After being manhandled by the Pirates in the first game of the series, the Yanks completely turned the tables in blanking them tonight, 10-0
. This one was a laugher early on, and Joba Chamberlain was the main beneficiary of the offensive explosion.
It's Joba who I want to talk about, though. The offense was great, but Joba did something tonight that I think is extremely rare, and yet another sign that he's on his way to being a true ace. The type of guy you can give the ball to three times in a seven game series and realize you only have to win 1 start made by someone else to win the series.
In the first inning, I was worried about Joba. His fastball was being clocked in the high eighties. First, I thought something must be wrong with the radar gun. Then I was worried that something was wrong with Joba. Was it a dead arm? Was the transition to the rotation having a delayed effect on his stuff? I was perplexed, but Joba seemed fine out there. He was easily working his way through the lineup.
As the game went on, the fastball got faster. In the third or fourth it was clocking in around 92-93, then 95 in the fifth. The final pitch he threw in the bottom of the sixth inning was 97 MPH. I don't think this was a case of Joba getting loose as the game went on. I think this was a case of Joba relying on location and his other pitches, mostly his curve, to get easy outs early in the game. He barely broke a sweat through the first five innings. When his pitch count got up there, it was time to get serious. His last 20-30 pitches were at max effort, when he could smell the finish line.
The ability to pace yourself throughout the game is something a lot of aces never learn. Jake Peavy is a good example of a guy who is a dominant pitcher, but hasn't learned to get easy outs and have easy innings. Joba threw 114 pitches tonight, and he probably could've thrown more. His stuff is so good that he doesn't need to rear back and throw every fastball through a brick wall. The fact that he realizes this five starts into his career means big things for him and the team.
The Moose will look for his 11th win tomorrow night.Player of The Game:
Joba (with a nod to Robinson Cano for his second consecutive 3-hit game, and a bomb)Team Record: