Not a bad set of numbers, right?

What would you think the ERA would be of someone who had those?

3.00? 3.50? Something pretty solid?

Well if you guessed 5.79, then you win the prize. Because those are the numbers of Joba Chamberlain.

Surprised that someone with over a strikeout per inning has such an awful ERA? It doesn’t really make sense.

What’s made it worse for faithful Yankee fans is that Joba has blown up at the worst of times. Being the Yankees’ primary setup man, he gets used in very high leverage situations. And when the game has been on the line, Joba has given it up like a working girl in Hunts Point. So what is wrong with Joba? Why does he suck? Fans and media types have suggested the following possibilities:

*The Yankees have messed with his head by jerking him around from bullpen to rotation to bullpen.

*His mechanics are screwed up.

*He’s not suited for this role.

*He hasn’t been the same since his shoulder injury in 2008. He’s just not that good of a pitcher anymore.

Here’s another possibility:

Joba Chamberlain hasn’t been pitching all that poorly. Maybe he’s actually been pitching quite well, but his ERA contains all the noise one might expect to find in a miniscule 37-inning sample size.

So, unless you think that a .380 BABIP and a 58% Strand Rate are all of a sudden part of his permanent skill set, let’s all just chill out. We’re not saying he should be lighting the world on fire, but as the numbers indicate, he really isn’t anywhere close to being this bad. Set aside the fretting and psychoanalyzing, and just enjoy the regression.