Joba lasted his usual three innings in Sunday’s 7-1 loss to the Mariners, and they weren’t pretty: seven earned runs on six hits, including a three-run dinger to Griffey. The Yankees couldn’t muster any offense, either; only Tex had a pulse. The bright spot was Mitre, who threw five scoreless innings in relief.
So what’s the real reason Joba has baffled everybody with his ineffectiveness this year? Could it be that he never pitched a full season in Triple A? That he shouldn’t have been moved from the pen to the rotation? That the Joba Rules messed with his mind? That he’s injured and not telling anyone?
All of the above are plausible answers, but I’ve come up with some other possibilities that, if implemented, could salvage his season. Here we go.
#1) Joba Should Take Back His Birth Name.
As everyone knows by now, his little niece couldn’t pronounce his real name, Justin, and the nickname “Joba” stuck. But pitchers named Justin do extremely well in baseball, as in this guy. Change it back.
#2) The Yankees should put Harlan Chamberlain, Joba’s father, on the payroll.
Joba went home to Nebraska during the All-Star break and pitched great when he first returned to the team. Whatever Harlan said or did worked miracles. Make Harlan an “advisor” and let him coach his son. He’d be better than Dave Eiland.
#3) Joba Should Hang Out With Roger Clemens.
No, really. When Clemens was with the Yankees in ’07, he mentored Joba and preached throwing strikes, being aggressive, attacking the zone. Whether the Rocket also taught him about Icy Hot liniment treatments I couldn’t tell you, but what harm could they do?
#4) The YES Network should produce a “Yankeeography” about Joba.
I realize that Yankeeographies are reserved for players who’ve been been with the team awhile, not to mention excelled as Yankees, but it would give Joba confidence to know that the organization still believes in him, despite his suckitude.
#5) Joba should come over to my house while he’s in SoCal.
He won’t be pitching in the Angels series. He’ll have plenty of time on his hands. He should get in his rental car, drive up to Santa Barbara and let me explain the facts of life to him over a nice home-cooked meal. And then I’ll pop in the DVD of “Bull Durham” and make him watch the scene between Crash Davis (Kevin Costner) and Nuke LaLoosh (Tim Robbins) that goes like this.
Crash: “You’ve got a gift. When you were a baby, the gods reached down and turned your right arm into a thunderbolt. You’ve got a Hall of Fame arm, but you’re pissing it away.”
Nuke: “I ain’t pissing nothing away. I got a Porsche already. I got a 911 with a quadraphonic Blaupunkt.”
Crash: “You don’t need a quadraphonic Blaupunkt. What you need is a curveball. In the show, everybody can hit a fastball.”
Nuke: “Well, how would you know? You’ve been in the majors?”
Crash: “Yeah, I’ve been in the majors. I was in the show for 21 days once – the 21 greatest days of my life. You never handle your luggage in the show. Somebody else carries your bags. You get white balls for batting practice. The ballparks are like cathedrals. The hotels all have room service. The women all have long legs and brains.”
Nuke: “They’re really hot, huh?”
Crash: “Yeah, and so are the pitchers. They throw ungodly breaking stuff in the show – exploding sliders. You could be one of those guys.”
I hope Joba takes me up on my offer. There are lessons to be learned from baseball movies, whether you’re a pitcher named Nuke LaLoosh or Joba Chamberlain.
No, I didn’t cry over this one. I didn’t really expect the Yankees to pull off a four-game sweep of the Jays, and going 5-2 on the homestand wasn’t exactly the end of the world. For the most part, the team has played well lately and showed a lot of comeback-y-ness (my new favorite word).
Today’s 7-6 defeat marked, among other things, the debut of Eric Hinske in pinstripes and it was eventful. First, he put the Yanks on the board with his solo shot in the third. Yay!
Then, he struck out on what would have been ball four to end the game in the bottom of the ninth. Boo!
He even figured in one of the game’s crazy umpiring mistakes when he was called out at second on Gardner’s fielder’s choice. It wasn’t even close. Wally Bell is probably a decent enough guy, but MLB needs to check him for cataracts (and bubble gum-induced tooth decay).
Or maybe Bell subscribes to the Marty Foster school of umpiring. As Foster told Jeter after that ridiculous call at third in the first inning: “You don’t have to be tagged to be out.” Huh?
(So much for Girardi’s ejections being the Yankees’ lucky charm.) It’s fun to blame the umps, but they didn’t cause Pettitte’s ineffectiveness. That homer to McDonald on a 3-2 pitch in the seventh was a killer. It gave the Blue Jays a 5-1 lead and prompted the requisite goodbye conference on the mound.
Am I the only one who’d love to know what’s really being said when a pitcher is about to depart? It can’t just be “Tough luck and you’ll get ’em next time.” Well, maybe it can. Robinson Cano doesn’t look like he said much of anything.
I doubt Bruney had time for a goodbye conference. He came in, gave up a couple of doubles and a walk to put the Jays ahead 7-1, and was promptly pulled. How long can Girardi use the “rust” excuse for him?
Robertson and Albaladejo both did a nice job holding down Toronto’s offense so the Yankees could display their comeback-y-ness. We chipped away in the seventh, thanks to Swisher’s bases-loaded single, for 7-3. We tacked on another in the eighth, on Jeter’s bases-loaded walk, for 7-4. And then came the ninth. Would there be a comeback? A celebration? A pie?
With two outs, there were singles by Jorge, Cano and Matsui to bring the Yankees excruciatingly close to tying the score. It was 7-6 when Hinske stepped in. He could have become an instant Yankee hero, destined to watch himself over and over on a “Yankeeography.” But no. Instead, he was this.
And so it’s on to Minneapolis to face the Twins before the All-Star break. I’m having a hard time getting it through my head that the 2009 season is half over. Didn’t we just say how we couldn’t wait for baseball to start? Time does fly.
And finally, because I bummed myself out with that last paragraph, here’s some funny video a friend sent me today. It has nothing to do with baseball. But if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s worth a smile.