool to post from the game.

I remember once my uncle called me collect from Yankee Stadium and I saved the phone bill because it said "Bronx, NY" and it had the phone number for a Yankee Stadium pay phone (I guess I thought I could call it sometime and see if someone would answer... Hey, I was just a kid who was a big Yankee fan).
2008-06-04 14:29:32
82.   buffalocharlie

"He has baseball bloodlines, with dad, Pat, having been a third-round draft pick out of high school. Casey's older brother, Chris, played at Cardinal Mooney and is in the Devil Rays organization."....Not sure if that means his dad Pat played in the bigs or was just a draft pick...

changing topics, what is the extent of Giambi's injury?

2008-06-04 14:29:50
83.   tommyl
Per PeteAbe, Giese was just optioned back to Scranton for Jorge. So we're back to no long man again? Who shadows Joba on Sunday? Seems kind of stupid to me. Why not get rid of Hawkins or Veras?
2008-06-04 15:08:39
84.   Raf
70 It's '55 Pat Kelly.

82 Papa Pat Kelly played in the bigs with the Jays (drafted by the Angels)

83 Not quite sure. I'm just happy Britton wasn't sent down. I guess this means Ohlendorf's the long man again. Those in charge are pretty thick, IMO. Giese in the longman role, Ohlendorf as a setup man, Hawkins gets punted.

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