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Joba has a different air about him

Joba has a different air about him

NEW YORK -- Joba Chamberlain came back from his midseason respite pitching like a new man, having some time to himself in Nebraska during the All-Star break. Now, the Yankees are hoping he didn't forget what he found there.

Chamberlain will look to follow up on one of his better efforts of the season on Friday, matching up against the Oakland Athletics in the second game of a four-game series at Yankee Stadium. He is coming off an eight-strikeout win against the Tigers on Sunday.

"I'm always excited to see his next start," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I do want him to build off of it. You can't say he's going to go out there and be perfect, because you can't say that about any of our starters.

"But we saw a lot of really good things and what he's capable of doing. For him, the key was getting out of the innings when he got into a little bit of trouble."

Girardi thought that the biggest difference in Chamberlain's return from his time in Nebraska -- when he said he spent most of the time chasing his 3-year-old son, Karter, around the family backyard -- was that he was able to repeat his delivery more consistently and get out of jams.

"I just got back to being myself," Chamberlain said. "It was fun to get away from baseball for four days. I think that was the best -- to get those four days to get my mind right and get back to having fun and the confidence and attitude I know I have."

The most specific example of Chamberlain's progress came in the fifth inning of that Tigers start, when Curtis Granderson ripped a one-out triple that right fielder Nick Swisher misplayed and then the righty hit Placido Polanco with a pitch.

Chamberlain got Miguel Cabrera to pop out harmlessly and, looking for a strikeout, he got one in a huge spot against Marcus Thames, pumping his fist and screaming as he bounded off the mound. That exhibition was a direct result of a souvenir Chamberlain brought back with him from Nebraska.

"I realized I was having fun, but I wasn't being the Joba Chamberlain I should have been," Chamberlain said. "That's not good enough."

Pitching matchup
NYY: RHP Joba Chamberlain (5-2, 4.05 ERA)
Chamberlain is coming off his first victory at the new Yankee Stadium, having struck out eight and leading the Yankees to a series sweep of the Tigers. Limiting the Detroit offense to only a solo home run -- Clete Thomas' fourth-inning shot -- and three hits through 6 2/3 innings, Chamberlain overcame early command issues and showed huge improvements after returning home to Nebraska to clear his mind over the All-Star break. He won for the first time since June 24 in Atlanta and had allowed seven or more hits in each of his past five starts. This will be Chamberlain's first 2009 start against the Athletics.

OAK: LHP Brett Anderson (5-7, 4.25 ERA)
Anderson was perfect his most recent time out -- for 6 2/3 innings, at least. The 21-year-old rookie threw eight scoreless innings against the Angels on Sunday. He allowed two hits, walked none and struck out six. Anderson now has a 21-inning scoreless streak going over his past four starts, holding opponents to a .124 average over that stretch. He surrendered five runs in 5 1/3 innings against the Yankees on April 22 in his third Major League start. With the way he's been rolling lately, odds are Anderson has a different outcome in mind this time.

Tidbits
The Yankees have now compiled a seven-game winning streak immediately following the All-Star break for the second consecutive year (eight in a row in 2008). ... Mark Teixeira is 9-for-27 with four runs, two doubles, three home runs, seven RBIs and one walk during the homestand. ... Phil Hughes has not allowed a run in his past 15 outings. Hughes' current 22-inning scoreless streak, dating back to June 10 in Boston, is the longest single-season scoreless stretch for a Yankees reliever since Mariano Rivera in 2005 (23 innings), according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• YES

On radio
• WCBS 880, 92.7 WQBU (Español)

Up next
• Saturday: Athletics (Gio Gonzalez, 1-2, 9.33) at Yankees (Andy Pettitte, 8-5, 4.62), 1:05 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Athletics (Dallas Braden, 7-8, 3.40) at Yankees (Sergio Mitre, 1-0, 4.76), 1:05 p.m. ET
• Monday: Yankees (A.J. Burnett, 9-4, 3.74) at Rays (James Shields, 6-6, 3.70), 7:08 p.m. ET

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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