Joba Chamberlain and the appeal of home

Joba Chamberlain said he didn't think about baseball at all during the All-Star break, which he said played a big role in what happened Sunday afternoon when he had one of his best outings of the season.

"I didn’t think about baseball one time," Chamberlain said. "My son’s three-years-old so he kept me pretty busy and we had a lot of fun out back. It was just…home is where your heart is and I think that was something that I needed right there. I love this place [New York] to death, it’s my second home, but going back home and being around my family for four days was probably the best four days I’ve had in my life to put things in perspective and to get a better understanding of how fun this game really can be.”

We saw some emotion from Chamberlain we haven't seen in a while when he struck out Marcus Thames with a 95-mph fastball on a 3-and-2 count to get out of a jam in the fifth. The previous pitch hit 97. Chamberlain punctuated the strikeout with a triple fist-pump and half twirl in front of the mound, a display that hopefully doesn't turn into talk-show fodder but one never knows.

“It was one of those things where you need a strikeout right there,” Chamberlain said. “That’s the one instance where you try to go get a strikeout and be really, really aggressive and it paid off.”

Said Joe Girardi: “I loved seeing it. When he’s showing emotion, he’s usually throwing the ball well.”

As for Girardi lifting Chamberlain after his 107th pitch in the seventh, Chamberlain said he could see his manager's reasoning. The most pitches Chamberlain has thrown this season is 108 - twice - but not since May 16 against the Twins.

"It’s hard to do, but it’s the right thing to do," Girardi said. "He hadn’t been over 100 pitches in a while so we didn’t want to stretch him too far."

“I understand,” Chamberlain said. “I didn’t want to give him the ball, but that’s why we have those guys in the bullpen.”

Phil Coke, who turned 27 today, retired Curtis Granderson with one pitch, Phil Hughes struck out two in the eighth, making it 13 straight relief appearances without surrendering a run, and Mariano Rivera allowed a two-out walk but closed out the Tigers in the ninth for his 26th save.

But the day was about Chamberlain, who had his best outing since his June 1 start in Cleveland.

“Being away for four days I kind of realized, I was having fun but I wasn’t being the Joba Chamberlain that I should have been,” Chamberlain said. “And that’s not good enough. That’s not good enough for my teammates, that’s not good enough for my coaches, that’s not good enough for myself. Just being away, I finally got to it, and it’s back to having fun and being confident and having that little swagger that you need.”

Mark Teixeira, who hit his second go-ahead home run of the series, understood where Chamberlain was coming from.

"All-Star breaks are great," Teixeira said. "Doesn't matter if you're young or if you're a veteran. The younger guys, maybe more of a mental break, the older guys, more of a physical break, but anytime you can get away, clear your mind and be a normal person for a few days, you come back, you're a little more focused, got that fire in your eyes, and Joba had it today."

Comments (18)

Big deal. One good outing. Let’s see him have consistent outings and then I will be impressed. Overall it was a great weekend for the Yanks. Tex and A-Rod are both hot at the same time. We haven't seen that yet this year. I feel sorry for other teams. Watch out Sox here we come!

Gotta love HUGHES! This is a fun game as all homegrown talent pitched, Joba to Coke, to Hughes to MO!

What a great weekend. Great pitching and clutch hitting. What a difference a week makes. HYD is right. It is nice to see all the homegrown talent come through.

All the home grown talent in the world would not have made any diference w/o Tex and Arod hitting - but it sure was sweet!

It was a beautiful weekend for Yankee baseball with excellent pitching and timely hitting. Also gaining two games back from the Red Sox. I would suppress any thoughts of an easy walk into the playoffs as there are 71 games remaining. The Yanks would have to play .600 baseball to capture 94/95 wins which would be just about right for at least a playoff W/C. So, much work to be done and good fortune must fall our way for a trip to the playoffs and ws but I'm enjoying what I see.

Larry is right. There is still a lot of work to be done but I really do feel confident about this teams chances of making the playoffs.

A few thoughts:

~I don't know if it will happen but seeing Joba and Hughes in the bullpen at the same time this year would be something else.

~I had the privilege of moving up to the front row behind the Yanks bullpen after the rain delay Friday night. Getting to watch Mo warm up less than 10 feet away was amazing. He truly is the great player I have been able to follow for their entire career. Everything about him is great. Very sad to think about him and Jeter no longer being in baseball.

~As bad of a year as Wang has had. We still really need him to come back and contribute as a starter down the stretch.

