DETROIT -- Two weeks ago, Joba Chamberlain looked like a pitcher struggling to find his old form, booed off the mound after a rough ninth inning against the Orioles. But, as one American League scout who watched his four outs Thursday said, Chamberlain looks like he could be the Tigers' next setup man.
To Chamberlain, it was just a matter of getting regular innings and getting into a groove with his mechanics.
"It's just getting into a rhythm," Chamberlain said. "Obviously being able to be in the games and be in situations where you know you're able to pitch and execute pitches [helps]. I just feel comfortable with all my pitches right now, being able to locate with fastballs and throw my slider, my curveball whenever I want.
"It's a game where you just have to adjust. That was the big thing for me to be able to come in and make some adjustments and obviously help this team win."
The velocity has stayed in the same range. He averaged 94.53 mph on his fastball when the Orioles roughed him up, according to data from MLB.com's Gameday application and brooksbaseball.net. He averaged just under 94.94 mph on Thursday.
The bigger difference is that he's spotting what he's throwing, especially his heavy, biting slider. He threw five of them on Thursday, four for strikes, only one of them a swing and miss. By contrast, all three curveballs he threw ended up with swings and misses.
Chamberlain is also two years separated from Tommy John surgery, but downplays the health factor.
"My elbow's never, ever been an issue," he said. "It's just being in a rhythm and being in games. I'm an adrenaline junkie, so for me to be in the game when it's close and give us a chance to win is what I live for."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less