Joba Impressive in Triple-A Debut

Joba says he was trying to be too fine

The meteoric rise of 21-year old Joba Chamberlain has been the talk of baseball and on Wednesday night, Joba's rise hit a precipice when he walked on the mound at PNC Field in Scranton for his first Triple-A start. Fans in attendance had heard about Chamberlain's dazzling stuff for months and now it would finally be on display for the Triple-A fans to watch. He didn't disappoint.

At the end of the night, Joba pitched five shutout innings, giving up just four hits and striking out 10 to earn his first Triple-A victory. Though he did throw 88 pitches in those five innings, 57 of those pitches went for strikes.

Chamberlain also hit 98 MPH several times on the stadium scoreboard radar gun. But, it almost went array for Chamberlain at the start.

In the first inning, he gave up back-to-back singles with one out. He proceeded to strike out the final two batters to get out of the inning. Afterwards, Joba talked about the entire experience he felt in the first.

"There's always a little doubt in your mind when you move up a level or to make sure you can do it [get out of a jam]," he said. "To get out of a jam like that in the first always helps you and it really set the tone for the rest of the night."

Chamberlain also admitted that he had natural feelings going through himself as he stepped out onto the field before the start.

"I had a little bit of nerves when they were playing the national anthem, which was great," he said. "It was a great feeling for me having those nerves going into the game and the first inning."

Eventually, the nerves in Chamberlain's stomach settled. He found himself in trouble one more time, in the third with men on second and third with two outs, but struck out yet another batter to get out of it.

From there, it was smooth sailing for the 6-foot-2 starter, and in the end, he learned a lot in his first start at minor league baseball's highest level.

"You have to be more aggressive with your pitches up here," he said. "You know that if you let pitches go over the plate, you're going to give up runs in this league [the International League]. You just have to stay in the strike zone and live down at the knees because if it's up, they're going to get a hold of it."

Chamberlain also talked about the pitch in his arsenal that he thought was his best on the night.

"I threw a lot of good changeups," he said. "I think that's the biggest thing I've worked on to get to this point. There's still a lot of work to go. I want to work more on my changeup and pitch inside a little more. I don't want to go inside just to go in there, I want to go in there with a purpose."

Chamberlain also adjusted very well to pitching in Triple-A for the first time. He said afterwards that you have to use a simple philosophy when you move up the minor league ladder.

"There is no difference at all between Double and Triple-A," he said. "It's 60 feet, 3 inches wherever you go and I have to maintain that thinking. I just have to stay confident in everything I have and just go out and attack the zone."

This thinking maybe the reason why Chamberlain has made the surprising move from High-A ball to Triple-A in three months. One person who isn't surprised is Joba.

"It hasn't surprised me to move as fast as I have in my first full season as a pro," he said. "It's been good, one of those "learn on the job" type things. Sometimes when I wake up in the morning I have to look around to see where I am. It's been that kind of year."

At the end of the day, the confident and cool Joba Chamberlain impressed everyone in Scranton in his first start. At his locker afterwards, the articulate Nebraskan put this start into a few simple words.

""It was good," he said. "I got too extended with the count at times and tried to be too fine. But, as I went, I got more comfortable. That's the way things went tonight [Wednesday]."

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