~In a little over a month the Yanks are going to be able to expand their roster and add some defensive depth (Cervelli, Pena, A-Jax) as well as some offensive threats (Shelley D, A-Jax). This will go a long way to being able to help give some guys a rest and keep guys from getting injured down the stretch.

Does anyone know about this guy Yurendell de Caster that the SWB Yanks signed? I see that he can play a lot of positions, but I also see that he is 30. Was he picked up to become the super utility player?

Great game by Chamberlain. I don't get to see a ton of
Yankee games, but it seems he's gotta have that hard, biting
slider that moves away from the RH hitters. He had it
yesterday, and was dominant. It does worry me that even with
runners on, Posada insists on catching that slider using the
backhand, instead of getting squared up, in front of the ball
with his body. Also, Swisher at his best, is merely adequate
in RF. In a big game, ya can't have guys like that out there.
Melky had all kinds of trouble with the Sun, though the
Detroit OF'er seem to handle it just fine. The Yankee OF
defense, whether it's Melky or Damon in LF, and Swisher in
RF, is certainly cause for concern down the stretch and thru
104........................And Maybe More.

104 is not happening. The Yanks would have to play .700 ball from here on out to win 104.

I would say somewhere around 94 would be more realistic. They are playing under .600 ball up until now. If they played .600 ball the rest of the season they would be around 94 wins. Anything less than that and i think there is a good chance they get beat out by the Rays for the wild card.

While I was happily impressed by Joba's outing, his comments still bother me a little bit. I'm sure some of his comments can be taken out of context but it seems to me like he is more worried about "being Joba Chamberlain" the character than being a great pitcher. Fist pumps and twirls do not make a pitcher great, knowing how to pitch and thinking about that do.

Just as I don't get too low over a bad outing, I will not allow myself to get too excited over a good outing against a team that didn't hit well this whole series.
Three wins is three wins though so I'll take 'em all and be happy.

Let's see, the Yanks play the O's now so we can count on 3.5 hour games with slow pitch softball like scores, right?

Other than the Angel series, the Yanks have been HOT for
well over a month. Why doubt they can play .700 ball the last
71 games, especially if they add a SP like Bannister, Halladay,
et al? And don't worry about our record vs. Boston. This is what
peaking at the right time is all about.

104......................And Maybe More.

LEmme just confirm, Mac, that you've already given the Red Sox the Division and in your mind, the Yankees are playing for the wild card???

I'd say the reason is because the Yankees are 2-12 vs. The Red Sox and Angels. They have come up small against good teams and feast on poor teams. While good teams have to do that (the feasting part), they also have to prove they can beat a good team once in a while and they have yet to do that. I'm optimistic though.

Boss- Sent you an email to your home account. Your work email keeps bouncing back to me.

First off, the Tiger outfielders had as much trouble in the sun field
as our guys. If you don't remember, the Tiger leftfielder lost the
ball in the sun and almost got conked on the head with it. Tex
got a double out of that for hustling. Love that Tex! Joba speaking
about himself in the 3rd person, even though he has yet to
accomplish anything is a bit disturbing. I like the arrogance on
the mound but keep it out there. Joba has a lot of maturing
to do. Think he was holding back on throwing hard because he
was scared to re-injure the shoulder. I say, rear back and fire!
If he gets hurt again, then ST can have his wish of Joba in the pen.
Until then, IF KING JOBA THROWS STRIKES, he can beat any
team. Tone down the ego off the field, fat boy!

Lets Go Andy!

ST -

Your name is "Straight Talker" and yet you are one other the most unrealistic talkers on this blog. The Yanks will not be getting Holliday or Bannister. I highly doubt they make any sort of major impact trade.

Playing .650 ball could very well happen. But in this division playing .700 ball for 71 games is extremely unrealistic.

bosstrots2219 - I don't see in any of my posts saying that I am conceding the division to the Sawx. All I stated was that if we win less than 94 games this season that there is a very good chance we get left out of the playoffs. It is a tight division and if we can't win 94+ games it may not get it done.

I actually still stand by my original prediction of the Yanks winning the division with 95 Wins. Sox with 94, Rays with 90.

Yea, your right. If the Yanks got HOLLIDAY, that 104 would
be tough. Now, if they got HALLADAY, that 104 would be
easily within reach.

I replied to your email about two hours ago (FYI).

Wow, Jim. I never got it. I'll check when I get home and answer you from my home e-mail.

Mac, I wasn't trying to be confrontational. I thought that was the case but couldn't tell from your last sentence.

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