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Tigers at Yankees: The Underachievers

Thanks to the boys at TBS for allowing me to watch this game.

Today, the underachievers squares off on the mound.

We know about Joba Chamberlain, right? In the 40 days and 40 nights since Joba's last start, we've examined the possibility that he's hurt, and whether or not he is untouchable in trades.

Edwin Jackson was one of the top pitching prospect in baseball for years. The Dodgers called him up when rosters expanded in September 2003 at age 19. He was brilliant. But he got hammered in his September call ups and spot starts, and the Dodgers, were impatient. He was traded in the offseason for Danny Baez and Lance Carter. That's embarrassing.

He pitched out of the bullpen for the Rays in 2006, and he was awful. He appeared in 23 games, and allowed at least a run in 13 of them. In 2007 he moved to the rotation, 23 years old, and was worse than Joba. 1.78 WHIP, 195 H in 165 innings. He improved to league average in 2008 by cutting down his walk rate and was one of the horses the Rays rode to the pennant. He beat the Verducci effect and threw another 183 innings.

But the Rays suspected a ticking bomb, and Jackson was traded again, this time for outfielder Matt Joyce.

Jackson has finally put it together at age 25. 2.6 BB/9, a 1.06 WHIP, and averaging 6.2 innings per outing. He's probably due for some regression on his BABIP, which fell from .351 in 2007 to .301 last year to .254 this season. But his LD% is down about 5% off his career average, so that plus the drop in his BB means that most of his progress is sustainable.

Today, the Yankees face both a great pitcher and a lesson in patience.


Detroit Tigers @ New York Yankees

07/19/09 2:05 PM EDT

Detroit Tigers New York Yankees
Curtis Granderson - CF Derek Jeter - SS
Placido Polanco - 2B Brett Gardner - CF
Miguel Cabrera - 1B Mark Teixeira - 1B
Marcus Thames - DH Alex Rodriguez - 3B
Clete Thomas - RF Hideki Matsui - DH
Brandon Inge - 3B Jorge Posada - C
Josh Anderson - LF Robinson Cano - 2B
Gerald Laird - C Nick Swisher - RF
Ramon Santiago - SS Melky Cabrera - LF