Last week, I got on A.J. Burnett’s case for a momentary lapse in accountability.
This week, Joba Chamberlain is on the spot (and deservedly so).
Here’s what Joba had to say following yesterday’s game.
“My delivery was great,” he said. “I threw some great changeups. My slider velocity was great. My fastball velocity was more consistent. … It’s going to take a lot more than this to get my confidence level down, I’ll tell you that much. You can kick me as much as you want but I’m going to come back fighting every time. That’s how I live this live and that’s how I play this game of baseball.”
Chamberlain was asked whether he was concerned with how he has pitched lately.
“I’m fine, man,” he said. “I’m fine.”
In 23 August innings, Joba gave up 21 ER. Though the calendar has mercifully flipped, in 13 September innings, Joba has given up 12 ER. His continued ineffectiveness, coupled with the assertion that he is “fine, man,” truly bothers me. Owning up to one’s failures is essential in the game of baseball. Joba has failed to exhibit such maturity throughout the season.
It’s not “fine” when your team’s lineup is immediately asked to score 7 or more runs in order to win a contest. That’s not fair to them. A 3 inning outing also isn’t fair for Sergio Mitre—or, on other days, Alfredo Aceves—who was forced to throw 5 innings out of the blue. Saying, “I’m fine,” when you feature an ERA over 8.00 since the All-Star break, may no longer be enough for your weary teammates.
At what point does, “I’m fine,” become, “I’ll be better,” because, in the end, that’s what the Yankees undoubtedly need. They don’t need Joba to be “fine,” instead, they need him to be effective. They need him to offer some level of stability. With the postseason nearing, that’s all that really matters.
UPDATE - It has been brought to my attention by StandingO’Neil that Peter Abraham’s account of Joba’s post-game interview is missing a vital piece of humility, one that all but eliminates this post’s purpose. From an ESPN article, we see that Joba did, in fact, own up to his Seattle clunker.
“I let my teammates down. It was pretty much embarrassing what I did, not being able to pick my team up and get out of here with a series win,” Chamberlain said. “It will take more than this to get my confidence level down. You can kick me as much as you want but I will come back fighting every time.”
Abraham’s account of Joba’s interview, or one similar to it, has pretty much floated around the blogging circuit. Everyone is discussing his lack of accountability, including RAB, for example, and SIH. However, it looks like we were led astray by flawed reporting. The moral of the story is—beware of ellipses, for they do more than just shorten a quote.
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