"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Feels So Good

The Yankees scored five runs in the seventh inning and beat the White Sox 8-3, completing the weekend sweep. Mark Teixeira had the big three-run shot. He flied out to the warning track in his first two at-bats, whiffed his next time up and then crushed a breaking ball in his fourth at bat. Jeter had two more hits. Jorge Posada was back and he had a couple of hits too. Johnny Damon hit his 24th homer of the year, tying his single season mark set in 2006.

Joba Chamberlain started, threw thirty-five pitches over three innings and was done. Part of the new and revised Joba Rules, which are nothing if not elastic. Alfredo Aceves threw three scoreless for the win. Well, Joba is a luxury-problem now cause the Yanks keep winning. He’s not over-worked and we’ve all got something to squawk about.

Hey, so long as they’re winning…

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1 OldYanksFan   ~  Aug 30, 2009 9:15 pm

via a poster on Lohud:
Humberto Sanchez’ last 10 appearences -
16 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 6 BB, 17 K (0.54 ERA)

2 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Aug 30, 2009 9:17 pm

[1] Wow..thought he was a DL casualty?

Watching Mariners vs Royals on tv here..Zach Greinke is the real deal! But Rowland-Smith matching him so far..oh, and can confirm that the Mariners announcers are dreadful..

Look forward to watching the Yanks on archive later, stuck at home because of the typhoon outside...

3 Diane Firstman   ~  Aug 30, 2009 9:20 pm

Chad Qualls saves Haren's win for d'backs, but dislocates kneecap on final play of the game .... ouch!

4 Mattpat11   ~  Aug 30, 2009 9:22 pm

If this frigging clown show is the only way that Joba Chamberlain can be a starter, just put him in the bullpen. I never really had any faith in the Yankees braintrust (based on their total inability to evaluate major league pitching) to begin with, but their handling of this situation over the month is a total mess.

And we get to do it again with Phil Hughes next year! YAY!

5 monkeypants   ~  Aug 30, 2009 9:28 pm

[4] Yep, and despite the fact that Hughes had been a starter all along and *should* have been in line to be a "regular" starter with no significant innings limit next year.

but their handling of this situation over the month is a total mess.

I would go further--their handling of the situation for the entire season has been pretty much a mess. In fact, the entire Wang/Hughes/Joba/Aceves/Fifth Starter dynamic has been comical, and suggests not only that they have no real "plan," but also that decisions surrounding young arms and injured players are ad hoc and reactionary.

6 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Aug 30, 2009 9:34 pm

[5] Are there examples from other teams of them just completely botching their young staff in this way? I don't mean the Dusty Baker School of 150 Pitches, but just having a "plan" so mystifying that no one can follow it...?

7 Mattpat11   ~  Aug 30, 2009 9:37 pm

[6] There is no plan. Its like the "plan" we had a few years ago that led us to Kei Igawa. This organization is clearly just winging it, and its embarrassing.

8 OldYanksFan   ~  Aug 30, 2009 9:54 pm

I don't like the way the pitching 'rules' have come down, but I have to remind people of the following caveat:
We MUST Win!
No other team has this mandate. Other teams can afford to develop/nurture players because the future is always more important then the present.
Not so with the Yankees... especially going NINE WHOLE YEARS without winning a WS!
Both (and especially) Joba and Phil were brought up prematurely.
I don't think we do the Marte/Nady deal if we didn't HAVE to (try and) win in '08.
We don't trade Vaquez and co. for RJ.
The list goes on.
The Yankees have made many questionable moves over the years, all geared at winning THIS year, at the expense of youth, flexibility and payroll.

You can not compare the Yankees to other teams. In MLB, there are the Yankees, and then all the other teams. We work on a different directive.

Having to Win is a heady responsibility, and it does have it's drawbacks.

9 monkeypants   ~  Aug 30, 2009 10:01 pm

[8] I agree with everything you wrote, except one thing: I do not believe that Hughes was brought up too soon. Expectations may have been too high, but he was ready to leave AAA behind him. Now, since coming to the bigs, his handling has been less than optimal.

10 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Aug 30, 2009 10:03 pm

[8] The best way to win consistently is to develop strong young pitchers..are they Yankees close to doong this?

Zach Geinke throwing a one-hitter against the M's..making them look silly up there, what a great pitcher!

11 OldYanksFan   ~  Aug 30, 2009 10:13 pm

[9] Certainly Phil was very mature, but he was brought up in the last 3rd of 2007, just a few months older then 21. I can't quite remember, but didn't we have pitching issues? Was Moose in the toilet? Other pitching problems? I'll guess the Yanks would have preferred to keep Phil in the minors for the entire 2007. I believe Cashman publicly said Phil would NOT be 'rushed up' in 2007.

