Andy Pettitte vs Joba Chamberlain (HBO Special)
After Wednesday night's 4-2 win in Baltimore, Andy Pettitte was asked what he thought of Joba getting some of his pitching time in order to stretch out the reliever to 55 pitches.
Andy responded by saying, "There might be a fight on the mound if they want to take four or five innings for Joba." He said it in a joking manner of course, but brings up a good point. Should the current starters need to sacrifice their innings to get Joba ready to take a spot in the New York rotation?
My answer is no. The idea that Joba would help this team by only pitching once every five games as opposed to pitching two or possibly three games a week and set up Mariano Rivera is absurd.
This is the panic button being pushed by Hank Steinbrenner. It is being done after he threw GM Brian Cashman to the side, and then grabbed his puppet manager, Joe Girardi, and told him to approach this transition for Joba as if this was the plan all along.
However, the plan was to only give him ten more innings than last season's total and make him a solid reliever and set-up man to future Hall of Famer, Mariano Rivera.
Now, to say that Joba wouldn't be a good starter is also wrong, mainly because no one has ever seen him start a big-league game, with the exception of a spring training start here and there. He may do very well, or he may flop, and just like Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, Joba will quickly be looked at as another failure for the club that could have landed Johan Santana.
The facts are sitting on every major sports-website's statistics sheet, and they present the following conclusion: When a guy is striking out three batters for every one walk he allows and has an ERA under two, he is the main reason for Mariano Rivera having 13 saves as of May 30.
Considering that Mariano didn't get his first save in 2007 until May, makes one think that having that 98 MPH-fastball throwing reliever Joba Chamberlain in front of him makes Mo feel more at ease, like the years of lefty specialist Mike Stanton, and right-handers Ramero Mendoza, and Jeff Nelson.
I think Joba will be a great Yankee pitcher, as long as he stays in the bullpen. He is the heir to the closer role, and would be a great finisher for years to come in the Bronx, if only Hank Steinbrenner and Randy Levine would allow Joba to grow into the reliever role, and give more time to Hughes and Kennedy, who are both on the DL. That's the cover up reason for Joba being moved into this starting situation.
If he doesn't start a game soon, he may be starting in another sporting event...boxing. Imagine that Pay-Per View show. The left hook from Pettitte and the crafty maneuvering in the ring from Chien-Ming Wang, while Mike Mussina tries to throw an off-speed hook to start his fight. Plain and simple, the transition needs to stop, and either Joba starts soon or goes back to the bullpen before the other pitchers get mad.
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