So it's official: Joba will enter the rotation.
Joba Chamberlain pitched the eighth and ninth inning of Wednesday night's 8-0 win over the Orioles, and afterward the Yankees announced that it was the first step of the phenom's much-anticipated conversion from lights-out set-up man to starting pitcher.
"I am excited about the opportunity," Chamberlain said of the transition. "First and foremost though, we got to win ballgames from here on out. So tomorrow starts another day of getting my legs and getting back on mound to see what happens. And making sure we win a game."
On one hand, I am very excited to see what he can do. He's exciting, engaging, emotional. He has proven that he can be successful at this level, albeit in shorter stints. The reports from those who know Joba and his repetoire better than any of us (bloggers, fans and professional writers alike) say Joba has other pitches that he doesn't regularly use out of the pen. I hope that his starts become "must see" affairs. How cool would that be?
On the other hand, I'm a bit nervous for two reasons: 1) I have little faith in the others in the bullpen leading up to Mo; 2) I'm worried about him not succeeding. Now, I know #2 is a real wimpy thing to say, but after seeing Hughes struggle, Kennedy struggle, I worried that any lack of success will be detrimental to Joba. I am also concerned about expectations. Again, I know all these "things" are merely manifestations of my own fears and concerns about this team, but I try to be realistic, even if it's sobering.
So who does Joba replace? Obvious choice right now is Kennedy or whoever is the #5 right now. After all, Rasner's doing his best Aaron Small imitation and not giving up his #4 slot anytime soon, right? Moose isn't really a #3 any more but last start not withstanding, he's been pretty good. What about when Hughes comes back?
UPDATE: If you're here from the Providence Journal, welcome. I love a good debate, just keep it above the usual "Yanks suck--Sox suck" stuff!