Monday, June 1, 2009

But Who Will Pitch The Eighth?

Joba. Joba will pitch the eighth. At least tonight anyway. Tonight was arguably Joba's best start since making the conversion to the starting rotation, going eight strong innings, allowing two earned runs, just four hits, two walks, and striking out five. He threw 106 pitches. This is a huge sign of progress for Joba. In previous starts, 106 pitches might get him through 5 or 6 innings but tonight he went eight. That comes out to 4.42 pitches/out, which is very efficient. Perhaps this starts means Joba has learned that you do not need to strike out every batter you face. Strikeouts, groundouts, and a lack of walks are the key to pitching success, and that's what Joba did tonight. Two walks in eight innings is great, and just five of Joba's outs came in the air. Now, this start likely will not shut up those who want him in the bullpen, but it should. Joba is a 23 year old with a 3.71 ERA in the AL East, and he still has a lot to learn. Those are the ingredients of an ace, not a setup man.