It certainly seemed that way last night when the Yankees had a 6-0 lead in the eighth inning and Joe Girardi opted for primary setup man Kerry Wood. With a five-run lead in the ninth, Girardi didn’t mess around and went with closer Mariano Rivera for the third time in four days.
A 6-0 or 6-1 lead should be safe with the last guy in the bullpen, but Girardi treated the eighth and ninth innings like they were the last two of the year. I guess I’m OK with that since the Yankees don’t play until Friday no matter what happens in today’s Rays-Rangers game.
Other than that, I don’t think there’s anything Girardi could say to Joba Chamberlain except that he doesn’t trust him anymore.
Fellow Yankees blog The Yankee U wrote a similar analysis on Chamberlain this morning, but I disagree with his final point.
Fans still hold on to 07 Joba, thinking that’s still within him. But it was a unique circumstance for a variety of reasons. It was his first time through the league, when pitchers always have an advantage before the scouting reports catch up with them. He was given regular usage and regular rest with the ‘Joba Rules’ so he was always sharp and always strong. He had built up his arm as a starter that year, so relief work was a breeze for him.
I don’t think it was very hard to pick up the scouting report on Chamberlain back in ‘07. He threw straight gas and a devastating slider in the dirt and for strikes. In the past two years he’s tried to find that stuff again, but never has as a starter or a reliever. I’m not saying he has to throw 100 mph to be effective again, but he cannot throw inaccurately in the low 90s and expect to get hitters out.