NEW JOBA RULE, A LIMITED PITCH EDITION AS BLUE JAYS ROUT YANKS 9-3 • Latino Sports

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NEW JOBA RULE, A LIMITED PITCH EDITION AS BLUE JAYS ROUT YANKS 9-3

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It could have been billed as Joba Limited-Pitch Edition at the Stadium. He did not complete the third inning.

Stadium Journal, El Bronx-NY: It could have been billed as Joba Limited-Pitch Edition at the Stadium. Joba Chamberlain would make his first Major League start of his career completing his transition from the bullpen to the rotation. All talk around town focused on the number of pitches he would be allowed: 65 to 70 pitches and the number of innings this would yield. This called for a special pitch count recording on one’s scorecard. So for the love of the game and for the fun of it, here is how it went.

Facing the first batter Shannon Steward cost Joba 8 pitches, a full count and a walk. Marco Scutaro, the second batter also got into a 3-2 count, but on the 13th pitch was punched out. Alex Rios was next as the third batter when Joba was charged with a balk, rewarding Shannon with second base. On the 17th pitch, a pass ball was charged to Molina and the runner advanced to third. Rios on the 18th pitch bounced out to second as the runner scored from third. The next batter Scott Rolen singled to right on the 22nd pitch. Matt Stairs the next batter worked a 3-2 count before he walked for the second walk of the inning on the 28th pitch from Joba. A Pitching coach visit to the mound followed. Lyle Overbay became the 6th batter of the inning with two runners on base. Another 3-2 count. This new Joba Rule may not be working, folks, one would think. Overbay walked to load the bases on the 34 pitch. Rod Barajas became the 7th batter of the inning. Announcement: Warming up in the Bullpen Dan Giese, but on the 38th pitch Barajas on a 0-2 count struck out for the final out. Score 1-0 in favor of the Blue Jays.

Enter the math department. Now if he is allowed 70 pitches on this outing and he pitched 38 many does he have left? OK, simple paper and pencil arithmetic, the answer is 32. Speculation: how many possible innings will have left?

No betting allowed.

Johnny Damon led off with a triple and the Yankees had a chance to tie the score. Hideki Matsui, after Alex Rodriguez got hit by a pitch, singled to left on the first pitch he saw driving in Damon and advancing Alex to second. He scored on an opposite field hit by Jason Giambi. Now Joba had a one-run lead to commence his second inning of work with the score 2-1.

Back to pitch count. Oh, oh, the scoreboard at stadium seemed to start off with a different count of 36, so that crewed up my count, or maybe I was off, or maybe they brought it down to keep Joba in longer? Oh, well, Joba got out of the inning on two fly ball outs and a strike out and the Internet Game Day score had Joba with 54 pitches at the end of the second inning (Thanks to all this technology one can make up for being distracted). By all accounts he had 16 left for the third inning.

Johnny Damon got a grounds rule double with two outs, but was left stranded when Derek Jeter flied out to right. Derek needed two home runs to reach 200 for his career and 2 hits to tie Mickey Mantle for third place with 2, 415. At the end of the game he achieved the second goal by getting two hits with five at bats.

With the Game Day scorecard having 62 pitches thrown by Joba when he started to pitch to his second batter on the top of the third inning, Manager Joe Giraldi came out to remove him. He had just walked Alex Rios with one out.

And so it was: 2 and 1/3 innings pitched, two runs allowed (one run earned as an inherited runner by the reliever scored), 3 strike outs, 4 walks and a no kidding-around pitch count. It was hoped he would reach the fourth inning. Of his 62 pitches he had 32 for strikes.

He was replaced by Dan Giese just recently called up from the minors. Alex Rios stole second base and advanced to third on an errant throw by Molina to the outfield. He scored on a ground out to second and the inning ended with a score tied 2-2.

So who is Dan Giese? He is a 31 year old brought up from Triple-A Scranton and comes with four wins and a 1.98 ERA in 13 appearances – 10 of them starts.