12 monkeypants   ~  Aug 30, 2009 10:21 pm

[11] And he pitched well in 2007 (100 ERA+, about 5.2 INN/Start) despite having a hamstring injury. So I see no problem in calling him up in 2007. But even if he was rushed in 2007, he should certainly have been in the rotation n 2008 in any case. So overall, I do not see Hughes as being rushed very much.

13 Diane Firstman   ~  Aug 30, 2009 10:23 pm

All Yankee pitchers age 22 or younger (as of June 30 of that season) from 1973-2009, by # of innings pitched in that season:


14 monkeypants   ~  Aug 30, 2009 10:25 pm

[13] Whenever I see references to young Dave Righetti, I can't help but wonder what could have been.

15 OldYanksFan   ~  Aug 30, 2009 10:29 pm

[12] " I do not see Hughes as being rushed very much."
Agreed. He was only rushed 'a little'. ;-)

16 OldYanksFan   ~  Aug 30, 2009 10:33 pm

[14] We got 10 very good years from Rags and traded him at the perfect time. What was the problem?

17 monkeypants   ~  Aug 30, 2009 10:40 pm

[15] I guess I don't see calling up very talented young players as "rushing" them. Both Hughes and Chamberlain were successful, which suggests that they were ready for the jump to MLB and thus not rushed.

My problem is that the Yankees, once they call up a young player, habitually show a lack of patience. And more recently, they seem to jerk around these players while calling it a "plan."

I sometimes wonder if it has been so long since the Yankees had a young prospect that they did not trade away--and especially long since they had a young starting pitcher prospect--that they are simply confused and don't know what to do.

18 monkeypants   ~  Aug 30, 2009 10:48 pm

[16] I have always wondered if he would not have been more valuable as a starter than as a closer. Frankly, he was a very good but not great closer. Yes, he had a bunch of saves, but his other numbers were not really that good for an "ace" reliever of the time--he had basically three great years as a closer. And of course, starters are more valuable than relievers in almost all cases.

Moreover, his move to the BP, as I recall, was basically a panic decision, and not because he was "failing" as a starter. In his last year as a starter, he gave 200+ innings at 110+ ERA+. Now imagine if he gave 10 years of that.

In 1985 he had a very fine season, 100+ INN, 29 saves, 145 ERA+. But what did the 1985 Yankees need more, Righetti closing or another starter instead of the likes of Ed Whitson and Joe Cowley?

The more I look back on it, the more I am convinced that his best years were wasted in the BP.


19 seamus   ~  Aug 30, 2009 10:54 pm

[2] Greinke is the real deal. Saw him go against Washburn in Detroit a couple weeks ago. Detroit won with a walk off in the bottom of the 9th of a 0-0 game. Greinke came out in the 8th if I remember right. what a treat that game was!!!

20 thelarmis   ~  Aug 30, 2009 11:00 pm

[13] "dianagram" - i LOVE it!!! : )

21 seamus   ~  Aug 30, 2009 11:02 pm

Has anyone here ever actually done any strategic planning? And implementation of plans? You'd be a terrible manager if your plan did not change multiple times over the course of a project. I really don't see the issue. You lay out a plan, but the pitcher doesn't seem to be responding to it. So you adapt. You revisit the plan, taking into account new information you've garnered while attempting to implement the plan. Why is this so confusing to understand?

I've done some training in planning (not a lot admittedly) but the one thing the I've always explained to folks is that they are going to put together a plan. And two weeks (give or take) into that plan, it will never look the same. And that is perfectly ok. It isn't the plan, it is the principles and facts that got you there. Plus the new information you retrieved as you started to implement it. So you adapt and your plan gets better.

Changing your plan doesn't mean you are winging it. More accurately, people who don't change and adapt their plans, sometimes dramatically, as needed are terrible managers.

22 monkeypants   ~  Aug 30, 2009 11:02 pm

Here's an old article from the NYTimes in 1989, when the Yankees were considering moving Rags back to the rotation.


Some of the quotes are absolute gold.

Only months after the Yankees revealed their intention to make the left-handed pitcher a starter again - an idea that Righetti had finally warmed to -they now say the prospect has become less certain as the days have passed. And Righetti, knowing that change is constant on the Yankees, has gone from accepting this new fate to feeling a sense of dissatisfaction.

''I'm not real happy now,'' he said recently. ''I was looking forward to the change. I felt like I was stagnating in the bullpen.

It is Righetti's nature, as the loyal and willing Yankee, not to stir controversy, and he likely will not begin now. But there is a sense that he is becoming impatient, perhaps even that he feels he has been taken for granted by the team. If it seems that he does not care much about his role, it is an inaccurate image.

