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Endangered Moose
2008-04-02 12:18
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Tonight Mike Mussina will begin his 18th major league season and his eighth as a New York Yankee. Regardless of how he performs this year, it will likely be his last as a Yankee, as he is in the second year of the two-year contract he signed following the 2006 season. At age 39, if he struggles the way he did last year, it could prove to be his last year in the majors as well.

In the winter following the Yankees' last World Series win, the two big free agents were Manny Ramirez and Mike Mussina. The 2000 season saw David Cone post a 6.91 ERA in his final year as a Yankee and Denny Neagle post a 5.81 mark after coming to the Bronx from Cincinnati in a mid-July deal. With a rotation just three-men deep and no apparent reinforcements on the way from the then-barren farm system, the Yankees made the correct choice by signing the 32-year-old Mussina to a six-year deal worth $88.5 million. The 28-year-old Ramirez, a Washington Heights native who longed to play in the Bronx, instead landed with the rival Red Sox for $168 million over eight years. In those eight years, both men have helped their teams to a pair of World Series appearances, but Mussina's Yankees lost both times (despite going 2-1 in the three games Mussina pitched in those two Series), while Ramirez's Red Sox won both times, with Ramirez claiming the MVP trophy in the team's curse-breaking victory in 2004.

Mussina pitched well enough to earn the Cy Young award in his first year as a Yankee, but the award instead went to his rotation-mate Roger Clemens, who won 16 straight games to arrive at a 20-1 record on September 19 thanks to a handful of convenient no-decisions while Mussina went 17-11 with more than a run and a half less offensive support per game. In his first postseason with the Yankees, Mussina pitched well in three of his four starts, most memorably in the "Jeter flip" game in Oakland with the Yankees facing elimination in the ALDS. Mussina also struck out ten Diamondbacks in eight innings of two-run ball in Game 5 of that year's World Series, but his performance was overshadowed by the fans' chanting of Paul O'Neill's name, Scott Brosius's game-tying ninth-inning home run, and the Yankees' eventual twelfth-inning victory.

In his first three seasons with the Yankees, Mussina posted a 3.52 ERA and struck out 8.07 men per nine innings against just 1.78 walks, he averaged nearly 220 innings a year, more than 6 2/3 innings per start, and more than 17 wins a year despite never reaching the magic total of 20. Since then, however, he's been a different pitcher.

Since out-dueling Josh Beckett in Game 3 of the 2003 World Series, Mussina has posted a regular season ERA of 4.36, struck out a more pedestrian 6.97 men per nine innings (against a still-stellar 2.04 walks), and averaged just 173 1/3 innings per year and less than six innings per start. Take away his strong performance in April and May of 2006, when he briefly managed to compensate for his decreasing velocity with a Bugs Bunny changeup that would occasionally dip below 70 miles per hour, and things look even worse. Prior to 2004, Mussina had never posted an ERA below league average and only come close to average on two occasions. In the past four years, he's only been above average once, and that was largely due to those two strong months in 2006.

Last year, Mussina struggled through his worst major league season. After getting rocked in his season debut in the bitter cold of the Bronx, he pulled a hamstring in the second inning of his next start and missed three weeks. After returning, he was more of the same, posting a 4.25 ERA, averaging six innings per start exactly, and striking out just 5.22 men per nine innings. Then, facing the Tigers at home on August 16, the bottom fell out. Mussina gave up seven runs in five innings in that start, then 13 more in 4 2/3 innings between his next two starts combined while striking out just three men total in the three outings. Things were so ugly that Joe Torre, in the heat of his final pennant race as the Yankee skipper, was all but forced to pull Mussina from the rotation in favor of rookie and first-year professional Ian Kennedy.

Kennedy pitched well, giving Mussina a two-week rest during which his only game action was a poor relief outing in an early September loss. The break seemed to do Moose some good. When Roger Clemens' elbow discomfort forced Mussina back into the rotation, Moose returned with three strong starts, winning all three with a 1.37 ERA and lasting a full seven frames in the latter two, but he closed the regular season with another five-inning stinker. Faced with starting Mussina in Game 4 of the ALDS while facing elimination, Torre opted to give the ball to Chien-Ming Wang on three-days' rest, a decision I supported. Wang was awful and Mussina came in to relieve in the second, but Moose allowed a pair of inherited runners to score, then coughed up two more runs of his own. That was enough to make the difference in the Yankees' eventual 6-4 loss.

