I've said it since there was discussion about taking him from the bullpen, and I will continue to say it until he becomes a reliable starting pitcher: Joba is a relief pitcher, and the perfect successor to the great Mariano Rivera.
Joba first pitched on Aug. 7, 2007, immediately became a fan-favorite and, rightly so, received a tremendous cult-following. In his first 24 innings , he gave up 12 hits, struck out 34, and only suffered one blemish on an otherwise perfect scorecard. Mike Lowell turned on a high, inside fastball and put it into the stands in left field.
Anyone replacing Mo Rivera is going to be compared to greatness. Why not a guy that already had a boat-load of bandwagon fans? Joba had the makeup for a perfect closer, mixing a 100 mph fastball with a devastating slider, placing both pitches.
Okay, that's it for the preamble. Yesterday, Joba pitched "great." Yes, he went six and two-thirds, struck out eight, and only gave up one. But he walked three (only walked six in 2007), hit a batter and balked. He had the crowd on the edge of their seats, but seemed to always get out of the jam, getting himself a win. For that, he should be commended.
In other news, isn't it strange that Hughes is doing Chamberlain's job and Chamberlain is doing Hughes' job?