No Botha With Joba

Well, it was a great Memorial Day weekend. Nice weather, quiet brunches, Fleet Week, and a bunch of matinee Yankees games. The Yankees have now entered into a more relaxing part of their schedule. This past weekend they played against Cleveland, currently they are facing Baltimore, and up until the 15th (when they face Philadelphia, who are actually struggling right now) the most difficult opponent they will face is Toronto. This is the time to grab wins, and thus far the Yanks have been doing just that…but there is one painful blemish on this streak thus far.

Let us set the stage.

It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon, the first full weekend day of the Memorial Day holiday. The sun was shining bright, the grass was full and green, a light breeze was rolling in off the coast and keeping the humidity from being overpowering. It was a great day for baseball, and our heroes were leading the ball game 10-4 after a reasonable pitching effort from C.C. Sabathia and some great hitting by the corps. It looked to be a game that could just be played out, pitchers would come in from the bullpen, outs would be made, and the Yankees would win their 30th game of the season.

Then disaster.

It began with David Robertson, who after getting an out and giving up a run, left the game unexpectedly injured. Enter Sergio Mitre. He is given as long as he needs to warm up, then promptly throws three balls to walk a batter and is taken out of the game. Next came Damaso Marte. Actually, he did pretty well, so I can’t fault him. He was brought in to deal with one left-handed batter, and he did his job. It may even have been better to leave him in, but who can predict the future (though maybe that should be the Yankees’ next investment)?

Then Joe went out to the mound and motioned to the bullpen for Joba.

Needing only to pick up one out to end the inning, Chamberlain gave up six runs to let the Indians take the lead (11-10). They went on to beat the Yanks 13-11.

So, in case you missed that, let me summarize again. Yankees leading 10-4 in the 7th inning. Yankees losing 13-11 at the end of the 9th inning. W.T.F.

This is something that should not happen, at least not to a quality team that will in all likelihood make it to the post-season. Losing the occasional game to a bad team is acceptable, it happens. Giving up a six run lead to a bad team? Priceless. (Wait, actually I don’t think that is the word I was looking for…)

Really it would seem like Mr. Chamberlain, with all his swanky rules, should be one of the top pitchers on the Yankees. But Phil Hughes, who was far less coddled, has proven to be the better asset. Having whiffed on getting the 5th spot in the rotation, Chamberlain hasn’t even managed to provide a reliable bridge to the Big Mo, and it’s not like we’re even talking about a close game in this instance. Rivera shouldn’t have even been a consideration!

Watching this game was extremely frustrating, even more so because it was four and a half hours long. I probably could’ve read the entire Twilight series cover-to-cover in that time and gotten more enjoyment out of it. I don’t know what needs to be done, and I don’t care how it’s achieved. The Yankees need some stronger performances out of their bullpen, if they want to make it to and win out in the post-season. You hear me, Cashman? Get ‘er done!

On another note, best wishes to David Huff. I hope that he has a good and speedy recovery.

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