Joba Chamberlain has been hailed as the future Ace of the Yankee pitching staff. At the very least, he is considered the heir apparent to Mariano Rivera’s closer role.
Chamberlain has burst onto the scene in his first two big-league seasons, capturing the hearts of the Bronx and haunting the nightmares of the league’s hitters.
The start to spring training in 2009 has not quite been as kind to him.
In two appearances thus far, Chamberlain has pitched only one inning as a result of his failure to retire a batter in his second outing.
He has given up seven runs on four hits and four walks. Also yet to strike out a hitter, his struggles have resulted in a dreadful 63.00 ERA and 11.00 WHIP.
There is absolutely nothing to worry about as of yet, as no injury news has surfaced. He has simply been unable to rediscover the mechanics and control that helped him reach the top of his sport.
The most important things for a pitcher to obtain during spring training are progress and confidence. Chamberlain’s regression with his location is more of a concern than his actual results.
His confidence has been far from swayed, however, and he claims that he “felt great” in his last start.
So long as he understands that the sky is not in fact falling, then the whispers of panicked and irrational fans will not affect him.
Chamberlain hopes to rebound tonight against a young and aggressive Cincinnati Reds team. Their lack of patience at the plate should help compensate for Joba’s lack of control.
While there is no reason to worry about the Bronx’s latest phenom, it would certainly be nice to see a much more ‘tidy’ performance out of him tonight.
It will only be a matter of time before we again see the fist pumps and tribal screams that have helped make Joba an immediate celebrity in New York.