Joba Chamberlain didn’t mince words when discussing his latest outing. And though he didn’t notice the booing, he certainly understood it.
“Honestly, I didn’t hear it,” Chamberlain said. “I would boo too. I sucked. I was there and it wasn’t good. They paid to see a good game and I didn’t throw well. So I’m being honest with you; it doesn’t hurt my feelings. My own son booed me and it just keeps that in perspective.”
That was Chamberlain’s assessment of his eighth outing following Tommy John surgery and a serious ankle injury that saw him allow two runs and four hits in the seventh and eighth innings of Thursday’s 10-6 loss to the Rangers.
Chamberlain has now allowed 13 hits and six earned runs and has a 9.00 ERA in his first eight appearances of the year. While nobody was expecting dominance, the slow development of Chamberlain’s command is concerning.
“Coming back is one thing, but I don’t come back just to come back,” Chamberlain said. “I know how good I am. I know my abilities. I know how good I have been. Coming back is one thing but that’s the first step in this whole process. It’s going to take work. It’s not easy up there. I’ve learned on the fly since 2007, so this is just another way to learn.”
“There’s some inconsistency,” Girardi said. “He made some really good pitches and then he made one where he misses his spot. That’s probably part of not throwing a lot. He just needs to continue to throw and get more consistent.”
Chamberlain threw 36 pitches and radar guns had him clocked in the high-90 mph range on a few occasions. It was location that was the problem.
He entered after Boone Logan gave up a double to David Murphy that forged a 5-5 tie. The outing began decently as Chamberlain fanned Geovany Soto on three pitches, using his slider to get to the out.
Then the trouble started.
Following an intentional walk to Mitch Moreland, Chamberlain left a 94-mph fastball just above the knees and on the inside corner to Craig Gentry. Gentry laced the pitch to center field and the Rangers re-took the lead they’d had until the fifth inning.
“It ran back into the plate and that’s flying open and the ball running back,” Chamberlain said. “They build on each other and two good at-bats, getting ahead early and I know making that one mistake, these guys are too good to make a mistake to, especially in that situation.”
The eighth inning was more troublesome for Chamberlain.
He gave up a leadoff double on his slider to Elvis Andrus, who took third on a fielding error. That was followed by an out, an intentional walk to Josh Hamilton and a sacrifice fly to Adrian Beltre.
Chamberlain’s day ended when he left sliders up to Murphy and Soto that turned into base hits. Soto’s base hit sliced into left field and made the deficit 9-6.
“I felt I was ready,” Chamberlain said. “I didn’t think there was anything more that we had to work on. Obviously we went two innings a couple of times and back-to-back, but you can’t mimic pitching in the big leagues.
“You can pitch in rehab starts and get your pitches but these guys are in the big leagues for a reason. The other guys are in Double-A, High-A and Triple-A for a reason as well. It’s one of those things where we have to keep grinding and just continue to get better every day.”
Chamberlain’s performance was not the only spotty showing by Yankee pitching. Before the Yankees scored five in the sixth off Derek Holland, Ivan Nova was headed for his fifth loss in seven decisions.
Nova, instead, wound up with a no-decision after allowing four runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 tedious innings. He gave up two runs in the first and sixth while avoiding more damage but still did not pitch well, falling behind 15 of 27 hitters.
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.