Watching Mike Mussina pitch tonight was a real pleasure
. I don't think I've written that sentence before on this blog, and I'm quite sure it's been years since I even thought it, but it's true. Moose is pitching smart, he's aggressive in the zone, and he's adapted to his style to his diminished stuff instead of trying to force himself to be a power pitcher with an 85MPH fastball.
I still find it extremely troubling that two runs is the most this lineup can manage, but James Shields is a good pitcher. We'll concentrate on the positive for the offense and the manager, tonight. Both runs came on clutch hits, one by Cano, who finally saw his luck turn, and the other by Abreu. Let's talk about that second run for a minute, the game winner. Morgan Ensberg led off the inning with a single, then Jose Molina bunted him over. It obviously the right call, Molina is something like 4 for his last 50 at the plate, but for some reason I didn't think Joey Jr. was going to do it. Well, he proved me wrong and that decision gave the Yanks the deciding run, so Joey gets a gold star on the offensive side. Well, make that half a star, he loses something for another meaningless shuffle of the lineup.
The biggest shock of the game, and honestly I think this was the true turning point, came in the bottom of the 7th. Keep in mind that Moose was dominant through six and a third innings, he'd only allowed 5 hits, he hadn't walked a batter and he hadn't given up a run. After striking out Carlos Pena looking, Moose walked Evan Longoria. Girardi was out of the dugout in a hurry and there was a conversation on the mound. I would've bet money that Girardi was going to leave Mussina in the game. I thought Joey Jr. was going to defer to the veteran pitcher, again, and we were going to see Moose give it all up. Instead, Girardi brought in Ross Ohlendorf who got out of the inning. Joba and Mo were as advertised and the rest is history. Making the call to the bullpen right there probably saved this game. Another gold star for Joey.
Ian Patrick Kennedy will make his triumphant return to the Yanks tomorrow to face Scott Kazmir in a late afternoon game. The Yanks are looking to split the series before heading home to take on the Mets.Player of The Game:
20-21Damon's Broken Bats:
One of the most impressive lawn darts you'll ever see on a ground out.