Last night, with the game tied 4-4 in the 8th inning Yankee manager Joe Girardi called on Joba Chamberlain to hold the Angels and give the Yanks a chance to win. He recently officially named Chamberlain as his bridge to Mo, and in a tie game on the road he wanted his best bullpen pitcher (not named Rivera) to hold down the fort and give the Yanks a chance to win the game in the top of the 9th with Tex and Alex coming up to bat.
Joba didn’t pitch well. It’s not as if it was only one bad pitch, he allowed the first three batters he faced to reach base. Matsui hit a single, then Morales hit a 2-run HR, then Juan Rivera singled before Joba induced 3 fly ball outs to close out the frame. It’s not as if the fly balls were lame ducks, either. They were hit pretty hard and the outfielders were able to flag them down. Gameday had Joba sitting 92-94 with the fastball. It’s a far cry from 2007, but that should be enough to get by with in April. I’m not overly worried about his velocity, it’s still early and he should add a few ticks as the season progresses. We all seem to forget that when Joba was called up in 2007, it was August and he had a full season of building up his arm as a starter at that point.
I wouldn’t overreact to this, it was just one bad game for Joba. The slider he served up to Morales was a cement mixer, one that any player could crush if they weren’t geared up for the fastball. Morales owns Joba, and is now 5-7 with 2 HRs. He’s just going to have to pitch more carefully to him in the future. Other than that, Joba’s been fine this year. Heading into last night’s game, he was giving up less than a hit per inning and striking out 10.8/9 IP with a WHIP of 1.20. Adding a few ticks to his fastball and throwing it for strikes will help him get away with the occasional slider that doesn’t slide, so I’ll chalk up last night as simply to being overly sharp early in the season.