On the Joba Rules
Johanna's View
by Johanna Wagner
On the Joba Rules
This post was written by Johanna Wagner on August 31, 2009
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.

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Reader Comments

He only threw 35 pitches in the 3 innings!! Unless they are planning on using September as a second spring training, having him go 4 in his next start, 5 the following, etc. this is an absurd idea. At least give him a chance to throw 50 pitches and pull him as close to that total as possible, then 65 pitches the next start, etc.,
He’s thrown 133.2 innings thus far (averaging 5.1 IP/start) and has approximately 6 starts left. If they keep him at 3 innings a start he will end up with 151.2 IP. I remember hearing something about 150 innings with him, but this is absurd! Might as well put him in diapers the other 4 games he’s not starting!

Written By Chrisk114 on August 31st, 2009 @ 10:02 am

i’m would think that innings r a more accurate measurement, but the philosophy in general makes sense to me. if it is true that young arms suffer from a too accelerated workload, why not be careful with ur assets? i am all for it. if they stretch him out for october, why not?
this theory would impact mr hughes next year i guess?

Written By john v celentano on September 1st, 2009 @ 9:28 am

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