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Moose Tracks
2007-08-27 18:20
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Mike Mussina only lasted three innings last night. If not for a tremendous Willie Mays-style catch by Melky Cabrera with the bases loaded and a questionable out call at home on a great throw by Robinson Cano, Mussina might not have made it out of the first. As it was, his final line was 3 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 0 K, 0 HR.

After the game, Mussina compared his performance to his previous two stinkers:

The first two games I was trying to pick corners, throw a lot of offspeed pitches, pitch backwards all the time. Today I thought I was going right after people. I threw a lot more fastballs today. I got ahead in counts today. I had a lot of two-strike counts. [Moose threw 68 percent of his pitches for strikes last night compared to 64 and 56 percent in his last two starts.] And when they put the ball in play, they just put it in play someplace where we weren't playing defense.

Moose would later return to that excuse, saying that the Tigers only hit three balls hard off him and curiously asserting that his velocity isn't down from when he was pitching well (it is). While it's true that some of those nine hits were seeing-eye ground balls, flares, and flies that dropped just out of the reach of Melky Cabrera and Bobby Abreu, there were still nine of them in three innings, and, again, Moose was saved by his defense in the first inning.

Despite that excuse, Mussina wasn't defiant. If anything, he sounded lost while reflecting on his last three starts:

I really don't feel like I can do much of anything right . . . Probably the last nine innings are the worst nine innings I've pitched in my whole career, in a row. It's tough to take. I don't even know how to describe it because I've never had to deal with it before. . . Right now I let go of [the ball] and I don't feel like anything good is going to happen. It's tough to pitch that way. You can't play the game that way. You feel like you have no control over anything, and that's how I feel right now. Even the sixty feet six inches [from the mound to the plate] doesn't seem like I have a grasp of, and two weeks ago I felt like I could do anything I wanted. And that's how this game is, it'll slap you in the face when you think you've got it. And I felt good about it, and now I don't feel good at all.

And so the question becomes, will Mike Mussina take his next turn against Tampa Bay on Saturday. Peter Abraham thinks it's "unlikely" citing Mussina's 7.59 ERA in two starts against the Rays this season (Moose had one quality start and one disaster in consecutive starts against the Rays in mid-June, the former in Tampa, the latter in the Bronx, but he allowed 13 baserunners and strike out none in six innings in the "quality" start). Mussina had this to say:

If Joe thinks that somebody else can give us a lift or do the job better, then that's up to him. I'm certainly not hoping that somebody else is taking my spot. I want to keep going out there and figure out what's going on, because I can't believe in three starts that I forgot how to pitch after seventeen years. So I hope he has confidence enough in me to keep sending me out there and let me figure this out, but at the same time we've got to win ballgames, and I'll understand if he thinks that we need to do something else.

For his part, Torre said that he and Ron Guidry would talk to Mussina today to determine his status for his next start and that he should have some answers on Mussina's status soon, but did not offer any immediately following the game last night. Torre suggested that what Mussina has to say would greatly influence the decision. Looking at the above quote from Mussina, I could see it going either way. Moose obviously wants to keep going out there, but that he even acknowledged the fact that a change might be best for the ballclub is a huge admission and could signal to Torre and Guidry that a change may indeed be necessary.

As for how that change might be implemented, Mussina's not hurt, so it would take considerable trickery to put him on the DL, which means the Yankees would have to play a man short in the pen in order to add a replacement starter to the roster in the short term. rosters expand on Saturday, so the only difficulty the Yankees might have in adding an extra pitcher is if they want to bring up someone who's not currently on the 40-man. As to who that starter might be, Ian Kennedy has been fantastic since being promoted to triple-A along with Joba Chamberlain, but, like Joba, Kennedy is a first-year pro on a strict innings limit. Joba's supposedly being held to 130 total innings (he's at 97 1/3 right now). Kennedy has already thrown 146 1/3 across three minor league levels. He's also not on the 40-man. I'd be very surprised to see the Yankees push him into the major league rotation at this point in the season, despite his minor league dominance.

