• Did Joba Brushback Youkilis?

    Posted by on August 30th, 2007 · Comments (21)

    First, forget what Chamberlain, Torre, Francona and Youkilis all said after the game today. They each offered what you would expect them to say in a spot like this one.

    Next, consider some facts:

    Joba Chamberlain threw 12 pitches in the 8th inning today. Two of the twelve were shown by YES via the camera behind home plate – the 3rd pitch to Hinske and the 2nd pitch to Pedroia. So, we don’t know much about these two pitches – in terms of whether or not they were on target. But, we do know about the other ten pitches in the 8th inning from Joba.

    Chamberlain threw four pitches to Hinske – all seemed on target with Posada’s glove, with the exception of the aforementioned 3rd pitch (which we just don’t know about). If anything, the 2nd pitch to Hinske missed low, if at all.

    Chamberlain threw one pitch to Cora that appeared on target.

    Chamberlain threw three pitches to Pedroia – all seemed on target with Posada’s glove, with the exception of the aforementioned 2nd pitch (where we could not see it). If anything, the 1st pitch to Pedroia ran in on him, but not terribly in.

    Chamberlain threw four pitches to Crisp – all seemed on target with Posada’s glove. Maybe the 1st pitch, if anything, missed low of Posada’s target. But, the 2nd and 3rd pitches to Crisp hit Posada’s mitt exactly where he placed it.

    In a nutshell, Joba showed very good control with his pitches in the 8th inning.

    In the bottom of the 8th inning, with one out, after the Yankees took a 5-0 lead, Edwar Ramirez started to warm in the Yankees bullpen. By the end of the 8th inning, Ramirez was done warming and was standing there, ready, and tying his shoes.

    However, Chamberlain comes back out to pitch the 9th inning. Joba throws one pitch to Big Papi Ortiz, that appears on target and retires him. Next, he’s facing Youkilis.

    The first pitch had a bit of a low-and-away break to it. Probably a slider. The second pitch is on target with Posada’s glove – if anything, it breaks a bit inside.

    The next two pitches from Chamberlain to Youkilis are up around the batter’s head.

    Here’s what I find interesting here. In the 15 pitches before the two near Youkilis’ head, Chamberlain showed very good control. At the worst, he was missing low – when he missed, and it was rare that he missed. Also, why completely warm up Ramirez, with the score 5-0, over the course of the final two outs of the 8th, and then not bring him in to start the last inning?

    Seems odd, no? It just seems like there’s a disconnect here – between Ramirez getting warmed up and not coming right into the game and between Chamberlain’s ability to locate and the last two pitches to Youkilis.

    Of course, on the YES coverage, Ken Singleton made an interesting counter-point during the 9th – along the lines of “If they wanted to throw at Youkilis, then they would have just hit him and not thrown over his head, twice.”

    Then again, maybe the intent was to brushback and not to bean? Then, all this makes sense…warming up a pitcher in the pen and not bringing him in coupled with the sudden and strange loss of control by the pitcher left in the game…etc.

    In the end, while I cannot say for certain that Joba Chamberlain was throwing at Kevin Youkilis today, I would not shoot anyone down for suspecting that there was some intent behind those last two pitches that Joba threw in this game.

    For what it’s worth, in the last three games, Boston pitchers came inside to Yankees batters on several occasions. So, if someone from Red Sox Nation does want to bellyache about anything suspected with Joba’s or the Yankees intent here, they should take into account the dangers of throwing stones in glass houses, before they go nuts.

    In any event, as go all things in the Yankees-Bosox rivalry, to be continued….I’m sure.

    Comments on Did Joba Brushback Youkilis?

    1. dan
      August 30th, 2007 | 11:12 pm

      But steve, isn’t coming inside to hitters and throwing up at the head different? If yankee pitchers are upset about inside pitches, why not drill a sox batter in the back? Wouldn’t that make more sense and be safer?

    2. August 30th, 2007 | 11:38 pm

      since 2000, sawx pitchers have hit 85 Yankees vs. 54 sawx that were hit. that seems like a pretty wide margin.

      the Yanks have taken it long enough, so if it was intentional, fine (although i dont like throwing near someone’s head). but why youkilis? brushback ortiz, that’s something i’d like to see once in my life.

    3. August 30th, 2007 | 11:41 pm

      oh, and Joba did NOT have great command today. in fact, today’s outing was similar to his first in Toronto (it also included his first walk since then, so control may have been the primary issue).

    4. MJ
      August 31st, 2007 | 12:12 am

      As I said in the other thread, I was at the game and I watched Joba as he took his warmup pitches before the 8th inning. He looked wild on every one of those warmups.

      I didn’t see the game on TV so I can’t confirm what you’re saying. But I do know that from Box 457 Joba didn’t look like he had his best stuff today. His first out was a well-hit liner to Damon and Pedroia’s (?) double was spanked.

      I’m sorry, I don’t agree with your version of the events. Joba looked like he was more or less all over the place.

    5. August 31st, 2007 | 12:47 am

      last post of the night (i stole it from ‘Mookie’ over at RAB):

      “Since 2000, Sox pitchers have hit 612 batters. With the exception of the Devil Rays, who hit 604 (but had really really really bad pitchers), no other team hit more than 525 (Rangers). After the Rangers and Jays (493), you see a cluster of 7 teams in the 430-460 range, including the Yanks (456), and then a handful of teams with lower totals (Twins at the bottom with 361). So before Youkilis, Beckett and the rest of Red Sox Nation do any pouting, they should realize that the team they play for/root for is easily the head-huntingest team in the American League in recent memory, and that the Yankees are right in the middle of the bell curve.”