''I do care,'' he said. ''It gets old after a while. I've been here 10 years. They should know by now what I should be doing. Anybody who's played any sport for 10 years should have a feeling that he knows where the team will put him.''

But if he returns to the Yankee bullpen, he said he can only pitch effectively by pitching a lot. He worked just 69 innings last season, a career low.

''I'm a garbage man,'' he said. ''I need to pitch at any given time. I don't necessarily have to finish a game. We blew a lot of games in the sixth and seventh innings, when I should have been in there. Sometimes that's when a game needs to be stopped. If you give me the chance, I'll get hot.''

23 thelarmis   ~  Aug 30, 2009 11:02 pm

[19] just saw the greinke highlights from today. philthy mcnasty!!!

24 Mattpat11   ~  Aug 30, 2009 11:04 pm

[17] I think you have to throw in a healthy amount of Mark Prior Hysteria. Everyone is so afraid that they'll "create" the next Mark Prior that they've taken everything to the hilarious extreme.

25 monkeypants   ~  Aug 30, 2009 11:04 pm

[21] I guess you have more confidence that a) there ever was a "plan", and b) that subsequent adaptations to said plan were based on careful observation and the like.

26 seamus   ~  Aug 30, 2009 11:05 pm

I really like this new plan with Joba. It allows him to keep his routine. Maintain a cycle of preparation and performance and string together some good outings. Also, because he doesn't have to stretch out for long innings, he can focus on the 3 innings he is in. It isn't just pro-forma cookie cutter managing so I realize it is going to be questioned by some, but I think it is an excellent adaptation to his struggles and the need to limit his innings.

27 seamus   ~  Aug 30, 2009 11:06 pm

[25] I don't see any evidence that there wasn't a plan or careful observation. Would anything short of holding a hard copy "plan" in your hands prove otherwise?

28 thelarmis   ~  Aug 30, 2009 11:08 pm

[22] wow, thanks for copying/pasting that!

29 seamus   ~  Aug 30, 2009 11:08 pm

[22] good stuff!

30 OldYanksFan   ~  Aug 30, 2009 11:10 pm

[18] But MP, the Yankees DO have a plan for both Phil and Joba, as outlined in detail, in #2 below:
#1: WIN the World Series.
#2: Everything else comes second.

Phil is in the BP because we need him there in order to Win Now. His development becomes the secondary issue. The Joba rules? Why not let him pitch a regular routine until he hits 145 IP and then close him down (like the other 29 teams would do)? Because we need him for the PS (and his 160+ IP). The Joba rules are really the Win Now rules. Joba's development becomes the secondary issue.

That's the catch. Every other team would make a Joba and a Phil their #1 priority. But the Yanks ALWAYS have a fixed #1 priority. And THEN, everything else comes 2nd.

31 seamus   ~  Aug 30, 2009 11:10 pm

ok, i'm totally posting and running. sorry folks. i'm off to bed after a long weekend of non-stop work. and back to work in the morning. ugh.

32 Mattpat11   ~  Aug 30, 2009 11:16 pm

[27] I think people see similarities between this and other bullshit Yankee "plans" that essentially boiled down to "throw shit at the wall and see what sticks"

33 thelarmis   ~  Aug 30, 2009 11:16 pm

"Well, we came to New York and visited the new Yankee Stadium. It is a very nice ballpark, and the hotel we stayed at was also very nice," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "That's all I have to say about these last three days."

34 thelarmis   ~  Aug 30, 2009 11:23 pm

"I'm expecting to play tomorrow," Damon said.

35 monkeypants   ~  Aug 30, 2009 11:24 pm

[27] You're asking for evidence for a negative (i.e., that there was no plan), which is somewhat difficult. It seems to me the burden of proof is on those to prove the positive (i.e., that a plan existed).

But to play along--the entire season the Yankees claimed to have a plan to limit Joba's innings, and yet nothing emerged. In fact, one widely assumed part of any plan--that Hughes would take over some starting innings--evaporated when he was moved to the pen, and we must agree that this was an ad hoc decision, not part of any plan.

Then it was decided to, it seems, to skip a some of Joba's starts. Maybe this was part of the plan all along, who knows. And he responded well, throwing some strong games after the ASG when he was on extended rest. Then the plan was to pitch Joba occasionally on extended rest, but he had a couple of bad starts, so now it is decided to pitch him on regular rest but limit his innings. Yet there as much evidence to suggest that throwing him on extended rest worked (e.g. after the ASG) as much as it didn't (e.g., recent starts). So I have a hard time believing that any careful observation went into the most recent modification of the supposed pre-existing plan.

