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Joba Chamberlain Ensures Yankees Won’t Finish 0–162

The Yankees have jerked Joba Chamberlain around so much over the past couple of years that you'd think the absolute least they could do, after banishing him from the rotation, would be to anoint him the eighth-inning bridge to Mariano Rivera. And though that didn't technically happen, Girardi's used him in that spot anyway so far. After last night, it's probably his job to lose.

Of course, Joba's only made two appearances this year, and one of them didn't go all that well. But last night's outing was encouraging, or as encouraging as pitching to two batters can be. After Damaso Marte retired David Ortiz — who's handling his early mini-slump nice and calmly, by the way — Joba struck out Adrian Beltre and J.D. Drew with a man on second to preserve a 5–4 lead. (They'd go on to win 6–4.) More important, he touched 96 miles-per-hour on the gun, and his slider was, to quote Jorge Posada, "filthy."

A.J. Burnett allowed three earned runs over five innings — which isn't great, but certainly could have been worse. But the bullpen was excellent — five relievers combined for four scoreless innings — and Marco Scutaro's eighth-inning error loaded the bases for walk-machine Nick Johnson, whose inevitable base on balls drove in the go-ahead run. Is it too early to make fun of Boston's committment to defense?

Photo: Jim Rogash/Getty Images