Not sure if this was mentioned at some point earlier this week, but, according to Tyler Kepner of the New York Times, Yankees skipper, Joe Girardi, “has said he would like to decide on a fifth starter by next Thursday or Friday,” meaning that it is imperative for each of the five competing starters vying for the team’s final rotation spot to make the best of their remaining opportunities (possibly one more game a piece). Basically, this is it. It’s crunch time down in Florida.
Now for a quick tangent…
When you think about it strictly from a statistical perspective, spring training “battles” – assuming there are absolutely no preconceived notions going into them – are extremely asinine. In essence, Girardi, an example here, is making a pivotal pitching decision, one with real consequences, based on a few abbreviated and meaningless outings. Now, I do not view the Yankees’ fifth starter battle as a true spring competition, as Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain have always seemed to have inside tracks, but it is still worth noting the inanity of the longstanding spring competition. The only utility I see provided by this practice is that it forces a complacent player to think he is fighting for his spot.
In this case, Joba Chamberlain is that particular player.
Photo by the AP