After the All Star break, Joba Chamberlain went 9 days between starts (July 10-July 19) and came back every bit the pitcher the Yanks have always hoped he’d be. In the 3 starts after the break, he went 3-0 with a 0.85 ERA and in 21.2 IP he gave up only 8 hits and 8 walks while striking out 19 batters. He pitched into the 7th in two of his starts and into the 8th in another. He had his regular 5 days rest between each of these starts.
Since then, phase two of the Joba Plan has kicked in where he’s getting more rest between starts, and the results have been very different. He is 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA. In 16 IP he’s given up 18 hits and 12 runs, all of them earned. He’s struck out 12 batters and walked 12 batters in that span. His next start is scheduled for August 25th against the Texas Rangers, again with 9 days between starts.
And yet, despite this recent trend I still fully support what they’re doing with him. Seems like he’s been around forever, but he’s still only 23 and the added rest will keep him strong and make him much less prone to injury, and learning to pitch with added rest now will benefit him come October. Barring injury, he would be our 4th starter in the playoffs. No matter what he does for the rest of the year or what the playoff match ups are, it’s still very unlikely he would get a start over the playoff tested Andy Pettitte. Chances are, Joba will only get one start in each round of playoffs and will likely have a week in between each start, if not more. In the best of 5 ALDS, it’s very possible he wont even get a start, depending on off days. I’d rather have him figure out how to deal with extra rest now. See what kind of routine he needs to be effective and what kind of in-game adjustments he needs to make. Better he figures it out now, than out on the mound in October in what could very well be a decisive game.
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