At his peak, Mussina threw in the low-90s with a devastating knuckle-curveball. This spring, he had several starts in which he had command of a monstrous curve, but his velocity was topping out in the mid-80s. Even with two rookies in the rotation, Mike Mussina is no better than the Yankees' fifth starter. He starts the second game of the season tonight because of seniority and Andy Pettitte's balky back. With Moose unlikely to make it out of the sixth, both Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera having pitched last night, and the Yankees in the second of 20 straight games to open the year, we should get our first informative look at Joe Girardi's bullpen moves tonight.

Facing Mussina is A.J. Burnett, who dominated the Yankees in his two starts against them last year, allowing just one run (a Johnny Damon solo homer) in 15 innings while striking out 13 and allowing just seven other hits. Burnett has a similar repertoire to Mussina (fastball, knuckle-curve, change), but has at least ten more miles per hour on his heater, which is no small difference. In contrast to Mussina's success with his curve this spring, the oft-injured Burnett had an awful spring (7.36 ERA, just 8 Ks against 9 walks in 18 1/3 innings), which stemmed from a November incident in which Burnett slammed his pitching hand in a car door, breaking the nail on his index finger. With the nail still healing, Burnett was unable to throw his knuckle-curve until the end of spring training. That forced him to spend more time on his changeup, which could be to his benefit as the season progresses, but clearly wasn't doing him much good in Florida. The key to tonight's game will thus be each starter's effectiveness with his curve, which means we could know pretty early on what kind of game to expect.

Comments (231)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2008-04-02 14:31:47
1.   rilkefan
0 "The key to tonight's game will thus be each starter's effectiveness with his curve"

What percentage do you see Mussina throwing? I wonder how effective it would be given the velocity of his fb, which I assume hitters would guess at, and the risk of some hangers. Zito has a similar repertoire these days, doesn't he?

2008-04-02 14:41:37
2.   Shaun P
1 Does MLB have the enhanced Gameday setup in the Stadium? My understanding is that the Gameday software now says what kind of pitch the pitcher threw. So far, I haven't checked it out myself ; I'm still waiting for the first day game.
2008-04-02 14:49:03
3.   rilkefan
2 MLB had that info yesterday, viewable for each PA if not tabulated.
2008-04-02 14:50:39
4.   Cliff Corcoran
1 Depends on if the pitch is working, now, doesn't it? Over the past three seasons he's thrown about 23 percent curves per fangraphs.com's new pitch data (Mussina: http://tinyurl.com/3c8xjl). Burnett has thrown about 27 percent.

Note in the Mussina graph the spike in changeups in 2006. The effectiveness of that pitch also allowed him to throw more fastballs that year and all but completely replaced his occasional split-finger.

2008-04-02 15:15:15
5.   YankeeInMichigan
2 Yes, but I can't vouch for it's reliability. I've seen it label some pitches as "cutters," but it had Rivera throwing "sinkers" and "fastballs."
2008-04-02 15:29:31
6.   Cliff Corcoran
5 Rivera did throw at least one two-seamer (which is a sinker) last night, and both pitches (cutter and sinker) are technically fastballs. Sounds like you have to learn to speak its language to a certain degree.
2008-04-02 15:31:03
7.   Cliff Corcoran
From Pete Abe: "Posada has been scratched with a stiff right shoulder. He tweaked it making a throw yesterday and with the cold weather today he had trouble getting loose. Matsui will move up in the order and Molina will hit eighth.

Joe Girardi said the injury was minor and that Posada was day-to-day."

(http://tinyurl.com/2xmvx8)

2008-04-02 15:32:46
8.   Cliff Corcoran
Adding to 7 , there was some thought of having Molina catch Mussina this season, this might set a precedent for that.

Curiously the Blue Jays are also starting their backup catcher today, perhaps because Gregg Zaun has dreadful career numbers against Mussina.