At the same time, the Joba "plan" cannot be viewed in a vacuum, but must be seen in conjunction with other personnel moves, especially concerning Mitre, Gaudin, and, yes, Hughes. Let's give them a pass on Hughes. What was an ad hoc and essentially unplanned decision to move Hughes to the pen (stemming largely from Joba getting hit by a line drive and the team overreacting) has evolved into the incredible disappearing Hughes eighth inning guy thing. OK, I accept that. Yet all the while, the use of Mitre and Gaudin has been perplexing: Mitre failed his way into more starts, both flipped in and out of the rotation, and most recently, Gaudin was used--indeed burned--in a blowout the day before the team was going to use Joba for three innings. This is the plan? To burn the "long man" the day before Joba will be on a very strict innings limit?

Meanwhile, I actually like the current plan of regular starts with limited innings. It's so obvious, in fact, one wonders why they didn't go with this plan all along. Again, I have trouble believing that this is because of master strategic planning with careful tactical adaptations.

36 monkeypants   ~  Aug 30, 2009 11:28 pm

[30] But I disagree. If the plan was really to WIN NOW, they would have traded them for a stud like Santana (last year) or Halladay (this year), or they would ignore things like innings limits and go balls to the walls with Joba and Hughes. So, as I see it, they ARE trying to balance future considerations with present needs. The problem as I see it is that they keep tinkering with the balance, often in some reactionary fashion, and then call it a "plan."

37 monkeypants   ~  Aug 30, 2009 11:34 pm

[30] I will say, though, that's a pretty funny post. Well played!

38 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Aug 31, 2009 12:17 am
39 Raf   ~  Aug 31, 2009 8:59 am

[1] That's nice and all, but I believe he's doing that against AA Trenton.

based on their total inability to evaluate major league pitching

Um, no... There have been a lot more effective pitchers on the Yanks during the Cashman era than haven't.

[6] Not really, but they tried it last year with Hughes, Kennedy, & Chamberlain on the staff. I don't know why they didn't try something similar this year. I have nothing to back this up, but I think Chamberlain may have shown up out of shape and doesn't have the necessary stamina to be a starter at this time. I'm more annoyed with Hughes use than Joba's

[11] There were a number of injuries to the 2007 pitching staff, that led to Hughes, Kennedy & Chamberlain being called up.

[14] Same here, it's not like he was terrible as a starter either. IIRC the move was sold as the Yanks having too many starters, and a void in the pen with Gossage going to SD. I think the move was supposed to be temporary.

[16] Rags left as a FA (the Jints signed him), he wasn't traded.

[17] Even so, there wasn't this much back and forth with Pettitte, Hitchcock and the like when they were called up. Even other teams around the league start their pitchers in the pen, then move them to the rotation. Some of them actually start their pitchers in the rotation.

This is the plan? To burn the “long man” the day before Joba will be on a very strict innings limit?

It appears Aceves is the long man, or that Gaudin/Aceves/Mitre are some combination 5th starter/long man. Whether that's part of the grand plan, I cannot say.

40 Raf   ~  Aug 31, 2009 9:01 am

[30] I distinctly remember that there were no rules for Joba in the playoffs in 2007. The rules were only in effect during the regular season.

41 Yankster   ~  Aug 31, 2009 9:23 am

I'd like to echo a few things that Seamus said before taking off: A plan rarely looks like a plan from the outside. I do a lot of planning and the only time what I did looks planned is in retrospect when I construct a narrative to make the process appear to be linear. I think the Joba plan is actually still a few rules that are not guided so much by an innings limit as by a recovery per innings limit. These were the explicit Joba bullpen rules before and they seem to be the Hughes rules too. That is, the total number of innings doesn't matter as much as the limiting of initial strain by capping pitches followed by significant rest to let the muscular microtears heal. Anything that fits that framework is on-plan.

There was a good little league pitching article in the NYtimes a few weeks ago that went into how the recovery from muscle microtears guides MLB pitcher management (and hasn't been used in Little League).

In recent Joba comments he seemed really pleased with the predictability of his regimen and understanding (if somewhat frustrated) about the innings limit. This compares favorably to his reaction to the long rest strategy they wanted to try before.

42 Rich   ~  Aug 31, 2009 9:44 am

[39] I think Chamberlain may have shown up out of shape and doesn’t have the necessary stamina to be a starter at this time

I'm not sure about whether or not he was in shape, but the shoulder injury almost certainly affected his offseason throwing program, so I have thought that arm strength has been an issue all season...at least I hope that's it.

43 The Hawk   ~  Aug 31, 2009 1:07 pm

I've said it before and I'll say it again, but I don't think getting Chamberlain ready for the post season should be a priority. I'd prefer he not pitch in playoffs, at least as a starter.

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