Posted Under: Johanna's View
Yesterday, Joba was pulled from his regularly scheduled start after three innings. It had bee decided days before that no matter the state of the game, he would go three and no more. Since the earlier plan to have Chamberlain skip starts throughout the rest of the season didn’t work, they have moved to one where he starts regularly but doesn’t go very deep. While I tend to agree with Joseph Pawlikowski of River Ave. Blues that one can’t dismiss the idea without a real argument, and that this plan is better than the “skip starts” plan, I have to say I am skeptical for two reasons. Are you listening Joseph?
First, three innings is arbitrary. Give me a pitch count, thats a concrete metric. Pitchers can throw 100 pitches in 3 innings, or they can throw 3. Though its unlikely Joba is ever throwing just 3, you see my point. When we look at innings totals over the course of a year, we are, in our minds, assuming their are fluctuations between innings- some short and some long. But Joba has been kept on a strict pitch count all year, so his inning total doesn’t reflect that necessary averaging. Sure his inning number is up, but I need to know actually how many more pitches he has thrown this year than last before I decide that this is all necessary. I am betting that number is not significantly higher. If you are reinventing the wheel, perhaps you should redefine a few of the metrics for shaping said wheel.
As a corollary to that and a bridge to my next point, how is he supposed to stay strong for an entire outing when he is only going 3 innings. My bet is each outing from here on out they add an inning, so that he gets back to a real starting length by the playoffs, but if they don’t, we as fans won’t be able to expect him to go 6+ innings in a playoff game come October. And the tax on the bullpen in October is something no one needs- remember the team returns back to a 25 man roster.
Second, there is a mental art to pitching. Its all well and good that Joba’s arm makes it to his peak years, but what if he gets to those peak years and hasn’t learned how to pitch. Not throw, but pitch. These are the years when that part of the art of the game should be learned, while he is still the #4 starter. So what he doesn’t spend any time on the DL next season, what happens if he doesn’t ever learn how to get out of the bases loaded jam? What happens when hitters who see him a lot, like Kevin Youkilis or Dustin Pedroia know more about him then he knows about them? Who cares that is arm is strong if he still can’t get the key player, and the best hitters, out. While he does have power going for him, and some speeds just can’t be hit regularly, Joba still needs to know how to pitch.
How can Joba practice throwing fewer pitches in the same amount of innings. To quote Nolan Ryan and Mike Maddux of the Texas Rangers- “9 innings should be the goal.” Getting their with fewer pitches requires strength, stamina and know-how. Joba isn’t getting any of these following the rules.