2008-04-02 15:46:26
9.   mehmattski
I fully support the babying of Jorge Posada. His success is pretty fundamental to this team. And at least when things like this happen, it's not Wil Nieves taking his place. It's a guy with a career OPS+ of greater than zero!
2008-04-02 15:50:51
10.   Eirias
Ah, the fellation of David Eckstein. Where would FJM without it?
2008-04-02 15:57:43
11.   standuptriple
10 As long as the old gaurd of sports writers are still cranking out the sludge I've seen, FJM will never be short of material.
2008-04-02 16:04:54
12.   monkeypants
Halliday and Burnett and 1 and 2. Yikes, do the Jays have the fugliest pitching staff in the league?
2008-04-02 16:07:18
13.   Just fair
I'll take my Moose extra rare. 8 innings.
2008-04-02 16:09:06
14.   mehmattski
13 I'll take some of whatever you're smoking...
2008-04-02 16:11:55
15.   Just fair
Stranger things have happened. Like Giambi playing good plays two night in a row. G-dammit.
2008-04-02 16:12:27
16.   mehmattski
Cue trademark Mussina "my defense sucks" meltdown in 5... 4... 3...
2008-04-02 16:12:33
17.   SF Yanks
84 mph on the gun for a fastball? That's unheard of. We are in for a long night I'm afraid.
2008-04-02 16:13:31
18.   monkeypants
I'm not certain that Eckstein was safe, and now a dinky roller through the right side. GOM (ghost of Moose) seems to have such problems putting batters away.
2008-04-02 16:14:40
19.   Eirias
Auspicious.
2008-04-02 16:15:02
20.   SF Yanks
2... 1...
2008-04-02 16:15:24
21.   Yankees Brasil
If you are a defensive specialist, you need to make those plays Molina.
2008-04-02 16:15:45
22.   fansince77
Eckstein was just as out as he was safe...you usually see that go to the defense.

Anyone else think Abreu should have thrown out Eckstein by 4 feet?

2008-04-02 16:16:50
23.   SF Yanks
Wow, I'll take that DP. It's too bad that every pitch he throw I feel will be crushed into oblivion.
2008-04-02 16:16:50
24.   monkeypants
21 Yep. Why IS Molina starting tonight? Special Moose Handler? Night game after a night game?
2008-04-02 16:17:11
25.   Eirias
Sterling! Waldman! Stop covering for him!
2008-04-02 16:17:24
26.   mehmattski
24 see 7
2008-04-02 16:17:58
27.   Yankees Brasil
24 Posada has a stiff something, shoulder I think, per Pete Abe.
2008-04-02 16:18:13
28.   rilkefan
4 Huh, would not have expected that rate. Then again it's hardly one per PA.
2008-04-02 16:18:24
29.   monkeypants
26 Right, right. Read the posts...got it.
2008-04-02 16:19:45
30.   OldYanksFan
Moose will take heat for this inning:
error on Giambi
bouncing ball through the hole
bloop single
poor throw from Abreu
grounder to 3rd
(FBs to Thomas at 84 and 86 MPH. And the Yankee gun is fast?)
grounder to 3rd

Moose show some guts. Hope he always this bad.

2008-04-02 16:19:45
31.   fansince77
OH shit Thomas went! Strike three. That's like saying FT put a piece of back in the KFC bucket. C'mon!
2008-04-02 16:20:00
32.   Yankees Brasil
Nice damage control Moose!
2008-04-02 16:21:22
33.   Yankees Brasil
Aight guys, now let's score a couple and give Moose the lead!
2008-04-02 16:22:09
34.   wsporter
Nice job by Moose. Not a ball hit hard that inning, no panic just stayed with the program.
2008-04-02 16:24:47
35.   Yankees Brasil
That was ball four to Damon
2008-04-02 16:25:22
36.   mehmattski
In thirty years, that kind of hit will be referred to as a "Jeter." Classic Cap'n.
2008-04-02 16:27:50
37.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
hey, just heard from my Pop in Brooklyn that the game is not being broadcast on YES, there is some Bloomberg thing on...anyone else having this problem? He's on the phone tyring to complain, getting zero service of course...
2008-04-02 16:29:48
38.   Just fair
1st crap call of the year.
2008-04-02 16:30:16
39.   monkeypants
Hmmmm...was Abreu's foot in there? Base umps not helping so far.
2008-04-02 16:31:13
40.   fansince77
Huh...Abreu looked in there. let's see bouncing ball, tag on the shin...foot in- usually safe.

Yanks getting a little shitty treatment from the blues right now. Giambi first. Damon ball four. Abreu out?

Oh well- gotta hit to win anyway.

