Yankees Rumors & News
This entry was posted on Monday, September 8th, 2008 at 9:22 pm and is filed under Baseball, Yankees Rumors & News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

The Yankees are in fourth place. Their season is over and the focus is turning away from this season, but there is still one more reason to watch: Mike Mussina.

That’s because he has quietly been putting together a great season and what a story it would be if at the age of 39 he finally nabbed that elusive twentieth victory.

Mussina won 19 games twice, once in ’95 and again in ’96. He has won at least 17 games eight times and he’s won more games in baseball history among pitchers without a 20-win season.

In the past few years Mussina’s numbers had been dwindling. Once a dominant pitcher he looked like he was coming ever closer to retirement. Especially after being pulled from the Yankee rotation last season after a terrible month of August where opponents were batting .396 off him and he had a 8.87 ERA.

Despite the sour second half of 2007 Mussina was still to be included in the Yankees more youthful rotation as a veteran leader. Although most assumed his leadership role would be more of an off-the-field quality than a lead by example front of the rotation guy.

Early on in 2008 he looked good, but he wasn’t going deep into games and after back-to-back poor performances against the Red Sox, especially Manny Ramirez, people were openly questioning if he had anything left including Hank Steinbrenner.

What Steinbrenner actually did was speculate out loud about what he envisioned the Yankee rotation as and excluded Moose. He went on to say that the pitcher needed to, “Learn how to pitch like Jamie Moyer.”

It didn’t take long for things to change for Mussina. After that comment he went to win nine of his next 10 decisions and he has only given up more than four earned runs in a start once since that time and has become the Yankees most reliable starter.

He has a 17-8 record and blew a golden opportunity to pick up win number-18 last night against the lowly Mariners, but he hasn’t lost his opportunity to pick up number-20.

He could pitch this Friday or Saturday against the Rays, a team he is 3-0 against this year. His next start would then be a midweek appearance against the White Sox, who he beat in his only appearance against this season.

If he wins both of those games he would then likely have two more chances to pick up win number-20 in two road match-ups in Toronto and then Boston. He’s 1-1 against Toronto and 1-2 against Boston, but the odds may be in his favor this time around in Beantown as he pitched well against a Manny-less Red Sox last time around.

In four more starts he needs three more wins. It’s a long shot, but it gives you a reason to watch the Yankees this year.

Comments are closed.

  • Press Harbor