Fresh off a five-game winning streak and hoping to avoid a two-game losing streak, the Yanks will send Mike Mussina to the hill tonight against one of the worst pitchers in baseball, Edwin Jackson (1–9, 7.14 ERA, 1.85 WHIP!!!!).
These two stiffs matched up in a game for the ages five days ago, the Yankees survived for a 7–6 win, but honestly, Moose was out-pitched.
No pitcher on the Yankee staff not named Farnsworth has been a bigger disappointment than Mussina this year. His numbers aren’t terrible, by American League standards, but they don’t even begin to tell the story of how grueling watching him pitch has become. His fastball, which a few years ago used to be in the low nineties, is now lucky to touch 87 MPH. His nibbling is only topped by his complaining when he doesn’t get an extra inch or two off the plate. It’s painful to see him get ahead of hitters, then nibble, then eventually give in.
The title of this post may be a little misleading, because it assumes that there is more than one Mike Mussina left. Unfortunately, I think the good, effective, productive Moose is long gone, and we’re going to be stuck with this poor facsimile for as long as he remains on the team. All we can hope for is the rare night when he can control all of his pitches, and the ump gives him a generous zone. Short of that, we’re probably in for another painful 5 or 6 innings, and the inevitable implosion once he reaches 85–95 pitches.
I’ve talked about a lot of trades in the past couple of weeks, and whether I think the Yankees should be buyers or sellers. There’s a good discussion of this very topic going on over at River Ave. Blues as I write this. Here’s a question that’s been posed to me by frequent commenter JJ: “Would you trade Mussina for Pat Burrell, straight up?” My answer is yes. I think Hughes and Karstens can do a better job in the 4 and 5 spots in the rotation than Mussina and Igawa. I also think having Burrell as a power bat off the bench would be a welcome addition. If you’re reading Brian Cashman, make the phone call to Philly, please.