    6. bloodyank78
      August 31st, 2007 | 1:27 am

      Steve,

      I come here everday because I value your opinion on everything Yankees. I don’t agree w/you 100% of the time, but I do more often than not. Thus, I’m dying to know what you think of Pete Abe’s take on this. http://yankees.lohudblogs.com/2007/08/30/torre-on-joba-no-message-was-sent-but/#comments

      He doesn’t make any conclusions, but I see where he’s going. What you think Paisan?

    7. bloodyank78
      August 31st, 2007 | 1:33 am

      As an addendum, I think Abraham is spot on. Rocket let Pedroia know what’s up(ie Dice-K’s beaning of Alex); I assume Joba is learning fast from his locker neigbor.

    8. dan
      August 31st, 2007 | 7:31 am

      “Beckett and the rest of Red Sox Nation do any pouting, they should realize that the team they play for/root for is easily the head-huntingest team in the American League in recent memory”

      You can trot out as many statistics as you like. Doesn’t change the fact (and here’s the irony that you mistakenly call it headhunting) it was two pitches to the head. If new york wanted to get a message through to boston, to stop hitting our players, they screwed it up. Now it’s going to get bad.

      If that’s what they wanted, to inflate the drama and have beckett throwing at jeter’s head, well, job well done.

    9. JRVJ
      August 31st, 2007 | 8:37 am

      I didn’t watch the game, but did watch the highlights, and IMO, they were brushback pitches (but were thrown well away from Youkilis, who barely had to duck on the 1st pitch and didn’t even have to duck on the second pitch, which was sufficiently above his head). They were not intended to bean anyone.

      You can watch the highlights here:

      http://tinyurl.com/2e7a67

    10. rbj
      August 31st, 2007 | 8:49 am

      Dan — those pitches were over Youk’s head. If Joba wanted to hit Youk’s head, he would have.

      I don’t disagree with the ejection, if the roles were reversed, I’d have wanted Okajima tossed.

      This was along the lines of “hit the mascot,” you just don’t want the other team to get too comfortable in the batter’s box.

    11. August 31st, 2007 | 9:00 am

      ~~~But steve, isn’t coming inside to hitters and throwing up at the head different? If yankee pitchers are upset about inside pitches, why not drill a sox batter in the back? Wouldn’t that make more sense and be safer?~~~

      To echo what JRVJ and rbj said, those two pitches were not exactly Pedro running one up across the back shoulders of Karim Garcia. The first one hit the backstop on a fly. Yes, they were up and in – - but, so far up that it really, while upsetting to the batter, was not that close.

    12. August 31st, 2007 | 9:03 am

      ~~~Pedroia’s (?) double was spanked.~~~

      MJ, actually, on the TV, you could see that he got a late swing on a good pitch and was lucky to get some of the good wood on the ball.

      I know where you were sitting. Trust me, the CF camera on the YES coverage had a better angle on the pitches.

      Joba’s control was not an issue here.

    13. August 31st, 2007 | 9:10 am

      ~~~Thus, I’m dying to know what you think of Pete Abe’s take on this. ~~~

      I doubt Clemens had anything directly to do with this. But, I would not be shocked to find out that Joba, after hearing some members of the Yankees commenting about the tight pitches from the Sox pitchers in this series, decided that this was a chance to earn some more stripes with his teammates by sending a message.

    14. Raf
      August 31st, 2007 | 10:03 am

      decided that this was a chance to earn some more stripes with his teammates by sending a message.
      =============
      If that’s the case, then he’s a f-cking moron.

    15. Raf
      August 31st, 2007 | 10:09 am

      BTW I don’t think it was intentional, but with the crowd oooh-ing and aaah-ing and cheering, I can see why Hernandez rang Joba up.

    16. baileywalk
      August 31st, 2007 | 12:28 pm

      The Edwar-was-warmed-up bit adds to the conspiracy theory. If Joba was throwing at him to send a message, then I hope he did it on his own. Because if Torre, Guidry, et al., sent out a prized rookie to hit someone or throw over his head, they should be fired. God created Chris Britton for situations like that.

    17. August 31st, 2007 | 12:35 pm

      Part of me wants to say that Torre had Edwar up as a “just in case” thing – in case Joba had issues in the 2nd inning of work. But, then, why have Edwar get up with one out in the bottom of the 8th with a 5-run lead? Why not have him get up once the bottom of the 8th was over – if he’s up “just in case”? It’s something that I can’t figure out.

    18. Garcia
      August 31st, 2007 | 1:12 pm

      BTW, I’d just like to point that I DID SEE the “other” shooter hiding behind the grassy knoll and he looked a lot like Joe Torre.

    19. Pete
      August 31st, 2007 | 2:24 pm

      >> If that’s what they wanted, to inflate the drama and have beckett throwing at jeter’s head, well, job well done. >>

      Let Beckett try. Shelley Duncan will be waiting on the top step.

    20. dan
      August 31st, 2007 | 3:54 pm

      “To echo what JRVJ and rbj said”

      Well, we’ll just agree to disagree. The first one would have been very close to his head if hadn’t moved. The second one was, yes, comically over his head.

      It’s easy to sit at one’s computer and say “they weren’t that close”. It’s another to stand in the batters box with a 98 miles per hour baseball coming at your head.

      This was a mistake by the yankees. They should have left with 3 wins, which they had. Much like arod yelling “ha” when the game was already won, it was a dumb move.

    21. August 31st, 2007 | 3:55 pm

      ‘You can trot out as many statistics as you like. Doesn’t change the fact (and here’s the irony that you mistakenly call it headhunting) it was two pitches to the head.’
      —————————————
      wow is this stupid. it’s borderline asinine…

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