There are imperfections to Joba Chamberlain as a starter, which should not be a surprise. He is 23 years old and has made only 16 starts in the majors. He does not throw as hard as he did in relief, and sometimes he throws too many pitches.
But for all of Chamberlain’s incandescence in the bullpen, his body of work as a starter stands out, too. After stifling the Detroit Tigers for seven innings of an 8-6 victory at Comerica Park on Wednesday, Chamberlain is 4-1 with a 2.85 earned run average as a starter, with more strikeouts than innings pitched.
“He’s got such good stuff that I’m sure we’ll debate this forever,” Manager Joe Girardi said. “But that’s what we think he can do.”
Chamberlain’s fastballs reached 96 miles an hour against the Tigers, and he pitched comfortably at 92 to 94 while allowing one run and three hits, with three walks and six strikeouts. The Tigers made a push in the ninth when Curtis Granderson pulled a two-out, three-run homer off Mariano Rivera, but they fell short.
The Yankees, who started their trip with four losses, won the final two games behind Phil Hughes and Chamberlain. They left Detroit with an 11-10 record and play their next eight games at newly bargain-priced Yankee Stadium.“The one thing I’ve noticed is, sometimes when you start to lose games here, it seems like it gets made kind of a big deal of,” said Nick Swisher, who homered twice and has seven in his first Yankees season. “We wanted to come in here and really get some wins and get back to the way we feel we should be playing.”
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