Waiting for Number 600 and the Old Joba Chamberlain

No homers for A-Rod and no reliability from Chamberlain

By Josh Alper
|  Monday, Jul 26, 2010  |  Updated 9:00 AM EDT
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Waiting for Number 600 and the Old Joba Chamberlain

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Sunday was a long, rain-soaked day in the Bronx but everyone would have left with nothing but a smile if not for the eighth inning. That's when Alex Rodriguez got hit with a pitch, ending his day early and all but assuring that he'll hit his 600th home run on the road, and it is when Joba Chamberlain continued to heap uncertainty on his role in the Yankees bullpen.

Fears that his quest for the big one would lead to a slump were unfounded as he crushed the ball all weekend even though he never wound up hitting the big one. He was certainly going for it in the eighth before Blake Wood plunked him but now it looks like Cleveland will get to soothe it's LeBron-burned heart by watching A-Rod take one of their pitcher's deep.

Nothing to worry about after A-Rod left the game after getting hit on the wrist, by the way. He was wounded only when seventh graders heard this quote -- "I was a little more fearful of the ball coming toward my face" -- but no lasting aches or pains. He didn't even have x-rays, which is unusual since the Yankees normally prescribe laproscopic surgery for the hiccups. 

Save your worries for Joba. Chamberlain walked into a 7-3 game and promptly gave up a walk and a home run to Scott Podsednik to make things tighter than they had any reason to be at that point in the weekend. He recovered to get the next three outs and the Yankees offense put things out of reach with a five-run barrage in the bottom of the inning, but Joe Girardi has to be at least thinking about moving David Robertson into Chamberlain's role as primary set-up man for Mariano Rivera.

Robertson hasn't allowed a run over his last seven appearances and has allowed runs in just two of his 17 appearances since the start of June. He's looking more and more like the guy who established himself as a comer during last year's run to the title while Chamberlain is looking less and less like any of his previously successful iterations. His name has popped up in trade chatter this month, something that doesn't feel as wrong as it probably should. 

Given how much time and effort has gone into Chamberlain over the last three years, trading him would be the ultimate admission of failure by the player development side of things in Yankeeland. It would also be understandable. He's been far too combustible this season and it doesn't much matter how good his peripheral stats are when his actual performance continues to hinder the team's chances of winning it all.

It would still be surprising to see him dealt, you don't give up on arms like that easily, but it wouldn't be shocking which, in and of itself, is kinda shocking. 

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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