Another subpar outing for Joba today. More than anyone on the Yankees' staff, he is the easiet to tell when he doesn't have it, and today that was apparent when he put runners on in the 3rd. The shaking off of Jorge to the point batters are stepping out multiple times in an at-bat, and multiple throws to first are not staples of Joba' repertoire when he's got his best stuff. On the one hand, it does show that for a pitcher still very young and learning how to pitch effectively at the Major League Level, Joba has an excellent feel for his pitches and knows what's working and when. On the other, this is his fifth consective subpar start, which can't make coaches or fans comfortable as we move closer to the postseason. Will the latest revision to "The Joba Rules" help get him back to the form he showed right after the All-Star Game? His next start will tell.
Someone who can share a little of the blame for Joba's recent struggles is pitching coach Dave Eiland. For someone who was put on the coaching staff because of the extensive work he had done with the Holy Trinity (Joba, Hughes, Kennedy) in the minors, Eiland certainly hasn't done much to bolster his resume. Hughes and Kennedy were horrible last year, and Joba has been hit-or-miss all year this year. Their inability to establish consistency, along with pretty much every pitcher on the staff's inability to adjust in games where they struggle brings up a valid question; would Dave Eiland be on the hot seat if the Yankees weren't having the season they're having? He never seems to fix anybody's problems and always comes out of the dugout to talk 2 batters too late, if at all, and today was another perfect example. As soon as Joba started throwing to first and shaking everything off, a good coach would have come out to talk to him and get him to calm down and focus. Eiland stayed in the dugout and ate sunflower seeds. Get off your ass, Dave, and earn your fucking paycheck.
The bullpen is the best collective group of guys since the glory days of the late 90s. Mariano looks like he could pitch into his 50s if he wanted to; Hughes is lights-out and is starting to earn respect from umpires who are more generous with him when he tries to pick corners, Aceves is a modern-day Ramiro Mendoza with his ability to come in and get 2 outs or 4 innings; Robertson has deceptively-electric stuff that nobody in the AL has figured out yet and might have the best curveball on the team; Bruney seems to have regained his early-season form; Damaso Marte has looked good since returning from injury and is only going to get stronger as he gets more innings. Sure, Phil Coke is basically a glorified batting practice pitcher, but with all the other options they have, the Yankees can afford to send him out there now to try to get his mojo back and then bury him in the postseason if he continues to be ineffective.
He may not be the AL MVP, but there's no argument that Mark Teixeira has been the Yankee MVP this season. He's tailor-made for the new ballpark, has a great attitude for playing under the pressure of New York, and has made countless plays at first base this season that Jason Giambi couldn't have made in a video game. Any Yankee infielder who wins a Gold Glove this year owes it to Teix; he has probably saved 20-25 errors easily as first base.
It really can't be said enough how great Derek Jeter has been this year. At the rate he's hitting right now, he'll pass Lou Gehrig for the all-time Yankee hits record some time next week. His play at short has been markedly improved over the last few seasons, and he is, for once, a legitimate candidate for a Gold Glove. When all is said and done, he's going to go down as the greatest shortstop of all-time, whether Tim Kurkjian likes it or not.
Is anybody else getting a bit concerned about the recent Red Sox resurgence? Beckett looks awful right now, but Tim Wakefield is back in the rotation, Clay Buchholz seems like he's finally grown a set and is pitching great, Junichi Tazawa looks like he could be a solid #4 or #5 starter or long reliever in the playoffs, and even Paul Byrd's rotting corpse threw 6 shutout innings today. I know I still feel confident about the Yanks' chances in the postseason based on the last 2 series, but should we be concerned about the Sox again?
Weekend Open Thread
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