Thursday, October 1, 2009

Thanks, But That Would Be A Complete Waste Of A Roster Spot...

Good morning, Fackers. Last night, a suddenly contrite and shockingly self-actualized Joba Chamberlain told reporters that he would "fold towels" if that's what it took to win with the Yankees during the postseason.

Aside from the towel quote that Sam Borden transcribed in his post, here is another exchange that caught my ear from the audio he provided.
Joba: You know, I didn't have fastball command at all. It could have been a lot worse than it was but it was just lack of fastball command from the get-go... Mechanics-wise, I wasn't great. My delivery wasn't great and the delivery affects your command in every aspect.
Kim Jones: You were so good your last time out. How do you explain the inconsistency?
Joba: If I had an explanation, I could probably fix, you know, quicker than things go. That's part of this game and that's why people go in and do bullpen work and look at watch video and figure out what you can do better.
So he did have a bad outing because the players on the other team were "great hitters" or "a couple pitches" that went wrong as he claimed in the past.

Perhaps this is only because the Royals are astoundingly bad at hitting, but more likely it's that someone with the Yankees organization finally explained to Mr. Chamberlain how the media works. They aren't your parents trying to get you to admit your shortcomings as a way to make you take responsibility for them. Reporters need to pair your performance with a reaction so they can write a story about it that conveys what happened to the fans and get the fuck out of there. That process doesn't work when you give up 7 runs and say everything is fine and dandy.

It turns out that Joba wasn't just a delusional headcase, unable to acknowledge his mistakes. He was a kid from Nebraska being forced to come to terms with his failures in front of cameras and reporters with microphones and was getting a little defensive.

Joba mostly dodged questions about about his place on the postseason roster but made clear with his offer to do the work of a clubhouse attendant that he's not going to pout about being used out of the bullpen. I personally think that he is still enough of an asset to warrant occupying a spot on the postseason roster. I'd prefer a hypothetical ALCS Game 4 start to be made by Chad Gaudin and backed by Alfredo Aceves but Joba is still a better option to pitch an inning or two out of the bullpen than Brian Bruney. Maybe this is wishful thinking, but Joba seems to find his stroke when the pressure builds; Bruney just walks a lot of guys.

Since today is an off day, it's conceivable that Girardi uses Chamberlain sometime during the last two games of the Tampa Bay series to get him an inning or two out of the 'pen if indeed they plan on bringing him along for the ALDS. It would give him 3 or 4 days of rest which should be enough to free him up for a limited number of pitches.

I'm a lot less worried about Chamberlain's role in the postseason than I was a week or two ago, though. He's going to be one the the least important players not named Eric Hinske on the postseason roster if he is even ultimately included on it. The Yanks have won 102 games this year in spite of Joba, not because of him.

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