Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Two Hall Of Fame Pitchers And Some Fat Guy

I can't believe I am about to type this, but I completely agree with Hank Steinbrenner. He said after Joba Chamberlain's first start n Tuesday that he doesn't understand why everyone is making such a big deal out of it. "Any other player on any other team" wouldn't have drawn so much attention, so why did Joba? Steinbrenner says it was all media hype.

The problem here is of course that Steinbrenner is about 98% responsible for this media hype because he called his general manager and his manager idiots for not having Joba start and demanded that the poor bastard be yanked out of the bullpen. But that is besides the point. The crux of it is that the last place team in the AL East made a desperate, brain-dead personnel move and took an irreplaceable, lights-out reliever and are going to turn him into a run-of-the-mill #3 or #4 starter. Would that story make SportsCenter if it was the NL East instead of the AL East?

The Yankees are far from out of striking distance with a paltry 104 games left, so why the move now? Granted: this Yankee team is not like the Yankee teams of old that could roll out Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina and David Wells in their primes and turn a 2-game losing streak into a 10-game winning streak. But Joba Chamberlain is also not Roger Clemens. What is his mediocre start every five days going to gain them? A lot less than his presence in the pen every day would have! Don't the Yankees have some Minor Leaguer somewhere that could get the same 5-5 record and 5.30 ERA that Joba will wind up with?

Until yesterday, you knew you had to get to the Yankees' starter because if the game went to the 8th (or sometimes the 7th) and you were behind, it was over. Now, you know you have until the 9th, but the starters are all still pretty average, so Mariano Rivera won't likely matter too often anyway. But at least we will see Joba's ERA and belly get fatter and fatter as he ages. His starter-ERA may dip down under 4.00 someday, but for this season, it should hover in the 5.00-5.50 region.

But hey, I am sure those 6 2/3 innings he made the five guys in the depleted bullpen work yesterday after he got yanked in the third were worth the loss they took and the subsequent losses it will cost them since those relievers are now that much more used up.

Speaking of important pitching roster moves. The Mets won the NL East yesterday with Pedro Martinez' return. Mark this date: Pedro's return was June 3 and the Mets were at .500 in 4th place and 4.5 back.

And the bittersweet pitcher-related story of the day is of course that John Smoltz season has come to an end after it was announced he needs shoulder surgery. This could be the end one of the most unusual and amazing pitching careers of all time. I say it is bittersweet because Smoltz is a Brave, so I am more than happy to see him go, but he is also a really good guy by all accounts and it is too bad to see him go.

Wouldn't it be great if Smoltz, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine all retired this season and went into the Hall together? Of course, I'd like Glavine to stick around because he's on the Braves and sucks now.

No comments: