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Oct 102010

Photo courtesy of the NY Daily News

I’m not going to make too much of this just yet, but many fans and some sportswriters were wondering why Girardi didn’t call on Joba Chamberlain last night with a 6-0 lead in the 8th inning. On the surface, it looked like the perfect spot to use him. We all understand that Joba lost his role as the primary set up man for Mariano Rivera, but this was a low-leverage, late inning spot where you would typically see him, one where you hope he gets you a few outs and Wood and Mo are backing him up if he gets in any trouble.

It’s not the first time we’ve asked this question this post season. You could have called on Joba to bail out CC against Hardy and Valencia in the 7th inning of Game 1, or to face Delmon Young and Jim Thome the following inning where Girardi called on Robertson. In Game 2 Andy took you to the 8th inning, so there was really no issue there. Girardi’s pat answer for choosing one reliever over the other is “I liked the match up”. But last night you had the bottom of the Twins order coming up in Valencia and JJ Hardy as the first two batters. Both are right handed, so it’s not as if there was a righty-lefty issue. What I think it really comes down to is trust, and Girardi simply trusts Wood more than Joba. You have the ALDS clincher within your grasp, you look to lock it down and not mess around.

But Joe’s post season usage tells you something about what Girardi thinks of Joba and how far he’s fallen in the eyes of the Yankee brass. Last year he was still viewed as a potential heir to Mariano and was given opportunities to come up big in the post season. His performances were shaky at best. Now Dave Robertson regularly gets the nod in the 6th or 7th, Logan is the LOOGY and Wood is the unquestioned primary set up man. If Joe still thinks the game is within reach, he’s clearly shown that he will opt for one of them over Mr Chamberlain.

Fans still hold on to 07 Joba, thinking that’s still within him. But it was a unique circumstance for a variety of reasons. It was his first time through the league, when pitchers always have an advantage before the scouting reports catch up with them. He was given regular usage and regular rest with the ‘Joba Rules’ so he was always sharp and always strong. He had built up his arm as a starter that year, so relief work was a breeze for him. But the past two seasons, the Yanks have tried him as both a starter and reliever and he’s been mediocre and inconsistent. After an awful first half this year, where his ERA topped out at an ugly 5.95 on July 26th, he lost his bullpen role and was much better in the 2nd half. Over his last 30 appearances he pitched to a 2.15 ERA in the obscurity of his low leverage role. To be sure he’s still young (25) and many pitchers struggle to find a routine that works for them early in their career. But if he continues to pitch like he has the past two seasons, the Yanks will have some decisions to make with him.

19 Responses to “Where was Joba in the ALDS?”

  1. Nice post; I was shocked Wood came in for the eighth last night. As for Joba’s ’07 performance, yes he did have the advantage of being a new pitcher in the league, but he also had electric stuff. He would hit 99 with his fastball and then hit the plate on a 85 mph slider. Unhittable.  (Quote)

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  2. “I’m not going to make too much of this just yet, but many fans and some sportswriters were wondering why Girardi didn’t call on Joba Chamberlain last night with a 6-0 lead in the 8th inning”

    And yet you write an article about it.  (Quote)

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    T.O. Chris H Reply:

    He’s a blogger it’s kind of what makes a blog… a blog.  (Quote)

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  3. 2007 has nothing to do with it. We’re stuck on the pitcher that, despite his struggles, still was second on the team in FIP, third in K/9, and second in K/BB. And in both cases that he was 2nd, the only guy ahead of him is Mo. So regardless of the fact that neglecting to use Joba resulted in over-use of Kerry Wood, his numbers clearly suggest he is worthy of being used. NOT using him is a mistake, IMO. Especially in a 6-0 game. If you aren’t going to use him then, when are you ? Seems like never is the most obvious answer. And then when you DO need him, he will have some 2 weeks of rust to shake off. Brilliant.  (Quote)

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    bornwithpinstripes Reply:

    totally agree, on every point…the needless of wood coming , a guy with injury history. joba’s problems i have felt are off field issues, six zero game ,something is up.. i don’t want to knock girardi,but if it was just a panic move on his part..well. after the game thames said something of interest, when asked about have a lot of days off, he said we need them ,guys are still banged up..that’s an inside of what is really going on..CC not starting today is very big.. hunter goes for texas, if rays win today, i feel they will beat lee next game..  (Quote)

