Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Joba Chamberlain = Matthew McConaughey

Bear with me, the analogy is sound.

Matthew McConaughey is great at what he does. He’s a super handsome very likable good old boy who is smoking the best weed that anyone in the history of man kind has ever smoked.

And when he plays to his strengths, he is a good solid likable leading man and a funny interview.

He gave one of the great stoner performances of all time as Wooderson in Dazed and Confused.

And then he appeared in that dreadful Time to Kill movie… you know the one where evidently it is OK to kill someone with an AK 47 in broad daylight provided you know you are right!

Well it was supposedly a Sandra Bullock/Kevin Spacey/Samuel L. Jackson movie… but they cleaned up McConaughey, put him in a suit and the tongue of every single woman (and quite a few men) started wagging.

He became a big movie star and suddenly some big name directors thought he could act in big high profile dramas.

So Robert Zemeckis put him in Contact as a new age thinking religious guru opposite heavyweights like Jodie Foster, James Woods and Angela Bassett.

Then no less than Steven Spielberg cast him as a lawyer in Amistad and put him in scenes with the likes of Morgan Freeman and Anthony Hopkins.

And in those movies he clearly was a toddler thrown into the deep end. Not only couldn’t he carry the scenes but had more people whispering “What is he doing with this group?” since Dan Aykroyd sang in We Are The World.

Well the dramatic roles dried up… but then he started playing the lovable lug card… and he turned out to be good at it.

There’s no shame in playing to your strengths. Not every guy who made his name playing stoners turns out to be a great actor.

Maybe he isn’t a young Pacino, but he is good at what he does.

Which brings us to Joba.

Joba came up as a dominating reliever.

The kind of reliever that makes a difference in the game. The kind of reliever that shortens games.

And he had a bad ass demeanor that a stud closer needs…
He even had the great name that conjures up images of Return of the Jedi.

Heck, they could play the Cantina music from Star Wars when he comes in to pitch!

He could set up for Rivera and then be his heir apparent.

That was 2007.

And then the thought was to turn him into a starter. People kept saying he was an ace in the making. People kept saying “You don’t have a potential Cy Young winner in the bullpen!”

And in 2008 the Yankees engaged in the most moronic pitching program known to mankind when they made sure that Joba could not pitch in either the rotation or the bullpen.

Now in his third big league season, Joba has been only a starter… and the results have been overwhelmingly underwhelming.

He has an 8-6 record in 29 starts with the best lineup in baseball behind him. His ERA is not exactly earth shattering at 4.72.

And since August he is 1-4 with a 7.75 ERA over 36 innings.
And he is winless since August 6th.

With the playoffs looming for the Yankees, the thought of Joba starting a playoff game is not a pleasant one as he isn’t meriting being called a #4 starter, let alone a #3.

Cy Young?
Try ANTHONY Young!

And all the while they continue to limit his innings and monitor him as if he was Castro on his death bed.

Meanwhile the Lincecums, the Lesters, the Buchholz’s and the Porcello’s of the world can all pitch and throw complete games if necessary… but not Joba!

And because of this brilliant strategy the Yankees have turned a reliever with a 1.53 ERA who struck out 78 batters in 59 innings and has nearly a 4 K to BB ratio and a 1.00 WHIP… and transformed him into a starter with an ERA over 4, lets up more than a hit an inning and less than a strikeout an inning… whose K to BB ratio is nearly cut in half…

And most importantly can’t be counted on in the playoffs.


The Yankees had something great and they made him mediocre.

They had a player who was special at his job and made him do something where he is nothing special.

And no doubt this craziness will continue into next year as he turns 24… all because the Yankees wanted him to be something that he wasn’t.

But when someone is great at one thing and eh at something else… shouldn’t he continue doing the GREAT thing?

Sure there are good relievers to transform into good starters. Adam Wainwright is the latest example of that.

But back to McConaughey, there are also some great actors who started off playing lovable stoners.

Sean Penn started as Spicoli… but let’s face it… he’s the exeception.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:51 AM

    McConnaughey is apparently not the only one smoking the good stuff.