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X Marks the Spot

Over at SI.com Cliff takes a look at second-half X-factors who could decide playoff chases. First up, that man Joba:

On Tuesday night, Mariano Rivera announced that he’s going to skip the All-Star Game due to some minor injuries. Rivera has been pitching through the pain and doesn’t expect to go on the disabled list, but he’s unable to pitch more than one inning per appearance, and Yankee manager Joe Girardi has to be extra careful with the 40-year-old’s workload. That means Chamberlain, whose frustrating inconsistency has followed him back to the bullpen, will not only have to get out of his own jams, but could be called upon to close at points in the second half (he has already picked up two saves in the first half). While Rivera has been his usual dominant self thus far, the rest of the Yankee pen has been struggling, hurt, or both (see: Park, Chan Ho) for much of the season. Chamberlain dominated out of the pen before the Yankees moved him into the rotation in mid 2008 (1.32 ERA, 12.1 K/9 in 47 2/3 IP). In an AL East race in which the three best teams in baseball are separated by just three games and at least one will miss the playoffs entirely, Chamberlain needs to find that old consistency and fast to help ensure that the reigning world champions will be back in the playoffs to defend their title.

Tags:  Joba Chamberlain  si.com

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1 a.O   ~  Jul 8, 2010 12:40 pm

I really hope acquiring another bullpen arm is at the very top of Cashman's list of things to do before the trade deadline.

2 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 8, 2010 1:12 pm

I know a lot of Banterers are down on Joba, but I think he'll come through in the 2nd half.
I read a few weeks ago (in the NY Times maybe?) that he was doing an excellent job holding inherited runners, but tending to falter when he comes in to start an inning. That suggests to me his inconsistency is more due to his mental approach. I still have faith he can be a great reliever.

3 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jul 8, 2010 3:51 pm

[2] I'm pretty convinced it's mental as well. I think Joba is more fragile emotionally than the Yankees realized.

4 seamus   ~  Jul 8, 2010 7:07 pm

[2] [3] i completely agree on the joba mental issue. I kind of flip-flop in my mental focus so I can totally relate.

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