Joba Chamberlain has thrown 18.1 innings since becoming a starting pitcher for the Yankees. Over that period, he has 19 strikeouts, 14 hits allowed and a 2.45 ERA. Considering the fact that today was the first time Chamberlain had been giving a full slate of pitches to work with, it would appear the "Chamberlain belongs in the pen" crowd have meekly scurried off to their holes.
Excluding two intentional walks, Chamberlain has handed out 10 free passes to the 19 punchouts he's issued as a starter. Although he needs to bring down his walk rate, Chamberlain's superior strikeout ability and overall stuff covers up that wart nicely. This fact was emboldened today when Chamberlain escaped a bases loaded, zero-out jam without allowing a single run to score.
I guess that second inning situation would be better suited for Dan Giese - because Joba belongs in the eighth inning, even when there's no lead to protect. Had Giese or Rasner worked himself into similar trouble, the Yankees may have been pondering a 3-2 loss - their first in six games. Instead, Chamberlain refused to let in a run and a 2-1 victory kept a seven game winning streak alive.
As I stated when the transition to the rotation was first announced, Chamberlain's only big problem in the minors was conserving his pitches and remaining economical, which was somewhat evidenced today. Had he been on a longer leash, Chamberlain would have likely completed six innings of one-run ball and earned the W. Chamberlain is 22 years old and he will eventually learn to manage his pitchcount more effectively and do a better job of holding runners on.
In the mean time, however, a few poitns have been proven true:
1) Joba has frontline stuff.So we will continue to wait for Fatso & Fruit Loops to admit they were wrong on this particular topic. I won't hold my breath, though.
2) That stuff is maintained deep into games.
3) He has the repertoire of five pitches [fastball, sinker, slider, curve, change] to succeed as a starter