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I came away from this 5-2 loss to Toronto with two thoughts about Mike Mussina. First, he didn't pitch poorly. Second, the Yanks need to shuffle the rotation as soon as possible because he is not a number 2 starter, not even close.

Mussina is basically a batting practice pitcher out there right now. I didn't see a fastball break the 85MPH barrier, but he's still got the control. He used a dizzying array of hanging curves and just-off-the-plate heaters to keep Toronto a little off balance at the dish and he made it through 5.2 innings while only allowing 3 earned runs. If they get that out of him on a consistent basis I'll be shocked and happy.

It's been painful to watch Moose nibble and nibble and nibble and turn a pitcher's count into a hitter's count, so I tracked every pitcher's count he was in tonight (0-2 and 1-2) here are the results:

Mussina faced 25 batters, he got ahead of 10 of them either 0-2 or 1-2.
  1. 0-2 vs. Frank Thomas: the count went to 2-2 before Thomas grounded out. (Positive)
  2. 0-2 vs. Marco Scutaro: the count went to 2-2 before Scutaro K'd looking. (Positive)
  3. 0-2 vs. David Eckstein: Eckstein grounded out on the 0-2 pitch. (Positive)
  4. 0-2 vs. Alex Rios: Mussina walked him on the 3-2 pitch with 2 out. He then scored on Vernon Wells' two-run home run. (Negative)
  5. 0-2 vs. Lyle Overbay: Overbay struck out on the 0-2 pitch. (Positive)
  6. 1-2 vs. Rod Barajas: Barajas singled on the 1-2 pitch. (Negative)
  7. 0-2 vs. Eckstein: the count went to 2-2, Eckstein fouled off 5 pitches then hit into a double play. (Positive)
  8. 0-2 vs. Vernon Wells: The count went to 1-2, then Wells singled. (Negative)
  9. 0-2 vs. Lyle Overbay: The count went to 1-2, then Overbay flew out. (Positive)
  10. 0-2 vs. Aaron Hill: Hill singled on the 0-2 pitch to score a run and end Mussina's night. (Negative)
All told, the Jays were 3/9 after being down 0-2 or 1-2 in the count, drove in one run and drew a walk. It's pretty sad for batters to hit .333 off of you after you have them at the ultimate disadvantage. It's miraculous that he only gave up 3 earned runs while allowing an OBP of .400 in those situations. The four double plays he induced helped a great deal.

A.J. Burnett silenced the Yankee bats throughout the night, his only blemish was A-Rod's monstrous two-run bomb which ended Burnett's night in the 7th. That at bat was a wonder to behold. A-Rod had the count to his advantage and sat on a fastball at 2-1. Burnett threw him one on the outer half, A-Rod swung and missed. He was way behind the pitch. Then Burnett came back with another fastball, up out of the zone. Somehow, A-Rod got his hands above the ball and blasted it over the fence in the deepest part of the part. I have no idea how he made that adjustment on the fly and punished that pitch in that location. It defies logic, but I guess that's what makes him the best hitter in the game.

We got our first look at the B-team in the pen tonight. Hawkins, Farnsworth and Ohlendorf combined for 3.1 innings of work, allowing 1 run on 4 hits with 2Ks. Most importantly, they didn't allow a walk.

Melky had one tough play in center that he didn't convert. I thought he should've caught the ball at the wall. That's two plus plays and two minus plays for him in center through the first two games.

Tomorrow we get to see Phil Hughes for the first time this season against either Dustin McGowan or Shaun Marcum. Let's not start the season by losing a series, huh?

Player of The Game: Alex Rodriguez (1st bomb of the year)
Team Record: 1-1
Damon's Broken Bats: 2 (3 on the season)
by Brian on Apr 2 2008
Tags: Alex Rodriguez | Blue Jays | Mike Mussina |