Yankees' Joba To Make First Start Tomorrow

A.J. MartelliSenior Analyst IJune 2, 2008

In case some Yankee fans have been living under a rock, Joba Chamberlain of the New York Yankees is the probable pitcher for tomorrow's game at Yankee Stadium vs. the Toronto Blue Jays.

When Chamberlain was called up in August of 2007, he pitched out of the bullpen for the Yankees, as the starting rotation was already full. Chamberlain excelled out of the 'pen in 2007, going 2-0 with an exemplary .38 ERA, and striking out a total of 34 batters in only 24 innings.

Although Chamberlain faltered in the 2007 playoffs by giving up the game-tying run to the Cleveland Indians in game 2 of the ALDS, the infamous "bug game," Chamberlain still left the Yankees happy about his future.

At the start of spring training in 2008, it was unclear what role Chamberlain would play in the 2008 regular season: starter or reliever. Ultimately it was decided by Manager Joe Girardi that Chamberlain would continue his role as a reliever in the bullpen, but may be converted to a starter by mid-season.

On May 21, Chamberlain threw 35 pitches and two scoreless innings in a game the Yankees eventually won 8-0 over the Baltimore Orioles at home. Girardi announced after the game that Chamberlain threw more pitches and more innings than usual because he is beginning his transition to a starter.

On May 24, Chamberlain mimicked his performance from three days earlier, giving up no runs in two innings in an eventual 12-6 win over Seattle. Chamberlain also pitched again on May 28 against Baltimore, throwing 1.1 innings and giving up no earned runs.

Not even two weeks after his "transitional" outing (13 days to be exact), Chamberlain is making his first major league start. Although a starting pitcher most of his time in the minor leagues, it will be interesting to see how Chamberlain fares in his first start as a major leaguer against the Toronto Blue Jays, who are sitting in third place, one spot ahead of the Yankees in the American League Eastern Division standings.

Chamberlain, who is 1-2 with a 2.28 ERA in 2008, will be squaring off against Roy "Doc" Halladay, a former Cy Young winner in 2003 who is 6-5 with a 2.93 ERA. Chamberlain left the Yankees in Minnesota for New York on Monday around 3 p.m. in order to prepare for his outing on Tuesday night.