Kei Igawa has pitched better for Scranton than he did for the big club, but he hasn't been great (2-2, 4.21 ERA in six starts since his last demotion). Steven White has posted a 3.75 ERA and a 2-2 record in his last six starts for Scranton, but has never pitched in the majors. The last two men in the Scranton rotation are Matt DeSalvo and Jeff Karstens, neither of whom I want to see in the Bronx again this year. To my mind it's between Igawa and White. Igawa would be closer to regular rest on Saturday having last started on Sunday, while White last started on Friday. Also, of the four pitchers I just mentioned, White is the only one who is not on the 40-man roster. So, really, that's the question Torre and Guidry will be asking themselves today: With the season running down and every game crucial to the Yankees' postseason hopes, are they better off hoping that Mike Mussina can find those five miles per hour on his fastball and the break on his curveball that have gone missing in his last three starts, or are they better off hoping that the third time's the charm for Igawa, who went 0-2 with a 5.97 ERA, a 1.71 WHIP, and seven homers in six starts after his last recall from the minors (though the Yankees went 4-2 in those six games)?

As for the rest of last night's game, Justin Verlander was in top form, holding the Yankees to three hits and a pair of walks over seven scoreless innings, and Zach Miner mopped up with a pair of perfect innings. The only Yankee to reach second base was Bobby Abreu with two outs in the first, and the closest the Yankees got to a run all night was a drive by Hideki Matsui that was caught at the top of the right field wall by Ryan Raburn in the seventh.

Meanwhile, Edwar Ramirez allowed a solo home run to Placido Polanco in his lone inning of work, and Sean Henn continued his impression of Oscar the death-dealing cat by appearing in four of the Yankees' five losses on the road trip, topping this one off by allowing nine runs in 2 2/3 innings to set the final score at 16-0. Henn's last six outings have all come in Yankee losses. He posted a 21.60 ERA on the road trip, taking the loss in both extra inning games, and giving up 18 runs in 6 2/3 innings while mopping up in Mussina's two starts. Expect Henn to get farmed out before tonight's game. The only question is whether or not the Yankees finally bring back Chris Britton, or if they'll instead feel the need to replace Henn with either a lefty or a long man, in which case Kei Igawa could make a very different return to the majors than anticipated above.

Comments (59)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-08-27 22:04:31
1.   Gagne55
It's time for Moose to retire. All he's doing now is embarassing himself. He's nearing Kevin Brown terretory.
2007-08-27 22:12:07
2.   Cliff Corcoran
1 I don't disagree. He's been pulling a Bernie Williams for a few seasons now: flashes of the old Moose mixed with way too much Ghost Moose. I can see next year's rotation without him: Wang, Pettitte, Hughes, Joba, Kennedy, give or take an offseason acquisition or the return of someone like Darrell Rasner to ease the innings load on Chamberlain or Kennedy.
2007-08-27 22:23:24
3.   Mattpat11
I don't know what's more depressing. The end of a great career or the return of Kei Igawa.
2007-08-27 22:36:52
4.   Start Spreading the News
Let's not get carried away. Moose put together a very good season last year:
Pre All-Star: 10-3 with a 3.24 ERA with .224 BAA
Post All-Star: 5-4 with a 3.96 ERA with .268 BAA

The American League Average ERA was 4.56 with .272 BAA

At worst, Moose was a League average pitcher the two years before with spots of brilliance. With his very above average performance last year, no one predicted this rapid collapse.

The question is if it is a slump (the worst of his career) or the end?

2007-08-27 22:44:56
5.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
I dunno, while Moose was clearly fortunate to escape the first -- that ball to center was crushed -- he was correct that he was unlucky after that. By my count there were 2 hard hit balls after the Melky catch. A lot of flairs dropping in and ground balls finding holes.

And at least according to ESPN, his velocity was not bad -- they had him at 91 and even 92 in the 2nd and again in the 3rd.

All of which is to say that he looked better tonight than in the previous 2 starts.

The problem tho -- and this is why you can't just say he was unlucky -- is that Moose is simply incapable of putting batters away. How many 0-2 and 1-2 counts did he let slip away? He seemed to pitch confidently to start each batter off, and then go back to nibbling, breaking balls away, away, away.

If you can't put any batters away and allow everyone to put the ball in play, some of those are balls are going to be hit where fielders ain't.

I'm not even sure how much of that can be blamed on Moose though, the nibblng that is. I've become increasingly disenchanted with Jorge behind the plate, his fielding and his pitch calling.

