Today was a fun game to watch as the Yankees defeated the Detroit Tigers for the third consecutive day, sweeping them out of the Bronx as the Bombers prepare to face Baltimore. Again we were treated to a pitchers’ duel, with Edwin Jackson—who I was lucky enough to speak with, albeit briefly, at Friday’s game—and the always controversial Joba Chamberlain on the hill. While Edwin was certainly dominant, Joba was exceptional Training Day buy . He struck out 8 over 6.2 innings, giving up only 1 ER on 3 hits (he walked 3). With a strong start from Joba and some great work from the Yankee bullpen (Coke, Hughes, Mo), all the Yankees needed from their offense came in the form of two solo jacks by A-Rod and Teixeira to make it 2-1. Overall, it was a great performance for the Yankees and for the recently maligned Joba, whose struggles this year have been widely documented.
What was particularly interesting about today’s game, however, was the way in which Joba pitched. From the first inning to the third inning, Joba’s fastball generally sat around the 90-93 mph range. From the fourth to the seventh inning, he was throwing in the 92-97 mph range. There seemed to be a noticeable jump in Joba’s FB velocity as the game wore on. When you consider the results—he struck out 6 batters between the fourth and seventh inning (3.2 innings total) as compared to just 2 in the previous 3 innings—it makes you wonder why, exactly, Joba doesn’t air it out earlier in the game. Some argue that Joba’s velocity is down in general, which I agree with, though I think there’s a lack of consistent velocity in each start (this is indicative of a pattern).
Is Joba trying to conserve his stuff or does he adapt and pitch differently as the game progresses? Why can’t we see a few more 95 mph fastballs in the first inning? If they can be delivered with regularity from the fourth to the seventh inning, one would think that Joba could throw a few more in the earlier stages of a ballgame (of the 23 pitches he threw in the first inning only one was a 96 mph fastball), right? Is this a warmup issue or is it just the way that Joba works now that he’s in the rotation? As you can see, while I’m clearly thrilled to watch Joba dominate a first place team on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I’m also rather perplexed.
Anyone else notice this and, if you did, is it nothing or is it something?
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