2008-04-02 16:32:17
41.   fansince77
Fuck - Moose isn't getting the ball at the knees- going to be a long night!
2008-04-02 16:32:41
42.   OldYanksFan
39 I think so. The ball beat Abreu but the tag was bad. Late and on the trailing knee. I think he was in. Good move sending Bobby with Eckstein up because... OH WAIT! ARod, a tremendous extra-base hitter was up! WTF! Where's Torre when you need him.
2008-04-02 16:34:34
43.   fansince77
42 yeah but to be fair- ARoD was 0-2. He gets a fresh count next inning- I think that was a no brainer.
2008-04-02 16:34:42
44.   Yankees Brasil
So... when are we going to put Joba back on the rotation?
2008-04-02 16:35:06
45.   monkeypants
42 Pretty standard managing to send the runner with two strikes, two outs. That said, yeah, maybe better to let the man hit.

Now, is there a new rule that the Jays get to start each inning with two runners on? Oh, wait, Moose is pitching...

2008-04-02 16:35:07
46.   rbj
37 I'm seeing it on YES -- must be a free preview here on Directv.

Moose is looking endangered tonight.

2008-04-02 16:36:47
47.   fansince77
Two different zones for these pitchers.
2008-04-02 16:38:25
48.   fansince77
That'll work.
2008-04-02 16:38:39
49.   mehmattski
Did Moose steal the Worm-killing juice from Wang?
2008-04-02 16:39:11
50.   Bagel Boy
I love how Gameday is calling Moose's fastball a changeup (at 84-85 mph).

FYI: ESPN's gun is 1 mph faster than Gameday.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2008-04-02 16:39:29
51.   rbj
Ah, I get it now, Moose wasn't happy with the amount of infield DP practice the guys were getting in ST, so he wants them to get some more work in.

Yeah, that's it.

2008-04-02 16:39:49
52.   Yankees Brasil
Good Moose!
2008-04-02 16:40:47
53.   Just fair
I'd like to see A-Rod sit on another first pitch curveball and see what happens.
2008-04-02 16:44:23
54.   Yankees Brasil
53 I'd like to see somebody get a hit.
2008-04-02 16:52:35
55.   rbj
54 I'd like to see some Yankees get hits.
2008-04-02 16:53:13
56.   fansince77
WTF WTF!
2008-04-02 16:54:04
57.   Yankees Brasil
Strikezone changes with each and every pitch.
2008-04-02 16:55:14
58.   fansince77
I think a part of all of us knew that was about to happen after the Rios walk. Just didn't feel good with Wells coming up there.
2008-04-02 16:55:31
59.   mehmattski
I'm pretty sure I could have hit that ball out too. Yikes.
2008-04-02 16:56:21
60.   Yankees Brasil
They were bound to hit one out. 80mph right down the middle, it's just like BP.
2008-04-02 16:57:21
61.   Yankees Brasil
If only we could get a couple of hits, maybe a run.. too much to ask I guess.
2008-04-02 16:59:47
62.   fansince77
This ump sucks. That was ball 2 to Mats. Zone is ALLOVERTHEPLACE!
2008-04-02 17:06:31
63.   fansince77
Eissh. So far uninspiring.
2008-04-02 17:10:21
64.   weeping for brunnhilde
Hey, Team!

That was nice breaking pitch by Moose a couple of pitches ago.

How's he doing?

2008-04-02 17:12:51
65.   fansince77
Moose looks as good as we can expect. Pitching smart...but a bp fastball was coming any moment...Wells. You can't expect to win witho Moose without scoring more than 5-6 runs.
2008-04-02 17:13:49
66.   Yankees Brasil
This ump sucks!
2008-04-02 17:14:03
67.   weeping for brunnhilde
He's outta there!
2008-04-02 17:14:22
68.   fansince77
Good throw. Great tag Robbie!
2008-04-02 17:15:35
69.   Yankees Brasil
Nice throw by Molina.
Moose is doing what's expected out of him, 5-6 innings, 3-4 runs allowed. Most nights that should be enough, but I guess not tonight.
2008-04-02 17:19:07
70.   rbj
Errrr.
2008-04-02 17:19:30
71.   SF Yanks
69 Give it some time huh? It's only the 4th inning.
2008-04-02 17:19:34
72.   Yankees Brasil
Jeter out of his mind. What was he thinking?
2008-04-02 17:19:46
73.   monkeypants
Bad, bad base running. Jeter is looking a little slow this year (at least on the bases--in the field he's looked ok).
2008-04-02 17:21:30
74.   Yankees Brasil
What happened to Burnett?
2008-04-02 17:22:00
75.   fansince77
Arrgggh! I don't think Jetes even saw Rios.
2008-04-02 17:22:15
76.   SF Yanks
AJ reminds me of an ugly bird. A really ugly bird.
2008-04-02 17:25:33
77.   fansince77
Is Burnette looking this good or are the Yanks looking this bad?
2008-04-02 17:25:44
78.   Yankees Brasil
Oh man... nothing going for us so far
2008-04-02 17:27:53
79.   Yankees Brasil
77 He's doing good, getting ahead, making his pitches. And obviously, the huge strike zone is helping.
2008-04-02 17:28:34
80.   weeping for brunnhilde
My, Jason, that was graceful!