The wild pitch/passed balls have been ridiculous lately. I also think there's a relunctance on his part to call for pitches inside, and not just with Moose.

Someone in the game thread noted that Leiter had mentioned that Phil Hughes' problem was that he only had 2 pitches. Well, from what I've read, Phil has a decent change and slider. Why isn't Jorge mixing them in?

Also, the Polanco homer -- wtf? Polanco sits first pitch fastball all the time. He makes his living off that. So instead of calling for the change, Jorge has Edwar throw him the fastball. Sure Edwar grooved it right down the middle belt high, but really. I wonder if anyone else is having the same questions about Jorge?

All that said, we're still well within striking distance of Seattle even after this week. Sad to see the division slipping away though. We've lost 4 games to Boston in 8 days as they go 6-1 and we go 2-5. Now even if we sweep them, we're still further out than we were a week ago. Dagnammit.

2007-08-27 23:01:14
6.   Zack
Can we just trade anyone not named Hughes or Chamberlain for Jake Peavy? Please???
2007-08-27 23:02:24
7.   Zack
It does make me somewhat sad to watch this. I've always liked Moose as much as he pisses me off, and its never fun to feel like you are watching a great player crash and burn.
2007-08-27 23:07:55
8.   Vandelay Industries
2 If they did promote Kennedy, it would be for Saturday right? That would leave twenty-seven games in the season. He would likely make four or five starts given the three off days in September, for maybe 30+ innings? With Joba, the question mark that is Britton, and Mo in the pen, I like that option. If Igawa comes up he is here for the rest of the season, or they will plug and play every fifth day. Just give Kennedy the shot and see what he can give us. He would also be starting against Tampa, KC, Toronto, and Baltimore. He would likely miss the Boston seres. It might be tough to sneak in the playoffs otherwise. He is a "rookie," but he's already twenty-four and pitched two full years at USC. It isn't like they would be calling up a nineteen year old kid straight from high school with little or no pro or college coaching, and no minor league experience to speak of. Get the kid checked out by the doctors (MRI), analyze his mechanics, and talk to the coaches. Some guys will break no matter what happens. Some guys need pitch counts to keep them healthy, but most will be just fine. He has already thrown rougly forty more innings than he has since high school, but that shouldn't be the end all and be all of the analyis. A real hard look is all I ask of the club. Best case scenario, he performs well, we don't need him the entire month, we make the playoffs, and he can be sent back down before then end of September.
2007-08-27 23:09:57
9.   Vandelay Industries
5 I'm pretty sure he should give Tom Glavine a call. If he could use the inside part of the plate, if only for show, it might help him quite a bit.
2007-08-28 00:15:06
10.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
3 Igawa??....My wife asked me last night why I always start cursing when Igawa's 'highlights' are shown on tv here. 'You usually love the Japanese players and you love the Yankees. What's the problem?'.... D'oh!!
2007-08-28 02:33:19
11.   RZG
Mussina doesn't need to go on the DL or have roster "trickery" for his Saturday start since that's September 1st and rosters are expanded that day.
2007-08-28 04:44:19
12.   randym77
8 I have wondered if part of Moose's problem is the loss of his personal catcher, Wilbert Nieves.

(Ironic, because last year, Jorgie pointed to Moose as a guy he had great rapport with, as opposed to RJ.)

Kennedy is not on the 40-man, so a move will have to be made in order to call him up. I don't think it will happen. They could put Villone on the 60-day, or DFA him, but even if they do, his roster spot will probably to to Minky, who will likely be back as soon as rosters expand.

2007-08-28 05:05:23
13.   The Mick 536
I heard from an unreliable source that Oscar visited the Yankee lockerroom after the game. He supposedly looked bedraggled after flying up from Crawford Texas where he lunched with Gonzo and DoubleU. Can you confirm?
2007-08-28 05:13:27
14.   williamnyy23
Watching Mussina pitch these last three games has been very sad. It's becoming plain to see that he has reached the end of the road as a consistently effective pitcher who can handle good lineups. It seems as if last year, when he had a very impressive ERA+ OF 125 (which was 4th in the AL), was his last hurrah. After two league average seasons in 2004-2005, I can't blame the Yankees for re-signing him for two years. Coming off his rebound and in comparison to the money thrown around this off season, it seemed like a steal.

