I've been nursing one of my crazy ideas for the last week.
You know how it goes: I thinks of something, dismiss it, and then it comes back and chews on my brain stem until I pay more attention.
And as crazy ideas go, I think this one makes more sense than my usual:
Joba Chamberlain is hurt. Again.
I don't know which part of him is hurt. I don't know how badly he's hurt- will the extended break of the last week be enough? Will he need a DL stint? Will he need surgery?
Consider the splits:
Before: 5.2IP/ start, 40.2IP, 40H, 21BB, 40K, .270/.376/.419
After: 5.1IP/start, 47.2IP, 55H, 21BB, 37K, .286/.366/.464
What happened in between? Joba took a line drive off his right knee (his drive leg).
Counter-arguments I agree with: Small Sample Size, BABIP, Bad Luck.
Counter-arguments that don't hold water:
1) He pitched an 8 inning gem two starts later. At this point, that start is the outlier.
2) He can't be dumb enough to pitch through pain. I'd bet it doesn't hurt him- maybe he's compensating in some way that could lead to future trouble in another part of his body (by the way, if you didn't read that article about Jeff Francis you're missing out).
3) The numbers are too similar to indicate a difference. I see a drop in Ks, a rise in Hs, and as this article from River Ave Blues illustrates, his fastball was coming in at 93 with flashes of 97 before the game against the Tribe. He's not been there consistently since then. Something has changed.