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Last night, Joba Chamberlain had another of his blow ups, this time with a 1 Run lead in a situation that cost the Yankees a game. He gave up a grand slam to the light-hitting Jose Lopez, wasting 7 shutout innings by Javier Vazquez. His record for the season stands at 1-4 with a 5.79 ERA. He has given up 3 runs or more in 5 of his 39 appearances this year. That’s about once every 8 appearances. Needless to say, he’s failed to be the bridge to Mariano that the Yankees hoped he’d be this year.

While being interviewed on his weekly segment with WFANs Mike Francesa, Yankee Manager Joe Girardi said something that stuck out to me. I transcribed the quote in the context of the question and full answer:

Mike Francesa: “Are you comfortable with the pen right now? Or do you need a new face in that pen?”

Joe Girardi: “No, I’m comfortable with it. I just think they need to be more consistent. Because you can’t say..these guys have done it, and these guys have the ability to do it. Just because you add a new face that doesn’t mean that it’s going to be better than what we have. These guys are talented, they just need to be more consistent, and maybe its more consistent work. We’ve had some stretches where guys haven’t went in 5 days and I’m going to be cautious about that, and try to be somewhat cautious about that with Joba. Just because I’ve noticed when he sits for 4-5 days he’s just not as sharp. And we’ve been using him more (lately) and he’s not getting long periods of rest and he’s been better.

That’s interesting, so I wanted to sift through his stats and see if there’s anything there. Of course, when you’re looking at trends this small you deal with sample size issues, even more so when it comes to Relievers. But trends are by definition small samples, and that’s all we have to work with. Since these numbers are so small we’ll ignore everything but the rate stats. Here’s the stats, courtesy of BR (NOTE-Last night’s game not included):

I       Split W L W-L%   ERA  G GS GF CG SHO SV   IP  H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP BF  WHIP SO/9 SO/BB
     0 DaysGR 0      0  1.59  6  0  1  0   0  1  5.2  6 1  1  0  2   1  7   0  0  0 23 1.412 11.1  3.50
      1 DayGR 1 2 .333  4.80 16  0  4  0   0  0 15.0 16 9  8  1  1   0 18   0  0  0 61 1.133 10.8 18.00
     2 DaysGR 0      0  0.00  7  0  1  0   0  1  8.0  2 0  0  0  2   0 11   0  0  0 28 0.500 12.4  5.50
     3 DaysGR 0 1 .000 18.00  5  0  0  0   0  0  4.0  9 8  8  0  5   0  3   0  0  0 25 3.500  6.8  0.60
     4 DaysGR 0      0  7.71  3  0  0  0   0  0  2.1  4 2  2  0  2   0  1   0  0  0 13 2.571  3.9  0.50
    6+ DaysGR 0      0  6.75  1  0  1  0   0  0  1.1  2 1  1  0  1   0  0   0  0  0  7 2.250  0.0  0.00

What jumps out at me here is not so much the variation in 0-2 Days Rest, but rather once you get to 3 days and above that he’s so consistently bad. SO/9 rate is way down, and he’s Walking almost as many batters as he Ks. WHIP is about double across the board. That’s a pitcher who simply isn’t very sharp as Joe said, and lacks command and control of his pitches. If you isolate and combine the numbers for 0-2 days rest, that would be the Joba we were hoping to see this year.

But more usage means he’ll be coming into more games that aren’t close one way or the other. So lets see how he fares based on Run Support, again from BR:

I             Split W L W-L%  ERA  G GS GF CG SHO SV   IP  H  R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP BK WP BF  WHIP SO/9 SO/BB
    0-2 Runs Scored 0      0 6.75  5  0  0  0   0  0  5.1  7  4  4  0  3   0  7   0  0  0 26 1.875 11.8  2.33
    3-5 Runs Scored 0 2 .000 4.63 13  0  4  0   0  2 11.2 12  6  6  1  2   0 13   0  0  0 48 1.200 10.0  6.50
     6+ Runs Scored 1 1 .500 4.66 20  0  3  0   0  0 19.1 20 11 10  0  8   1 20   0  0  0 83 1.448  9.3  2.50