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    Jack Reply:

    One more thing. IMHO, you’re both incorrect to say pitching Mo and Wood was the wrong move. First off, on Wood’s injury history. He’s about to get 5 days off. So you could say he pitched 3 times in 4 days, but more accurately, he pitched 3 times in 9 days. That’s hardly taxing on his arm. Now, if Joba pitched instead of Wood and/or Rivera, this means Wood and/orRivera haven’t pitched for over a week heading into round 2, meaning THEIR arms are rusty. So Girardi had to choose between a rusty Joba or a rusty Wood/Mo–easy call there. This is the playoffs. It’s about winning right now, not preparing a player for the future. Girardi absolutely made the right call, as he’s prone to do, but Yankee fans bashed him for that right call, as they are prone to do.  (Quote)

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    T.O. Chris H Reply:

    I think it was the right move just because we needed to end the series you don’t need to take a chance on the Twins coming back and winning that game on some fluke “Joba outing” (he has blown large leads this year) and gaining momentum and have to pitch CC on short rest might as well shut it down and go home.  (Quote)

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    The Big City of Dreams Reply:

    Maybe he doesn’t have a role. IMO it looks like he is being phased out. I’ve heard ppl make the case for shutting down the twins with you;re best pitchers but it’s a 6 run lead  (Quote)

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  4. You guys sure are tough to please. The three game sweep nobody thought could happen? Nope. The amazing performances of two pitchers that were supposedly 1) injured and 2) out of gas? Who cares. The fact that a mid-reliever didn’t get work in the ALDS. LET’S BEAT IT TO DEATH. LOL  (Quote)

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    T.O. Chris H Reply:

    Like it or not Joba is a very real issue and eventually something has to be done one way or the other with the guy…. We have a week until the Yankees play baseball if we don’t talk about this what do we talk about?  (Quote)

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  5. 2007 has nothing to do with it.We’re stuck on the pitcher that, despite his struggles, still was second on the team in FIP, third in K/9, and second in K/BB.And in both cases that he was 2nd, the only guy ahead of him is Mo.So regardless of the fact that neglecting to use Joba resulted in over-use of Kerry Wood, his numbers clearly suggest he is worthy of being used.NOT using him is a mistake, IMO.Especially in a 6-0 game.If you aren’t going to use him then, when are you ?Seems like never is the most obvious answer.And then when you DO need him, he will have some 2 weeks of rust to shake off.Brilliant.  

    He may have had a great FIP but what it comes down to is how did you perform in big situations throughout the year and the entire year Joba let the team down in big situation whether you want to say it was his fault or bad luck or whatever it still happened and I was right on board with Wood and Mo coming out last night because we have seen Joba blow a regular season lead of more than 4 runs coming into the 9th before why wouldn’t he do it in the playoffs?  (Quote)

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  6. When it comes to Joba I am still in the camp that says he needs to be sent to the minor leagues and work on himself as a starting pitcher he never actually got any time to develop in triple A and his best overall value still lies as a starter even if he is just an average one because he isn’t proving to be anything more than that in the pen.

    You let him start next year in Scranton and he can develop the change up more and work on his mechanics in a setting that is not a win first scenario, you can also carefully monitor his innings in whatever way you want to and around the all star break or something you can bring him up if you need a starter or more ideally leave him in Scranton an entire year and bring him up in 2012 as a member of the rotation to start the year.  (Quote)

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  7. Isnt Joba out of options? If so someone will claim him.  (Quote)

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    T.O. Chris H Reply:

    He has less than 5 years of professional playing time so I assume he would still have an option left but I am not the 100% clear on all of what makes you eligible.

    I know he could have been sent to the minors this season without having to be put on waivers and it was a move that needed to be done especially considering the lack of a role he has at this point in the pen.  (Quote)

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    Kareem Reply:

    I am so with you on that he needs to be in Scranton to become an effective starter, we know it is in him.  (Quote)

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    The Big City of Dreams Reply:

    Do you the yankees have the guts to even test him as a starter again  (Quote)

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    Steve S. Reply:

    He’s arb eligible since he has 3 years of service time, so he’d have to pass through waivers in order to be sent down.  (Quote)

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    JohnnyC Reply:

    Stupid facts ruining the narrative…again.  (Quote)

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    The Big City of Dreams Reply:

    And I’m sure he wouldn’t get through waivers  (Quote)

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