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.