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Anthony Machcinski
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5th starter? Its all just March Madness

By Anthony J. Machcinski

No one has really stuck out this Spring Training as to who will become the 5th starter. That is, if you mean stuck out in a good way.
To no one’s ultimate surprise, Joba Chamberlain has not shown the same dominant stuff, last seen as he was covered in a blanket of bugs in Cleveland. In 6.2 innings this season, Chamberlain has 12 earned runs with 5 strike outs. He does stick out, just not in the way the Yankees had hoped.
Although Chamberlain is not in jeopardy to lose his roster spot, he is almost destined to be in the bullpen, and probably will stay that way. He has one solid game this Spring Training against the Phillies, where he allowed 1 run in 3 innings pitched. However, his total on the spring is not 5th starter material on the Yankees.
His competition however, has come in the form of Phil Hughes. Despite an 0-2 record, Hughes has 6 earned runs in 13 innings pitched, and would have a better ERA if not for his last game against the Phillies where he had four earned in 4.1 innings pitched.
The Yankees are the team that ultimately comes out with the benefit in this situation. Both pitchers have proved their dominance in the bullpen in the past, and either one would be a great reliever for the 8th inning, including Chamberlain, who has four pitches in his arsenal.
This is not the first time a decent starting pitcher has moved to the bullpen. The best example of this is Boston’s Jonathan Papelbon, who was a widely regarded starting pitching product who now closes for Boston and is one of the best closers in the league.
Personality wise, the move is also beneficial. Chamberlain and his overly excited personality has helped him in the bullpen, allowing him to simply overpower hitters. While starting, Chamberlain has been unable to keep the same mentality, causing his fastball to dip as low as 92 miles per hour.
Hughes on the other hand, has a calmer demeanor on the mound. He also managed to keep the same demeanor in the bullpen, which does not question his ability to have his pitches go up and down.
While the Yankees have one of the better pitching staffs in baseball, if Hughes and Chamberlain can reach the potential that many know they have, the Yankees can ride the staff. Eventually, we might see the line “Hughes pitches 7; Chamberlain and Rivera finish”, and I don’t believe that there is one Yankee fan anywhere that wouldn’t want to see that happen.

1 comment:

  1. Well we all hoped for two young guys who could anchor the rotation for many years to come, however you are right that it wouldn't be half bad to have two guys to anchor the back end of the rotation for years to come. Not many teams in baseball know who they will use in the 8 and 9 spots year after year, so that would be a good situation to be in if it happened.
    As a fan I am almost ready to move on with the idea of them not being starters, so the question for me is will the Yankees be able to develop other starting pitcher prospects that work out in the coming years.

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