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Execution is the Problem – Not the Rules

By Mike Silva ~ September 16th, 2009. Filed under: Mike Silva.

Joel Sherman wrote yesterday an interesting column about the “Joba Rules”. Immediately upon it being published twitter lit up with gloating Yankee sycophants. Even a loyal reader, who disagrees with my Joba position, emailed it to me. The piece provided outlined the following:

- Joba is 24 and never has pitched a full six months as a starter.

- Chamberlain’s body and mind are not ready for 200 innings.

- Joba’s 32 starts will be the most for a Yankees pitcher under 24 since Andy Pettitte (1996).

- He is just learning the value of a pickoff move.

- There are in game mechanical flaws and hitches that impact his velocity.

- His off speed pitches are inconsistent and even described as “sloppy”.

Take off your pinstriped colored glasses for one minute and ask yourself this: Does this sound like a big league pitcher or minor league pitcher? Forget the numbers for as second. Should you be entrusting Game 4 of a playoff series to pitcher that has inconsistent mechanics, still learning how to hold runners, and mentally unprepared? I think the answer is pretty clear. Now ask yourself the next question: Have the execution of the Joba rules helped this situation? Is Joba Chamberlain a better pitcher today than June? I believe the answer is no.

I brought up Tommy Hanson during last night’s show. The kid is 22 years old, already won ten games, and pitched seven innings or more in 6 of his 18 starts. On September 9th Hanson went 8 innings against Houston. In contrast, Joba has pitched 10 innings this month. While Hanson is polishing his craft Chamberlain is producing spring training “B” squad stat lines. Who would you trust with a playoff start today? Hanson by a mile. You can’t convince me that pitching three innings and going to the weight room is preparing a young pitcher for a playoff appearance. In the end Joba’s development should not take precedence over the Yankees season. Unfortunately that is what appears is the case.

I have no problem with the Yankees being cautious with Chamberlain. He has a great arm which is something that doesn’t grow on trees. My issue is with the schedule Joba has been on. Couldn’t they have eased him into the season? Perhaps start him at Scranton or, if weather was a concern, send him to extended spring or Tampa. Have him throw these 3 inning stints the first month of the year and get him started May 1st. We all know he can get minor league hitters out, but this is about improving the process, not the result. Atlanta didn’t bring up Hanson till June 7th and they had a greater need for pitching than the Yankees. I also don’t understand why, if you are so concerned about his development, you didn’t bring in one adequate backup behind him. Losing Chien Ming Wang was a bad break, but is Josh Towers, Chad Gaudin, and Sergio Mitre acceptable? With the financial clout of the Yankees couldn’t they acquire one decent starter, or a bullpen arm so Phil Hughes could be Joba’s backup?

Joel Sherman makes some great points, but the big picture is what I have been preaching about. Unlike other talk radio heads (see Mike Francesa) I have embraced opposing opinion here. I even brought Rick Peterson on the show to get his thoughts. Everyone seems to ignore the bigger picture with this situation. It’s not about the rules, but the execution that bothers me.

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Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

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3 Responses to Execution is the Problem – Not the Rules

  1. Paul Catalano

    Totally agree, Mike. i wrote an article similar to what you say here. Chamberlain just doesn’t know how to pitch yet. I am okay with being cautious with him, but he really doesn’t need to go into the offseason with the idea that he must better himself and learn how to pitch with some consistency, and mental toughness.

  2. Ed

    I think that a large part of Joba’s late season ineffectiveness is due to him being stretched past his past limits. His really bad stretch started the start after he hit the 110 innings mark on the season, which matched his total from 2007 and was higher than his 2008 total. It’s been several years since he’s been asked to pitch this much, so he’s having trouble.

    It’s a necessary hurdle to pass, but no matter how you managed his innings this year, I think he’d still be hitting a wall around this point. Maybe this approach will work out better, as he’s had several weeks of light work to rest and is getting worked back into shape. Resting him earlier might’ve resulted in him slowing down now, with little time to try to correct it.

  3. Mo

    You cannot plan that way. If you have him doing fewer innings at the start, you run the risk of what you had last season- the player gets hurt, and then you are behind on innings. Joba would have had more leeway if he had pitched more innings last season, but the injury prevented that. You need to let him pitch at the start, and then shut him down or do what the Yankees are doing later.

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