I realize I already wrote about Joba Chamberlain and his rules today but after today's happenings there was cause for an update. Chamberlain entered the eighth inning of a 2-0 game and threw his 11th scoreless frame since getting called up to the big leagues. In the bottom of the eighth the Yankees piled on three insurance runs to push the Red Sox to the brink of a sweep and negating the need to use Mariano Rivera in the ninth. It would also seem to preclude the neccesity of using Chamberlain for a second inning since, as mentioned, the game was firmly in the Yankees pocket.
That's not how Joe Torre saw it though. Chamberlain took the mound in the top of the ninth even though the "Joba rules" state that he wouldn't be able to pitch again until Sunday. That seems like an odd choice by Torre when you remember that Ian Kennedy is starting on Saturday. Pitchers making their big league debut tend to need some relief help which means that Torre may have been hamstringing his own team by choosing to leave Chamberlain in the game for a second inning. That made me think of Kobe Bryant.
I know, it's odd to think of Torre and Kobe in the same sentance. One is long, lean, graceful and black while the other is a lumpy sexagenarian who didn't look like a professional athlete when he was a professional athlete but there's a similarity. Remember when Bryant refused to shoot in response to critics who said that he shot too much? Torre has been criticized over and over again for using relievers too often and the team's responded to that by forcing him to follow set rules about how he can use Chamberlain out of the bullpen. They clearly need Chamberlain's skills whenever he's available so by using him for a second inning today Torre's sending the same message Kobe sent when he refused to shoot, "Criticize me all you want but be very clear on one thing, I call the shots."
Complicating matters is the fact that Joba got ejected from the game for throwing two pitches high and tight to Kevin Youkilis in the ninth inning. He'd recorded one out in the inning so it's unclear when he'd be "allowed" to pitch again. It's also unclear how much Torre gives a damn about being told by other people about how to run his pitching staff. Why in the world would he keep Chamberlain in the game today unless he was sending a message to Brian Cashman and the rest of the brass about where they could stuff their Joba rules? Rules are only rules so long as somebody follows them and Torre showed us today that he isn't about to toe the line.
(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)