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Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Updated: September 17, 1:44 AM ET
'Joba Rules' all about preserving Chamberlain

ESPN.com

Jeff Curry/US Presswire

The Yankees are being quite careful in monitoring 23-year-old Joba Chamberlain's workload.

By Peter Gammons, ESPN

Joba Chamberlain pitched four innings against the Angels on Monday night, four good innings. Oh, Vladimir Guerrero hit a curveball for a homer, but he is Vlad, and Joba is preparing for the postseason, next season and his Yankees career.

The "Joba Rules" that are so discussed now have him at 143 2/3 innings. He'll throw five innings in his next start, six the two starts after that, and when the playoffs begin, the 23-year-old (he turns 24 late next week) will have fewer than 165 innings.

"He will be right where we want him," says Yankee general manager Brian Cashman. "Our plan was not to take any chances with him. There is too much history for us to change our plan just because some people didn't understand what we were doing."

In contrast, 20-year-old Rick Porcello has 147 2/3 innings, and will go into the postseason -- probably a series with the Yankees -- still with fewer than 170 innings. The difference is that Detroit manager Jim Leyland charted a different course, giving Porcello close to two weeks off at the All-Star break and a couple of one-week blows. The Yankees tried that with Joba, but he was uncomfortable with a seven-game or eight-game layoff. He lost his rhythm, and preferred working shorter innings on four days' rest.

This is exactly what Yankees manager Joe Girardi has done, whether old-timers like it or not. On Monday, Chamberlain threw 67 pitches, and 41 for strikes. His curveball was a swing-and-miss pitch. He didn't walk anyone for the first time in 14 starts. Afterward, he talked about how this work and the consistent program has eliminated the hitch that troubled him earlier in the season and how he is going into the postseason with the best delivery he has had all season.

Remember, Joba isn't 24 yet, and he threw fewer than 100 minor league innings. He is going to end the season with 32 starts. He has eight wins now, so he could get into double figures. He can start in the postseason, and he can throw 190 innings next season.

Of course, if Girardi chooses to use three starters in the ALDS, Chamberlain will be in the bullpen. But he will be the fourth starter if they advance to the ALCS with Phil Hughes in the set-up role to Mariano Rivera.

It's not really that complicated.

"Common sense," says Cashman, "shouldn't be that difficult to understand."

Neither is taking the long view with an extraordinarily talented young pitcher.

Past Baseball Tonight Clubhouses: Sept. 14 | Sept. 13 | Sept. 10 | Sept. 9 | Sept. 8

TOUCH 'EM ALL

Touch 'Em AllWho went deep? Keep track of all the home runs hit each day on "Baseball Tonight" and on the Baseball Tonight Clubhouse page.

For more, check out the Home Run Tracker page.

Home Run Tracker
NAME HR OPPSITUATION
Adam Lind, TOR30MitreTop 3: 0-0, 2 Outs. None on.
Adam LaRoche, ATL25DessensBot 6: 0-1, 0 Outs. None on.
Adam LaRoche, ATL24MischBot 2: 3-1, 1 Out. None on.
Luke Scott, BAL22ShouseBot 7: 2-0, 0 Outs. None on.
Pat Burrell, TB14BerkenTop 1: 0-0, 1 Out. 2 on.

The complete list of Tuesday's homers

ON DECK: WEDNESDAY'S BEST MATCHUPS

Blue Jays at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. ET

This was supposed to be Andy Pettitte's start, but the Yankees announced they will skip his turn to rest his tired shoulder. Chad Gaudin will take Pettitte's place in the rotation. The Yankees are planning on having Pettitte pitch Monday against the Angels.

Angels at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. ET, ESPN

Opponents aren't having much trouble getting hits against Paul Byrd, batting .333 against the right-hander over his three starts with the Red Sox. He has given up 19 hits and nine runs in 13 1/3 innings. Joe Saunders has won his past four starts and five of his past six decisions.

Rockies at Giants, 10:10 p.m. ET, ESPN

The Giants won again Tuesday night, cutting the Rockies' lead in the NL wild-card race to 2½ and setting up a potential sweep in the series finale. Matt Cain tries to finish it off; the San Francisco right-hander is 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA against Colorado in four starts this season.

For the rest of Wednesday's schedule, click here.

BBTN ON THE AIR: WEDNESDAY

TIME WHO'S ON?
1 a.m. ET
ESPN2
Host: Steve Berthiaume
Analysts: Buster Olney, Eric Young

BBTN MINUTE: BRAWLIN' IN THE BRONX

SIMON SAYS

Simon Says ESPN researcher Mark Simon digs deep, looking for the night's best baseball numbers.

Tonight, he looks at Travis Snider, the Blue Jays rookie whose two-homer game against the Yankees will likely get overshadowed by the brawl at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night:

Rookies with multi-HR game vs. Yankees at Yankee Stadium (since 1989)
Year Player Team
'09 Travis Snider Blue Jays
'99 Chris Singleton White Sox
'98 Jason Varitek Red Sox
'93 Manny Ramirez Indians
'89 Ken Griffey Jr. Mariners

Source: Elias Sports Bureau

WEB GEMS

TUESDAY'S BEST AND WORST

BEST
Tommy HansonTommy Hanson weaved his way through the Mets' lineup, pitching seven shutout innings in the Braves' 6-0 win. He permitted only three hits and struck out eight for his 10th win of the season. He has won five of his past six decisions.
WORST
Jarrod Washburn• The Tigers continue to limp toward the finish line. On Tuesday, six pitchers, starting with Jarrod Washburn, were tagged for a combined 10 hits and 11 runs in an 11-1 loss to the Royals. Detroit has dropped six of eight and watched its AL Central lead over Minnesota slip to 4½.

NUMBERS TO KNOW

Adam LaRoche

With 12 homers since rejoining the team he made his MLB debut with, Adam LaRoche is once again enjoying life with Atlanta. To date, his best full season in the majors came with Atlanta in 2006 -- highlighted by a career-high 32 homers.

LaRoche's 12-homer tally -- he hit two Tuesday -- with the Braves equals his homer total with the Pirates, but in far fewer at-bats. In fact, with Pittsburgh, LaRoche hit one home run every 27 at-bats. With Atlanta, he has hit one home run every 12.3 at-bats. Extrapolated over a full season, LaRoche's slugging percentage with the Braves would put him at the top of the National League leaders.

Adam LaRoche (2009)

Pittsburgh Atlanta
BA .247 .351
SLG .441 .649
OBP .329 .417
AB per HR 27.0 12.3

-- LaRoche had one home run in 19 at-bats with Boston. -- ESPN Stats & Information

FANTASY: PREVIEW OF WEDNESDAY'S GAMES

Fantasy Tristan Cockcroft examines the 15 games on Wednesday's slate.

Cockcroft ranks the pitchers scheduled to take the mound, and supplies loads of other information that could help shape your roster for Wednesday. Daily Notes

HUNT FOR OCTOBER

Here's the latest in the wild-card races:

AL WILD CARD
TEAM W-L GB POFF
Red Sox 85-58 -- 97.9%
Rangers 80-64 5.5 8.1%
NL WILD CARD
TEAM W-L GB POFF
Rockies 82-64 -- 78.6%
Giants 79-66 2.5 13.5%
Marlins 77-68 4.5 3.8%
AL CENTRAL
TEAM W-L GB POFF
Tigers 77-67 -- 80.8%
Twins 73-72 4.5 14.5%
White Sox 72-73 5.5 4.8%

For more on all the playoff races, see the Hunt for October