I'm not an alarmist. I'm not worried about the division lead, or the best record in baseball, or the historical position of this team. Those things are secure. But I'm a little alarmed watching Joba Chamberlain's post game conference on YES.
"My delivery was great."
"My fastball velocity was more consistant."
"They were good pitches, they just put some good swings on them."
"My slider was great."
"I had my pitch sequences working."
It sounds crazy, no? How could he think he has everything working? How could Joba possibly think that 7 runs in 2 innings was even remotely close to following any kind of game plan?
Are you ready for the answer?
Joba's pitching as well as he can. Because he's done. There are no bullets left in the gun, and running him out there is just cruelty on the part of Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi.
Quick note: pfx is the difference in the movement of the theoretical 'spinless' pitch and the actual pitch thrown. Basically, it gives us a zero to measure movement against.
Now, in that second inning when Joba had those pitch sequences working, his fastball was between 93-95 with 12-13" of pfx. His slider was clocking 86-87 with 3-6" of apparent movement. Look back at this Hardball Times article from last June:
Chamberlain’s [mid-90's] fastball comes in 10.8 inches higher than a theoretical spin-less pitch thrown at the same speed—almost two inches more than the average fastball. Whereas the average slider has about 4 inches of vertical movement on it, Chamberlain’s slider actually drops a bit more in comparison to that theoretical spin-less pitch thrown at the same speed.
Joba's pitches still line up with his historical profile, but he's missing that late life that keeps the ball off the sweet spot.
I'm not an alarmist. I think about the claims I make before I post them here. I've been thinking about this one since the Joba Rules started fluctuating in August: what we're doing isn't working, and it's time to shut down Joba Chamberlain for 2009. They did it for Phil Hughes for his first couple of professional season, and he's dominating the 8th inning. The M's did it for King Felix his first couple of seasons, and he's dominating the league. It's time to do it for Joba.
The 23 year old has thrown 46.1 more innings than he threw last season. The Yankees need to admit that Joba will not be starting any Game 4, and sit him down for the season. Give that arm 5 months to rest and let's see how the pitches move in February.