Michael, to answer your question below about feeling uneasy about facing Boston without Joba, I have to agree with you. I am very uneasy, because I think the Yanks would have a much better chance of winning if they had Joba STARTING vs. Beckett than Moose, who is likely to leave the game with a 3 run deficit.
As to the raging debate going on in the comments section of an earlier Joba post, I've taken the liberty of directly responding to your claims:
Michael: Actually, every inning doesn't count.
Counterpoint: You are wrong. Runs scored in the first count just as much as those in the 7th or 8th. I checked the rule book on this just to make sure.
Michael: Personal stats and ERAs and a pitcher's individual win-loss record bore me and are meaningless. The only stat that matters is GAMES WON. Period. A shut-em-down bridge can bring the hammer down on three games a week.
Counterpoint: I agree that the only thing that matters is games won. But if you have a crappy starting pitcher, a bridge doesn't do you any good since you're LOSING when the pitcher leaves the game.
Michael: A top starter can only win one game a week. And without a strong bridge and closer, even a top starter can't guarantee a win except for the 10-15 games a yar they pitch a complete game.
Counterpoint: NO ONE can guarantee a win, least of all a set up man. They are still reliant on the offense, the defense, the starter, and the closer. It is a TEAM game, and to act as if the setup man can guarantee a win is laughable.
Michael: Even going seven full innings and leaving with a lead is meaningless without the bridge.
Counterpoint: Exactly my point. IT'S MUCH HARDER TO FIND SOMEONE TO GO SEVEN STRONG INNINGS THAN SOMEONE TO PITCH THE 8TH INNING!!!
Michael: Who cares about how many innings we squeeze out of a pitcher?
Counterpoint: Well since there are 162 games that tend to be 9 innings, I'd say EVERYONE cares how many QUALITY innings you can get out of pitchers. Hence the propensity for putting the very best pitchers in the rotation where they will have the greatest impact on the success or failure of the team, the pitchers with 1 or 2 good pitches at the back end of the bullpen for the pressure packed outs, and the guys who stink in the middle of the bullpen.
Michael: A starter can throw six innings every five days and contribute to one win.
Counterpoint: Yes, but he is much much much more vital to that one win than anyone else that participated in that particular game.
Michael: A bridge can throw six innings every five days and lock in two or three wins.
Counterpoint: That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. You realize that would lead to a relief pitcher throwing something like 150 innings, when in reality only the most overused of all relievers throw more than 70. Besides, the best reliever in the world isn't locking in anything unless there is a good starting pitcher that leaves the game with a lead.
Michael: Which stat matters? The number of games the team wins. Nothing else.
Counterpoint: Exactly. We just disagree as to how to go about winning those games. Any insinuation otherwise is frankly insulting, not to mention it hampers the credibility of your argument. Do you think we give a crap about anything else? NO!
Now let me add two thoughts.
1. Pete and I are both on record as saying Joba can help the team more this year in the bullpen (as the team is presently constructed) because we do not have a reliable setup man and we have 5 capable starters already, not to mention the innings limits on the youngsters. We just think that next year, without Moose or Andy, the need for Joba will be such that we can't afford to keep him out of the rotation.
2. If you think Joba's confidence and intensity is so well suited to being the future closer, then why do you act like the possibility of him not succeeding in the rotation would be such a huge dent to his self-confidence from which he could never recover? I don't think you can argue this both ways...pick one side.
Bottom line...I hope he's the next Josh Beckett. But if it turns out he's more Eric Gagne (LA Version) -- that's ok too. I just want him to be healthy, successful, and a World Champion.