The unfortunate thing for Moose is that these three clunkers have come all in a row at a crucial time. Had the schedule sprinkled in a few KC/Tampa/White Sox games amid the Tigers/Angels, I'm sure there would be no furor. The combination of tougher teams and the wear and tear of a season on an old arm, however, has conspired to bury the Moose.

I'd be inclined to give Mussina one more start before pulling the plug. His next scheduled opponents would be TB, KC and Toronto and Baltimore two times. There are no power houses in that group, so maybe he can steady himself. At worst, he'd improve his trade value for next season. Now, the Yankees are still alive and can't afford to let Moose straighten himself out, but that could be a moot point very soon. With three games against Boston and Seattle sandwiched around Mussina's next start, how the Yankees play over the next 10 games might make the decision easy. Who knows, you may ultimately wind up in a situation where both Kennedy and Mussina are auditioning in the rotation over the last 20 games.

Depending on what moves the Yankees make in the off season, I think the best bet is for him to relocate somewhere in the National League. I think he would be very successful pitching in one of the bigger ballparks with a younger defense behind him and weaker lineups at the plate. I don't think he is done as a major league pitcher. I just think he is done as a pitcher for the New York Yankees. If that's the case, I think he can hold his head up high because he was a very good Yankee (and I don't care if he doesn't have a ring).

2007-08-28 05:19:50
15.   RZG
14 Mussina has struggled against Tampa Bay this year.
2007-08-28 05:30:34
16.   williamnyy23
15 In one start, he turned in 6IP/3R (in spite of 11 hits), but I still think he can handle a lineup like Tampa's (maybe 5IP/3R). If you simply pull the plug on Moose now, you are pretty much committing yourself to eating his entire 2008 salary and getting nothing in return. Without a sure thing (i.e., Joba) to replace him, it doesn't make sense to come to that decision right now.
2007-08-28 05:38:05
17.   3rd gen yankee fan
Ugh. This is obviously really painful for Moose.
2007-08-28 05:49:10
18.   Sliced Bread
Moose needs a break right now, as much as we need a break from him.

Karstens' and Igawa's chances of helping the Yankee-cause this season are about the same as Michael Vick's chances of landing an endorsement deal with Hush Puppies.

Don't want to unshackle Kennedy's chastity belt just yet? OK, try Steven White. Maybe he can Aaron Small his way through the last few weeks of the season.

This boogie's a mess.

2007-08-28 05:58:22
19.   Sliced Bread
On the Lumpy & Chuckles Radio Show last night they briefly mentioned a "heated discussion" in the dugout between Joe and Guidry, while Moose continued his meltdown.

Was YES on that? What went down?

2007-08-28 06:06:12
20.   williamnyy23
19 I heard that too, but dismissed it as Waldman being her typical dramatic self.
2007-08-28 06:11:39
21.   Sliced Bread
20 I dismissed it as Joe calling for Proctor, and Gator having to set him straight again...

but sometimes there's more to it than that.

2007-08-28 06:21:28
22.   OldYanksFan
The bottom line for the season is we are battling Seattle and Detroit for the WC. We are fortunate Seattle lost 3 in a row, so we are still at a very reasonable 2 games out.

There is no doubt this team is better then Seattle and much better then we have seen last week. But there is NO time left. This team must solve it issues and start playing Yankee baseball.

Everything said about Moose is true, both the good and the bad. What 'impressed' me the most was that Moose threw NOTHING inside. Nothing on the inside half, nothing just off the plate inside, nothing brush-back inside.

A pitcher, especially one in his 'latter' years cannot win using only half the plate. Every Detroit batter was looking middle-out, and hitting those pitches hard. No was was afraid to lean over the plate. No one was hit on the handle.

As someone pointed out, maybe Posada is culpable for some of our pitching performances. No matter how good or bad our pitchers throw, yop must use the entire strike zone and the entire area just outside the strike zone. Mixing pitches up, down, in, and out, may be more important then mixing fastball, curve, change.

It's Mosse especially, but our entire staff, outside of Clemens and Mo, needs to work inside more. A pitch high and tight is intimadating, one high and out is not. Hitting the ball off the end of the bat doesn't hurt near as much as hitting one off the hands.

