When controversy strikes the Yankee clubhouse, everyone has an opinion about it. Today’s Joba Chamberlain opinion comes to us from Johnny Damon via Tyler Kepner and the Bats blog:
Speaking of Chamberlain, here’s Johnny Damon’s take on his role. It seems to be the majority opinion of the veterans in the clubhouse: “Joba as a starter, he has a chance to help us out once every five days. Him coming in and bridging the gap to Mariano, he’s got a chance to do that three or four times during those five games.
Damon added: “Our objective is to win games. Down the road, if we can find someone else like him to throw that eighth inning, then so be it, he’ll be able to start. But he’s helping us win too many games so far this year.”
The emphasis, of course, is mine.
Johnny Damon’s math, in my opinion, is off a bit. Let’s say the Yankees play three games every five days in which they absolutely need Joba Chamberlain to pitch the 8th. I would consider that to be a one- or two-run save situation in the 8th inning or a situation, like last night, where the game could get out of hand in the 7th. Joba would then be throwing at most three innings every five days.
That math translates to about 100 innings pitched in a 162-game season, and only overworked folks like Scott Proctor see that sort of bullpen use and bause. Joba the starter could be throwing at least six innings every five days for something along the lines of 180-200 innings pitched a season. It’s a no-brainer in terms of numbers.
But what I find interesting about this short piece is how Kepner notes that Damon and the other Yankee veterans all see to prefer Joba in the 8th. To me, it seems as though the idea of Joba has become something of a crutch for the Yankees. Even if he pitches just once in five days because the Yanks lose two games and are winning the other two by lopsided margins, the idea that Joba is in the bullpen does more for the Yankees’ psyche than his presence does in the games.
That, however, is no way to win championships.