In the meantime I had the honor of sitting next to Ed Lucas. Earlier in the day a News Conference was held to announce the Ed Lucas Scholarship Fund. Seton Hall University, WCBS 880 AM radio and the Yankees Radio Network teamed up to support “Strikeouts for Scholarships,” a fund-raising drive to provide scholarships and resources for the hundreds of students with disabilities who attend Seton Hall. Each time a Yankees pitcher strikes out an opposing batter, WCBS 880 AM will donate $10 to the Ed Lucas Scholarship Fund. So will the Yankees. There were 7 strikeouts by Yankees pitchers and a whopping 10 walks.

Mr. Lucas, a baseball reporter and a Seton Hall alumnus had lost his sight as a young boy. The Scholarship will provide financial assistance inside and outside of the classroom for students with disabilities. He told me of the numerous news sources he has written for. “Years ago I wrote for El Diario (La Prensa) a baseball trivia column,” he told me. He also told me that he has made 53 consecutive Yankee home openers. On March 10, 2006, he was allowed by Yankee owner George Streinbrenner to marry his compañera Allison at home plate. The only time this has happened in Yankee history. Ms Allison is legally blind, “as Governor Patterson is,” he said to me. Then he quipped, “So we prove that love is blind.”

And speaking of students and classrooms, some weeks ago I made an attempt to have Hideki Matsui visit the high school, Manhattan Center for Science and Math, where I work occasionally as a substitute teacher in El Barrio/East Harlem. Having covered for an absent teacher who teaches Japanese to the mostly minority students in one of the City’s best schools, a student, upon learning that I’m a reporter for Latino Sports and that the only words I knew in Japanese were Hideki Matsui (and yes, the work left by the teacher did not test me any further on this language), wrote a letter to Mr. Matsui for me to give to him.

Mr. Matsui got to read it when I returned to the Stadium to cover a game and commented that it was perfect Japanese.

This brought about the idea that maybe it would be great if he would pay a visit to the students of the Japanese class. Several discussions took place with him (it included Mr. Ray Negrón) upon which Mr. Matsui would think it over. Prior to game-time I was informed that this visit will not take place base; it was Mr. Matsui’s final decision after two think it over(s).

In the meantime Hideki Matsui entered this game with a .328 batting average, second in the American League (AL). With today’s game he has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games. Prior to the game this included an AL high .442 batting average over this stretch. Prior to the game he had hit safely in 22 of his 26 games at the Stadium this season. And the list goes on.

Still the Yankees entered June and the game with a 28-29 record. Back to game-time and the score was 3-2 after 6 innings. Alex Rios had a hit and has hit safely in 24 games against the Yankees. The Blue Jays entered the game at 31-28 minus their All-Star center fielder Vernon Wells.

On the top of the 7th the game got away from the Yankees when the Blue Jays scored 6 runs. Why, for Yankee fans it may have become a ‘Why wait for the 7 inning stretch, leave your seat, bathroom, maybe a hotdog and return hoping the half inning would be over.’ Three Yankees Relievers, 6 runs, 6 hits and 4 walks in the inning.

Roy Halladay, known as Doc, who entered the game with a career 10-5 won-lost record and a 3.03 ERA against the Yankees went 6 innings allowing 6 hits, 2 earned runs, one walk and 3 strike outs. His ERA dipped
to 2.94. With the two relievers that followed him, the Yankees managed just one more run. They stranded a whopping 24 men on base.

The Joba Rule has changed to a new one and for the team and fans the hope goes on. The month of June has the Yankees with a 3-game losing streak (fifth time this year). Last year they were 2-2 on June 4th before going on a 9-game winning streak. And the hope goes on. Pedro, your turn.

About William Gerena-Rochet

William Gerena Rochet, is the former Latino Sports baseball editor. He is a retired NYC teacher who divides his time living between New York City and San Juan, Puerto Rico. He started writing for Latino Sports during the inaugural World Baseball Classic when a series was played in Puerto Rico in 2006. On of his favorite moments was covering the 2006 MLB All-Star Game in Pittsburgh. During his time with Latino Sports, he covered several divisional and League championship series games and the 2009 World Series. He also covered the last game at the old Yankee stadium and the first game of the current one. In closing, William has covered multiples Latino Sports MVP Awards ceremonies and Spanish Language Press Conferences including the Jorge Posada retirement one. Now a contributor, Willie will occasionally cover the Yankees.