Now lets also look at Leverage:

Split           G PA AB  R  H 2B 3B HR SB CS BB SO SO/BB   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB ROE BAbip tOPS+ sOPS+
High Lvrge     18 56 51 14 16  4  0  1  0  0  4 17  4.25 .314 .357 .451 .808 23   1   0  0  1   0   0  .441   132   118
Medium Lvrge   22 37 35  4  9  1  1  0  0  0  2  6  3.00 .257 .297 .343 .640 12   2   0  0  0   1   0  .310    84    75
Low Lvrge      27 64 57  2 14  3  0  0  0  0  7 17  2.43 .246 .328 .298 .626 17   1   0  0  0   0   1  .350    81    74

If anything, he’s been worse in tight games than he has in other situations, so bringing him in more often with a good lead or down a few Runs shouldn’t be an issue. Look for Joba to get used more frequently in the coming weeks, and that means he’ll be called upon in spots where you wouldn’t normally see him. We’ll see if he becomes more consistent when used that way.

But if that doesn’t work, they can’t just keep running him out there. This isn’t just a slump at this point, he’s pitched like crap since August of last year. I wouldn’t bother demoting him in the bullpen at this point, because his bad outings have been so explosive and so spectacularly bad that I’m not sure you can back him up safely. I’d just demote him to AAA and let him work things out there.  There have always been whispers around Joba constantly needing ‘a kick in the ass’, and sending him to Scranton would be a big one. If they plan on doing it, they’ll need to do it soon.  Joba has all 3 of his options left, since he’s never been sent down since being called up in 2007. But once a player reaches the 3 year mark, he has to pass through waivers before he can be sent down. Joba’s MLB debut was August 7th, 2007. So he has about 3 weeks to get straightened out before the Yanks have to make a decision on him.

9 Responses to “Has Joba’s inconsistency been from too much rest?”

  1. I’m sorry that I couldn’t have included last night’s game, BR doesn’t update that quickly. Once those stats are up, I’ll make sure to update the post. But Joba had previously pitched on the 7th, so last night’s game would have fallen in the 3 says category anyway. It should just make the numbers even worse.

    That being said, if he needs to be used every 1-2 days, I’m not sure that works for the Yanks. You can’t just bring Joba in every other game because he needs the work. He’ll have to either work on things in the bullpen or in AAA.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  2. He’s not a very good pitcher the past 2 seasons.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Steve S. Reply:

    Right, outside of the handful of starts after the All Star break last year, he’s been consistently bad. And to be fair, he was bad before the ASG in 09 as well. He was unreal in 07, terrific in 08 both as a starter and reliever, and for the most part has been bad ever since.

    I think if he was better conditioned, all of these issue would evaporate. His inconsistent delivery, his lack of being sharp relating to rest. But they’ve been after him to get in better shape for years, you can’t make him do it. At this point, a ticket to AAA will have to suffice.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Jonathan Reply:

    in 2009 up till the end of July when they started messing with jobas innings he had a 3.58 ERA  (Quote)

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  3. He has little command of his breaking stuff and his fastball seems straighter and less explosive, even when the readings are high.
    They lay off the 85 foot breaking stuff and he lays it right in there for them eventually.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    Steve S. Reply:

    If you noticed the pitch he gave up the GS on, it was a fastball that was supposed to be down and in. He missed by about 2 feet, it was up and Lopez deposited it in the seats.

    Joba has to keep his fastball below the waist. If he can’t, he’s batting practice.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  4. I especially agree on two points, which are very much related:
    -he’s in lousy shape and needs to start getting in better condition (there’s no excuse for a man that young to look like that), and
    -even though it’s not going to happen, sending him down right now makes a whole lot of sense. Either he gets it back together (and gets into better shape) in AAA or he stays there until he does.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

    bornwithpinstripes Reply:

    I agree oldpep, he s in drinking shape ,not baseball shape..does any one on here know if he buddies up with any body working out?  (Quote)

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  5. and they oughta show him how a baseball cap’s bill needs some proper shaping, too. Once he relearns to dominate, he can lead the way to new fashions, imho.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

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