Joba Chamberlain‘s breakthrough is precisely what the Yankees had been waiting to see on Wednesday against Philadelphia Phillies. It was sink or swim for Joba, who pitched four strong innings to stay a float in the Yankees blood-and-guts position battle. Even though the Yanks lost 6-2, Joba finished throwing a total of only 48 pitches of which 32 were strikes, allowing two hits, and a run. Joba had to finish in the bullpen to reach the required 65 pitches, uncharacteristic for someone who loves to run up his pitch count. Chamberlain’s previous two outings he granted 11 runs just shy of three innings. Is this starting to sound like a broken record? You bet it is. Joba did this showcasing all last season. Stinking it up for a few games, then wowing and pitching like an ace. Cashman, Girardi and Eliand see that gleam of Joba, and they start drooling all over each other again. They are pushing Joba into starting, making the bullpen seem like a prison sentence.
It is like dating a bad boy, when you just cannot let go. While all that time, everyone else sees your future husband in the corner, quietly kicking butt and steadily growing into his own. That hubby being Phil Hughes. Hughes move to the bullpen last season was the inspiration for the team’s turn-around. He was dominating and grew confident, while the attention swarmed like bugs around Joba and his Rules.
Comparing stats are to childish and irregular at this point, so this Spring Training is what counts for them. Hughes has a 2.08 ERA and Joba’s gratifying outing lowered his 20+ to 16.20 ERA. Joba has allowed more walks and hits then Hughes; so the last starts for both boys next week will be crucial. Hughes has been stronger this Spring. With one more good outing Hughes should lock it down, even if Joba pitches well again.
The organization has hyped up these two youngsters to a point where sending one to pitch in Triple A would crush their spirits. The other reason is Sergio Mitre should be the first sent down after last season. Mitre’s Spring has been just mediocre. Girardi has already been to kind enough but hanging onto the Marlins days is not fair. Mitre is a older and would benefit from the extra work load. To be frank, both Hughes and Chamberlain are noteworthy. Both are talented, and could be the future all-stars of baseball. This lies in the hands of the Yankees, who continuously borderline carelessness and might jeopardize their mental games if it continues. Nothing is forever, but it is time to try and stick with some plan this season. The team is sturdy enough to allow the boys discover their respective roles. My fear is not to get the opportunity to witness Joba set-up for Mariano; if it works out grooming him to take over and preparing fans for the transition. That day will be hard enough, and filling Mo’s special role is something that In Joba I Trust; and as a Yankee fan I do not make that statement lightly.