Tuesday, September 15, 2009

67 Pitches For Joba? Aren't They Afraid He'll Shatter?

I'd love to know what the Yankees are thinking.
I mean really thinking in the way they're using Joba Chamberlain as they head towards the playoffs.
Last night they allowed him to throw 67 pitches in four innings and he looked okay; he threw strikes and allowed four hits; but one of those hits was breaking ball that Vladimir Guerrero tattooed into the left field seats. What's the intent here? They've been talking about going with a three-man rotation in the ALDS, but the way A.J. Burnett's pitched recently makes that scheme just as shaky as the one they've formulated for Chamberlain.
Are they going to start stretching him out just in case Burnett continues pitching as he has recently? They're not sending Burnett to the bullpen, but they could have Chamberlain at the ready for long relief appearance if Burnett pitches poorly. (Joe Girardi had better have a quick hook in the playoffs.)
The "plan" has changed so many times and seems so inordinately half-assed that no one can speculate on what they're doing because it doesn't seem that the Yankees even know what they're going to do and that's one of the problems with having an "organizational philosophy" take hold when bringing in what's essentially a manager who takes orders rather than someone who does what he thinks is right to, y'know, win.
  • Drink the Kool-Aid if you wanna work in this booth:
Taking anything Michael Kay says as part of reality is like watching an infomercial from Kevin Trudeau (do so at your own risk or subversion of any and all rational thought), but John Flaherty has the potential to be a great broadcaster. He's self-deprecatingly funny; he's witty; he's insightful. But it only lasts long enough for him to start joining the chorus of how what the Yankees are doing with Chamberlain is the "right" way to handle the young pitcher.
Flaherty was a journeyman player and I'm sure that while he understands the club has to protect their young investments, I can't believe that he'd be on board with the special floating set of rules that are in evidence for Chamberlain, but he goes along to get along because if you're broadcasting for the Yankees, you'd better be wearing a Yankee t-shirt under your suit or you're liable to find yourself looking for work elsewhere.
  • Don't get too hung up on a late-season hot streak:
The Padres have played very well lately and while that's a positive, they'd be better-served to think before reading too much into what's gone on over the past month heading into next year. Teams that take brief little snippets and expect them to suddenly evolve into normalcy are asking for trouble. They still don't appear prepared to spend much money to get better; some of their young players have talent, but are flawed; and they're still being run by many of the same people who contributed to the mess they were under John Moores and Sandy Alderson over the past couple of years.
The one thing I think of in misinterpreting a small amount of success is the Indians of 1990-1991. People forget about this now that they've been mostly very good for the past 15 years, but the Indians were a bad joke in a hideous ballpark forever. Any and all tendrils to grasp at were reason to overreact, but the team went insane when a young speedster named Alex Cole arrived.
Cole could run, run and run some more and the Indians went so far as to configure the ballpark to him by moving the fences way, way back.
A bad idea.
Cole never replicated his rookie success and fell quickly into what he was----a guy who could run, but not play baseball very well. The Indians reverted the fences to normal before they opened their new ballpark, Jacobs Field; and the club improved quickly to become a force shortly after that.
The Cole experiment was an example of not thinking before making drastic maneuvers. There are very few players around whom one can say, "I'm building around this guy and I'm changing the ballpark to do it" and players who can do little more than run are the worst cases to do such a thing.
  • An epiphany:
I was thinking about who the Braves Tommy Hanson reminded me of and it was always just barely out of my reach to grasp who it was until it finally snapped into place----Jason Isringhausen.
When the Mets brought up Isringhausen, he was a member of Generation K (along with Bill Pulsipher and Paul Wilson) and was expected to lead the Mets to a Braves-style run of young pitching and dominance.
Needless to say, it didn't work out that way.
But Isringhausen arrived in the big leagues amid much fanfare and starstruck awe at his power, confidence and dominance. He blew the league away for 14 starts late in the 1995 season going 9-2 with a 2.81 ERA and great stats across the board. There was a "this big league stuff is easy" attitude hovering around Isringhusen and when reality set in, he struggled, got hurt and wound up having to reinvent himself as a closer four years later.
I'm not suggesting the same thing will happen to Tommy Hanson, but it seems that his first run around the majors has been easy. Too easy.
It doesn't make much sense to continue, so like the Blue Jays and Rays, I'm bagging it. I know when I'm beat. The Padres could actually wind up with a better record than the Mets, which will literally make me sick.


1 comment:

She-Fan said...

I thought Joba got a confidence boost last night and pitched a lot better, more quickly, more efficiently. That's progress. So he'll be in the pen for the postseason. I can think of worse things.