Pena and Torre know this. The played in an era where pitching inside, brushing back, and even hitting a few players was just part of the game.

Do we get pitched inside? Does Jetes ever get hit in the hands? We have to STOP being such gentlemen when we take the mound.

2007-08-28 06:27:49
23.   Sliced Bread
22 Jorge set up for pitches inside last night, but Moose went down the middle.
Moose's problems, Clemens' problems, Hughes' problems, etc. have little if anything to do with Posada, the way I see it.
2007-08-28 06:31:37
24.   rbj
I cannot believe that Moose suddenly forgot how to pitch -- mixing things up, using both sides of the plate. He's too smart and has been around too long for that. IMO, he's just lost confidence in his ability -- maybe he is hurt and is in denial, just doesn't want his career to end.
2007-08-28 06:36:30
25.   Cliff Corcoran
11 Of course. My mistake. I tend to forget about expanding rosters because I think it's b.s. that teams still in contention are allowed to do so.
2007-08-28 06:44:55
26.   Cliff Corcoran
11 I tweaked the above to shift my concerns from the 25-man roster to the 40-man. Kennedy and White are not on the 40-man, so I still think it's a choice between Igawa and Mussina.
2007-08-28 06:45:14
27.   Sliced Bread
25 I have no prob. with it. However, I do agree that teams still in contention should not be allowed to expand their rosters to include the likes of Doug Out. That's just wrong.
2007-08-28 06:46:17
28.   williamnyy23
22 I think Moose didn't pitch inside because he can't. When your fastball is topping out at 85mph, it's tough to go inside. I think he tried to get in Pudge's kitchen and was almost decapitated by the ball.
2007-08-28 06:52:40
29.   mayorkoch
Wow, this is like a exam question on the job application for the next Astros GM. To bring White (or Kennedy for that matter) up would involve 3 40 man roster moves if you figure that Stinky and Nieves are being called up no matter what. Brackman's spot is 1 but then it gets a little tougher since they want Thompson for September. Unfortunately if the choice is a close one between Igawa and White they may just do the expedient thing. I think the point about Kennedy being 24 is a good one. He is on the downhill slope of the young pitcher injury nexis and could probably stand more innings. Here's where Brian earns his money.

Prediction - Britton up for Henn today. Igawa added on Saturday. (eeeks)

2007-08-28 06:54:58
30.   JeremyM
You would think that if Glavine could rebound then Mussina could, but maybe that's why Glavine is a Hall-of-Famer and Moose will probably "almost" be one (even though he probably deserves enshrinement I think it will be tough for him). I've always been a fan of the guy since he joined the team and it sucks to see him pitching this badly, especially after it looked like he was starting to put things together for 6 or so starts before this.
2007-08-28 06:55:16
31.   Sliced Bread
26 but isn't there enough fat to trim off the 40 man roster to include White?

I'm not suggesting he's the answer, but we have a good idea of what we can expect from Karstens, Igawa, De Salvo etc. and anybody looking forward to that? Me neither.

Barring Kennedy, I'd say White's worth a shot, even if somebody (Doug Out?) has to get kicked to the curb.

2007-08-28 06:57:08
32.   Raf
22 He tried pitching inside but kept missing his spots.
2007-08-28 06:57:31
33.   JeremyM
I have pretty much no desire to see Igawa again, it would be one thing if he was pitching really well in AAA but he's been merely OK. But I'm sure that's going to be the pick.

I'd like to see Kennedy, but we've seen the struggles Hughes has had and I wouldn't expect a ton out of Kennedy either at this stage. I think if Hughes was pitching better, then we would definitely see Kennedy get the start.

