Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Joba Chamberlain's 1st start

Tonight was the well hyped debut of Joba Chamberlain as a starting pitcher in the major leagues. As is well known, the process to mold Joba into a starter has begun. They have started loosening his arm up over the course of the past couple of weeks, and tonight he saw the mound for the first time as a starting pitcher in the majors.

His pitch count was limited to 65, but this wasn't a normal day at the Stadium by any means. More media members, a more excited crowd are the main factors that made this a game that was different than usual. With the amount of hype for what was bound to be an underwhelming event, you would think Kim Kardashian was "performing" in the Stadium.

As for his outing, Chamberlain was shaky. Although he only gave up one run and one hit, he walked four batters and labored through 2.1 innings and threw 62 pitches. Joba's velocity was there on his fastball and slider, the break was there on the curve as well, but he just couldn't get a grasp for his command. That was the main source of his wildness, as he seemed like he was a bit too wound up for this start. He walked three batters in the 1st inning, committed a balk, and Jose Molina contributed to the inning with a past ball that advanced a runner. All things considered, Chamberlain escaped relatively unscathed as he only gave a run in the rough 1st inning. He started to settle down in the 2nd inning, as he only threw 16 pitches, retiring the Blue Jays rather quickly, but was taken out after an out in the 3rd inning having thrown 62 pitches.

The Yankees went on to lose the game 9-3 as the bullpen once again showed it's ineptitude. Watching thee guys is like having a plate of hot chili poured on you, it isn't a good feeling. Edwar Ramirez came in and immediately walked two guys leading to a run which was earned on a bases loaded walk, then Latroy "opponent's personal confidence booster" Hawkins sealed the deal giving up a scalding two run double to Rod Barajas.

Joba showed flashes of the brilliance he has maintained as a setup man, but he needs to find his command. I attribute it to 1st start jitters. I think in the long run he will be fine. His stuff combined with his control is too good.

I believe that the move from the bullpen to the starting rotation in the long run is a good one. With Chamberlain's potential, he could be a dominant ace in the league one day and that in itself is more valuable than a great setup man or a great closer. Chamberlain has a blistering fastball and has pinpoint control of that fastball when he is on, he also has a devastating slider along with a decent curve and change. As a relief pitcher he didn't use much asides his fastball and the slider. He will likely have to develop the rest of the pitches in his repertoire if he wants to see great success as a starter.

With Chamberlain's ceiling I think you are wasting him in the pen. You don't draft pitchers like that to be setup men. It is good to see that the Yankees aren't as shortsighted as they usually are and are preparing for the future, while not totally kissing this season goodbye. Although they will never say it within the organization, I don't feel Girardi, Cashman and Steinbrenner feel this is a World Series caliber team, otherwise they would have kept Chamberlain in the pen. As I've thought from the beginning of the season, it is a transition year for the Yankees. They are not World Series Contenders, but they aren't the Nationals either. It's a breath of fresh air that the Yankees are FINALLY doing something to gear for the future, and dropped the 'NOW NOW NOW' attitude that is influenced by New York's fair weathered, fickle fans. It is a transition period, and patience from this front office will be important during the switch, as Joba will not come in and immediately be a great pitcher. He will have his bumps and bruises. It is just a matter of how the front office handles him, him staying healthy, and most of all, patience.

Patience isn't a word that is often connected with New Yorkers, but with Chamberlain New York will have to be patient. He will probably be really good, but it takes time.

1 comment:

NatsVision said...

"They are not World Series Contenders, but they aren't the Nationals either."

umm wtf was that. Don't diss on the Nationals like that. Look at the NL west if you want worse teams. You will regret trashing them in 2010 when Zimmerman, Marrero, Zimmerman, Burgess, and Maxwell lead them to WOrld Series COntention.