Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Joba (almost) goes the distance

Those who've been calling for Joba Chamberlain to pitch the eighth inning for the Yankees got their wish last night, but not how they expected.

Chamberlain, a favorite topic of sports media talking heads, lasted a career-high eight innings Monday night in the Yankees' 5-2 win over the Indians (And also made a heck of a play - see video). He needed only 106 pitches to make it through eight and hand the ball to closer Mariano Rivera, a plan the Yanks would ideally stick to every time he takes the mound. But they've treated young Joba's arm like a vintage sportscar, only to be used sparingly and without putting too many miles on it. Chamberlain won't always be able to breeze through eight innings in an easy 106 pitches like Monday. But if he can begin to work deeper into games and be more efficient, the speculation of him moving back to the bullpen (which the Yanks have given no indication they'll do this year) will quiet down.

That's a good thing for anyone who has him on their fantasy roster, except if you're in a league that counts holds and you're desperate for help there. Joba is much more valuable as an effective starter than a lights-out setup man. If he's capable of more outings like Monday's, you're looking at a pretty nice No. 3 fantasy starter.

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