2007-08-28 07:04:24
34.   Bob B
28 Williamnyy23 hit it right on the head. Moose's fast ball has slowed down so much that anyone can hit it. Maybe he's just tired but with 30 games to go this is an awful time to fall apart. If you heard him after the game, he sounds completely defeated. I'm sure it's killing him to let the team down just as the rest of the team was rallying. Suddenly, the Yankees look like they did the first two months of the season.......like a team destined to not make the playoffs.
2007-08-28 07:13:04
35.   williamnyy23
David Justice was pretty blunt in the postgame. He pretty much said Mussina can't get hitters out with the stuff he has right now. He also made an interesting reference to Mussina's statement that he was getting the pitches where he wanted. Justice basically said that's an even worse sign because it means that even when he locates, the stuff still isn't good enough to get outs. There were a couple of instances during the game that support this view. On at least 2-3 replays, Leiter mentioned that the location was good, but the result was bad (particularly the Pudge liner up the box).
2007-08-28 07:15:12
36.   Sliced Bread
35 There were also a couple of replays that showed Posada setting up inside, while Moose went down the middle and got drilled.
He was not consistently hitting his targets.
2007-08-28 07:20:04
37.   Yankee Fan in Chicago
28 ESPN had him at 90-91. Is their gun really off by that much?
2007-08-28 07:28:57
38.   williamnyy23
37 Pardon the pun, but YES.
2007-08-28 07:34:42
39.   YankeeInMichigan
I've been to at least 20 baseball games in my life, and last night I finally broke my perfect streak of staying until the last pitch. At the 7th-inning stretch, with the score 10-0, I told my kids that this game wasn't worth missing a full-night's sleep over, and we headed for the exits. As we were walking to the car, we kept hearing bursts of applause, and we said to each other "this doesn't sound good." We pulled into our driveway just in time for the last out.

Moose seemed to be holding his right shoulder higher than usual. He looked really tense and awkward.

How can Moose "go right after people" with an 86 MPH fastball?

There are some pitchers (e.g. Wang, Wells) who can thrive on letting the batters put the ball in play. Moose has never been among them. He cannot be effective without the strikeout.

Moose and Torre both mentioned that the hamstring could be acting up. Moose acknowledge that it's been "sore," and Torre observed that he doesn't have "the spring that he needs." Perhaps a 2-week rest will do him some good. A stint on the 15-day DL would be appropriate, though with roster expansion, they don't need to go there.

2007-08-28 07:35:51
40.   YankeeInMichigan
37 I don't recall the radar gun at Comerica topping 84 for Moose (at it was consistently at 96 for Verlander).
2007-08-28 07:51:27
41.   YankeeInMichigan
37 40 According to Gameday (which takes the speed at release point), Moose hit 90 once (called strike to Ordonez in 1st) and 89 four times (three of them in 1st, including Guillen's 415-ft. sac. fly). In the third, he hit 87 only once (ball to Raburn) and 86 once (Polanco's double).

Ironically, most of his outs were on soft stuff, and his best at bat was his last last against Granderson, whom he retired on three pitches at 71 (swinging strike), 77 (called strike) and 76 (ground out).

2007-08-28 08:00:14
42.   Raf
I think we're making too much about Moose's velocity (or lack thereof). If this were a result of injury, that's one thing; since they've dismissed that angle, it's irrelevant.

I'm more concerned with him missing his spots. There have been pitchers that have succeeded & failed in MLB with sub 90's fastballs, there have been pitchers who've succeeded & failed with 90+ fastballs.

2007-08-28 08:00:50
43.   Mattpat11
26 Then I'll take Mussina.
2007-08-28 08:06:56
44.   rconn23
I understand the Yankees not wanting to take a chance on bringing Kennedy up, but really, Steven White? Another (Matt Desalvo,Tyler Clippard, Jeff Karstens, Chase Wright, Darell Rasner) special?

How sad is it that a team with this number of resources is scrambling like this to find answers.

When you rely on washed up pitchers who can't throw fastballs past anyone, this is what you get.

When will anyone in this orgnanization learn this?

2007-08-28 08:17:01
45.   dlewanda
I wonder if the team is charting what 41 noticed. If so, I wonder if Mussina can "re-invent" himself as a Jaime Moyer-type from the right hand side. There may not be enough time this year, but maybe it would allow the team to get something out of there investment for next year. I also always wondered why Mussina never learned the traditional knuckleball. He used to throw that knuckle-curve. If he could learn that, maybe he can be a Tim Wakefield-type who can throw a lot of innings.
2007-08-28 08:24:20
46.   Yankee Fan In Boston
45 he still throws the knuckle curve, but it isn't a traditional knuckleball. it still requires a certain arm speed to get it over with any effectiveness (so does a conventional knuckler).

some adjustments must be made, though.

