Girardi reacted to Joba Chamberlain’s comments by saying that the right-hander does in fact need to pitch better, whether he says so in public or not. A few minutes later, Girardi mentioned that Chad Gaudin could work his way onto the postseason roster.
UPDATE, 7:46 p.m.: Here is what Girardi said:
“I think that at times any one can be in some form of denial. What he tells you and what he says to us can be two different things. Players are positive people and they’re confident people. But there is no doubt about it: Joba needs to pitch better. He knows that. He’ll be the first one to tell you he knows that.
“One or two bad pitches usually doesn’t lead to seven runs unless there’s some errors or funny things that happen. That was not the game he’s capable of pitching. We need him to pitch much better this weekend.”
I have no real problem with any of the comments, except for this. Didn’t AJ Burnett say (almost word for word) the exact same thing recently? On more than one occasion this year AJ Burnett has chalked up 6+ run outing to “one or two bad pitches”. And yet the media didn’t go half as crazy when AJ said it and the manager didn’t make similar “denial” remarks in response. Why the double standard?
It’s not the season AJ has had. His stats and Joba’s are pretty close. ERA above 4, little less than a SO per inning, walks about 4 1/2 per 9 innings pitched. Some great outings, some awful ones. They have far more similarities than differences statistically. It’s also not that AJ has earned some big reputation as a ‘clutch’ performer around the bigs (ala Josh Beckett). Joba actually has more playoff experience than AJ does, since AJ has zero. The only reason is that one is 32 and the other is 23. But does that make it right?
The response was also very different when Joba seemed to be having issues with Posada. With AJ, it was painted as a personality conflict between two veteran players each set in their ways. With Joba he was universally told to ’shut up and pitch’. But just because Joba is younger doesn’t mean he doesn’t know what’s working for him and what isn’t. Just because Posada is older doesn’t make him an expert on Joba (Posada wanted Joba to be a reliever). And just because AJ is older doesn’t mean he doesn’t struggle with the same issues that Joba does out on the mound on any given day. The reality is Yankee fans should be every bit as worried about Burnett as they are about Joba for the playoffs, and folks in the media should examine how they’ve treated both players.
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