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Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Yankees, Unobstructed — May 30

When your team has a .592 winning percentage on the second-to-last day of May, you should feel good. But it's hard to like where the Yankees are right now.

Nevermind the fact that the Yankees are tied for the third best record in baseball. Nevermind the fact that the Yankees' winning percentage is exactly the same as it was on this day last year. Nevermind the fact that the Yankees have won four of their last six. And nevermind the fact that the Yankees are one week into a three week stretch in which their opponents are as weak as Major League Baseball has to offer.

The Yankees just haven't looked like a good baseball team lately.

Given a 9-3 lead in the fourth inning yesterday, Yankee pitching was unable to hold back the Indians — one of baseball's worst offenses. First C.C. Sabathia padded his ever-ascending ERA, giving up five runs in six innings on 113 pitches. But he left with (what should have been) a comfortable 10-5 lead.

Then Joba Chamberlain came in and promptly gave up four earned runs in 1/3 of an inning. The Yankees ended up losing 13-11.

Wait, what's that you say? Oh, yes, I see. You've pointed out that just three weeks ago I proclaimed "Joba has settled comfortably into his setup role."

Yes, I did say that. Clearly I was wrong.

Since that day (May 9), the Pudgy One has been remarkable in his inconsistency. In fact there's been two Jobas.

  • The Joba we want: He's had three appearances in which he gave up neither a hit nor walk. In once case he struck out every batter he faced.
  • And Sloba. He looks just like Joba, but he's a jittery misfit. Incapable of even rudimentary effectiveness. Sloba has had three appearances in which he surrendered a combined 11 runs in 2.2 innings.
For quite some time now, Sloba hasn't let Joba pitch against the Indians. Ever since midges psyched Joba out in Game 2 of the 2007 ALDS, he's been awful against Cleveland. In the last two and a half years, Chamberlain's given up 15 runs in 18 innings against the tribe. THEY OWN HIM.

In Other Yankee News

Álex Rodriguez hit a scorching line drive off the head of Cleveland pitcher David Huff yesterday. The stadium went silent and Huff was removed on a stretcher, but is doing just fine. ÁROD visited Huff at the hospital and Huff appreciated the gesture.

Curtis Granderson is back after missing most of the month with an injured groin.

Jorge Posada hopes to be back in the lineup soon, but the Yankees are unlikely to take chances with the catcher's injured foot.

NOTE: Make sure to check back every weekend for The Yankees, Unobstructed, BNN's weekly Yankees opinion column.

For more of Graham Kates' sports writing, check out his True/Slant blog "Coaches in the Crosshairs" (http://trueslant.com/grahamkates).


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