Friday September 11th, 2009

1. The Yankees have done the best they could to manage the innings workload of Joba Chamberlain. The Tigers, to far less fanfare, have done the same with Rick Porcello. Chamberlain, who turns 24 this month, has thrown 139 2/3 innings. Porcello, 20, has logged almost the exact same number, getting just six more outs than Chamberlain. But the cases of Chamberlain and Porcello, both of whom probably still will be pitching next month, and possibly against one another, represent an excellent example of how "innings" is not a universal measurement.

Despite apparently throwing almost exactly as "much" as Porcello, Chamberlain has logged a much more stressful season. How so? The innings for Chamberlain have required more effort, both physically and mentally. Former Braves and Orioles pitching coach Leo Mazzone used to talk about how "stress innings" -- pitching with runners on base, struggling with command, etc. -- tell a deeper truth than a simple pitch count.

Take a look at how much more often Chamberlain has needed to make pitches with runners on base, and how many more pitches he has thrown, than Porcello -- and to give you some National League flavor, I threw in rookie Randy Wells of the Cubs, who is 27, so no one worries too much about his innings. (Wells, when you include his minor league innings, already has thrown 41 1/3 more innings this year than ever before in his life.)

Chamberlain may have about the same number of innings as Porcello, but he has faced 62 more batters with runners on base and 50 more batters with runners in scoring position while throwing 188 more pitches. Suddenly, their "innings" don't look nearly as identical. And when you compare Chamberlain's workload to what Wells has seen in the lighter weight class of the NL, the difference is even more pronounced.

2. The Rockies are officially scorching. They won a game Thursday with Jose Contreras pitching (backed up by a rookie and two guys who had been DFA'd this year), Jason Giambi at first base and three of their best position players out of the lineup with injuries. Really, this 60-28 run is three months of ridiculously good baseball. Just how ridiculous? Check these out:

• Before going 60-28, Colorado never had won more than 52 games in any 88-game span in franchise history.

• Since June 3, opposing starters are 11-23 at Coors Field.

• The Rockies bullpen has lost two games at home in the past three months. Two. Their relievers are 12-2 at Coors Field since June 3.

• Of the 24 pitchers the Rockies have used this year, 15 of them were not in the organization 10 months ago. Give GM Dan O'Dowd credit. Everybody wants to develop pitching. That's great. But finding pitching, especially on the fly, is where general managers earn their money.

3. After 2,326 combined big league games, the career batting averages for Scott Hairston, Jerry Hairston Sr. and Jerry Hairston Jr. look like this, respectively: .253, .258, .259. Talk about your close-knit families.

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