2007-08-28 08:32:41
47.   dlewanda
46 If the knuckleball is out, then maybe just a Jaime Moyer type who throws slow, slower and slowest. It may not be as deceptive from the right side, but maybe just getting some separation in speeds while retaining some movement will allow him to still be an effective 4-th starter. That would allow the team to go Wang, Pettite, Hughes, Mussina, Chamberlain/Kennedy/etc. next year.
2007-08-28 08:38:33
48.   Shaun P
Pitchers do sometimes just lose it - David Cone in 2000, for example. I hate to say it, but maybe Moose is at that point.

Still, if the choice is Moose vs Igawa, I'd like to see what's behind door number 3, and pretend door number 2 (Igawa) doesn't exist. Damn shame they can't throw Joba out there for the start, then move him back to the pen, but that might be asking too much in terms of injury risk.

2007-08-28 08:49:42
49.   Cliff Corcoran
By the way, I got Sean Henn's road trip stats wrong. They're actually worse than what I quote above. The correct numbers will be in the Series Wrap which I'll post shortly.
2007-08-28 08:52:46
50.   williamnyy23
45 In many ways, Mussina has already re-invented himself as a Jamie Moyer type. After a decent prime (no where near as good as Moose's, Moyer has settled in as a league average pitcher at best), Moyer's ERA+ since his last very good year at age 40 has been at 83, 101, 102 and currently 88. Mussina is at 79, so in many way he might be able to have an end of career like Moyer. Of course, an 80-100 ERA+ pitcher isn't exactly what the Yankees need.

In other words, remaking himself as a Moyer clone isn't going to get the job done.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-08-28 08:58:08
51.   rsmith51
50 I think the Yanks would gladly take a league average pitcher for the rest of the season.
2007-08-28 09:02:18
52.   dianagramr
"Game Scores" for his last 3 starts:
23, 12, 16.

Moose has had only 2 prior 3-game streaks with "Game Scores" under 30:
End of '03 to Beginning of '04
End of June 1993 to beginning of July 1994

I'm trying to find out the last team to surrender 42 runs in 3 consecutive starts by the same pitcher (as the Yanks have done in Moose's last 3 starts).

2007-08-28 09:02:46
53.   YankeeInMichigan
49 In fairness to Henn, the Yankees were basically hanging him out to dry in the two blowouts. The last 6 runs last night were scored in a 2-out rally in the 7th that began after Henn had thrown 65 pitches.
2007-08-28 09:03:03
54.   dlewanda
50 51 Maybe league average will suffice for this year and give the Yankees some leverage on the trade market. Living near Philly I can see how Mussina could be given the opportunity to hang around a borderline contender in the NL a few more years (if he can be Moyer-like, and pitch to 44, he could be pushing close to 300). A team like PHI, LAD, STL, CHC or MIL would probably love to have a 90-105 ERA+ pitcher right now. Given the boost Mussina would see against NL teams, maybe he would okay a trade and the Yanks could get a second-tier prospect or bullpen arm in the off-season.
2007-08-28 09:04:40
55.   YankeeInMichigan
48 At this point, I'd take Igawa. At least he has the ability to get batters out. He just needs to do it more consistently.
2007-08-28 09:06:06
56.   williamnyy23
51 But with a Moyer clone, league average is a best case scenario, and that usually only comes against lesser opponents. I still think Mussina can approach league average over the remainder of the season if he hasn't checked out mentally. That's what Torre/Guidry need to determine. There is almost as much risk in pulling Moose as there is in letting him remain in the rotation, so this decision could very well make or break the season.
2007-08-28 09:08:59
57.   williamnyy23
53 In fairness to Henn, his roster spot should be occupied by Chris Britton.
2007-08-28 09:26:19
58.   YankeeInMichigan
51 Over the past few weeks, the Yankees have already had two league-average pitchers, Clemens and Hughes. One of them will need to step it up a notch if the Yankees are two make any kind of post-season run.

A #4 can be league-average. A #5 can be a bit below, but the present-day Moose isn't even on the map.

At this point, Pettitte is a low #1 or high #2. Wang has regressed to a #3. Clemens and Hughes are both solid #4s. There is no #5. How's Rasner's finger doing?

2007-08-28 10:19:58
59.   Cliff Corcoran
49 Henn's stats fixed above.

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