For some reason the cries in New York continue to stay the same: "Joba belongs in the bullpen!"
Well, why does Chamberlain belong in the bullpen? Most would say that Chamberlain is unable to keep up with the toughness of throwing an entire starting pitcher's workload throughout the season, and the Yankees bullpen is atrocious.
"I think if you start him and he pitches 200 innings in one year, you’re going to lose him. He’s going to get hurt. I don’t see him as a starter," Catcher Jorge Posada said back in September.
I'm sure Jorge or any of the other Yankees are not complaining about Joba's performance last night in Cleveland, where he went a career best eight solid innings, with four hits, throwing 106 pitches, and still hitting the upper 90's with his fastball in the late innings.
Clearly, one night never proves a point, but as a starting pitcher in the major leagues, Chamberlain has a 3.25 ERA. If the Yankees can expect dominant performances from Chamberlain like this for the rest of the season, I see no reason why there should be any talk of Chamberlain going to the bullpen.
Currently in the bullpen, Chen-Ming Wang is getting better, so he will most likely not remain there for much longer.
As of right now, Wang is an insurance policy, and his next start is not something the Yankees need to be too concerned with. Im not sure if having too much good starting pitching is a problem.
The bullpen, sans Wang is not really in a position in which they absolutely need Joba in there right now. The bottom line is: the Yankees are winning.
Not only winning, but playing great defense, setting a major leauge record 18 straight games without an error.
What saves bad pitching? I would say great defense, and right now the Yankees have it.
The pitchers in the bullpen do have time to get better. As of right now, most of them are young and show signs of improvement. Alfredo Aceves has pitched 19.2 innings with a 2.75 ERA. Not too bad for the guy who is most likely going to be called on when Wang moves back to the starting rotation.
True, Jose Veras and Phil Coke have ERA's over four, but they have time to improve and are showing signs of getting better.
But the last thing I would suggest for Yankees fans is not to panic. There is no reason why the Yankees could not deal for a better reliever from a team that has a bleak outlook for the 2009 season and a great bullpen.
As far as I'm concerned, Chamberlian is pitching too well right now to be sent to the bullpen. Until I start to see some serious breakdown by the Yankees bullpen, or Chamberlain is unable to go more than five innings, it would be nice for most Yankees fans to get behind Chamberlain as a starter.