Monday, September 21, 2009

Joba this, Joba that

Joba Chamberlain is "only" the Yankees fourth starter come playoff time.

He won't start until the ALCS, and the Yankees have to make it there first, before they can worry about winning it.

The problem is, what happens when Game four ends up being a pivotal game? Game four, after all, is much more likely to be a pivotal game where one team has a chance to take a 3-1 series lead than it is a chance for the Yankees to sweep their opponent.

The problem with Chamberlain is that the issue doesn't end with him not pitching well--yesterday's performance in Seattle was especially ugly--but that Chamberlain doesn't even admit he's not pitching well.

Check out the audio from LoHud.

At this point in time, Chamberlain is the Yankees' fourth starter only because no other option has presented itself. Sergio Mitre has been so bad he's been banished the the bullpen, and Chad Gaudin falls apart like clockwork after the fifth inning.

River Ave Blues makes an interesting point that the Yankees have brought up Ian Kennedy, but after barely pitching all year due to his injury, he can't seriously be expected to pitch in the playoffs...right?

Right now, the Yankees just need to win one more game--or have Texas lose one more game--to make the playoffs. The division will be a bit harder to come by and the Yanks are doing a good job of making it interesting, but the Yankees should still get that, too.

Thus, the issues of discussion tend to revolve around what will be done in the playoffs. It's clear at this point that the biggest issue the Yankees have going into the playoffs is their starting pitching, and perhaps nothing looms larger than Chamberlain.

We tend to forget Chamberlain's still a young pitcher in his first full year in the rotation, who was hurt last year and is invariably going to struggle. Because he was so good so fast in 2007, we don't allow ourselves the possibility of him struggling. This is perhaps our fault; however, the refusal to admit he's pitching poorly is no one's fault but his own.