:)

2008-04-02 17:29:26
81.   SF Yanks
Lots of bloop (weak ) hits tonight off Moose.
2008-04-02 17:29:28
82.   weeping for brunnhilde
Cheers, guys, for the Moosereport!
2008-04-02 17:31:30
83.   SF Yanks
Right now Moose is at a 4.5 ERA, one which I would definitely settle for throughout the season.
2008-04-02 17:31:55
84.   weeping for brunnhilde
Paulie talking about how Pena would chatter at him even as the pitcher was in his windup.

Hilarious.

Must have been so tempting to razz Paulie. Such an easy mark.

2008-04-02 17:32:16
85.   monkeypants
81 Yeah, but that's the deal with him. He gets two strikes and nibbles and can't put hitters away. Then a few bloopers and bouncers. And then a HR or double and suddenly it's five runs.

Even here, he just can't put Eckstein away.

2008-04-02 17:32:30
86.   Bagel Boy
Whoa - super slow stuff - 66 mph.
2008-04-02 17:32:42
87.   weeping for brunnhilde
83 Three outs to go for a 4.5, no?
2008-04-02 17:33:13
88.   Yankees Brasil
Get that ball down Moose!
2008-04-02 17:33:21
89.   weeping for brunnhilde
Six outs.
2008-04-02 17:34:08
90.   weeping for brunnhilde
85 Eckstein knows how to play the game, silly.
2008-04-02 17:34:38
91.   fansince77
That'll work.
2008-04-02 17:36:16
92.   weeping for brunnhilde
Check out Jason!

Ok, Team, let's get some runs!

2008-04-02 17:36:18
93.   monkeypants
Good god, they're trying to kill Giambi today.
2008-04-02 17:36:21
94.   SF Yanks
87 Well according to gameday, he's only been charged with two ER.
2008-04-02 17:36:35
95.   Yankees Brasil
Giambi, like a cat!
2008-04-02 17:36:51
96.   monkeypants
90 We'll sure, of course. I was just sayin'.
2008-04-02 17:37:18
97.   weeping for brunnhilde
94 Ahhh, thanks!
2008-04-02 17:38:42
98.   Bagel Boy
Eckstein reached on an error.
2008-04-02 17:40:13
99.   weeping for brunnhilde
All right, I noticed yesterday they had a shift on for Jason.

That won't do.

This is the year Jason exploits the shift, right?

(A guy can dream, can't he?)

2008-04-02 17:40:46
100.   Yankees Brasil
Right at guys, no luck for us.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2008-04-02 17:41:09
101.   weeping for brunnhilde
Into the dragnet.

Didn't he go the other way during spring training?

And didn't we hear how he's trying to change his ways?

Ooh, nicely hit by Robbie, but right at Hill.

2008-04-02 17:43:48
102.   OldYanksFan
AJ looks good. He's faking me out with that curve. While we might not like it, an older team (position player wise) is not going to play well when it's early AND cold.

Meanwhile, I wish we could win it for Moose. 5 IPs and 2 ERs. Not bad, and he has worked hard.

Jetes getting thrown out at 2nd, leading off, did not help.

2008-04-02 17:43:51
103.   SF Yanks
Hey, Burnett hasn't given up a run this season! Surely that can't stay that way right? Right! So lets do the right thing ans score!
2008-04-02 17:45:29
104.   weeping for brunnhilde
102 Is Derek all right? Yesterday, first-pitch swinging, today, tossed out at second. Wasn't he also cs yesterday?

Wtf?

2008-04-02 17:46:52
105.   rbj
At this rate, I wouldn't object to a Farnsworth sighting tonight -- looks like the Yankees forgot their bats.
2008-04-02 17:48:03
106.   OldYanksFan
P.S. I think it's a BIG mistake not to have a retractable roof on the new stadium. I guess they just count on 4 million/yr attendance regardless.

Aside from making Springs and Falls and PS games much nicer, the leftover material could to sold to the Sox to build a roof over Fenway!

2008-04-02 17:48:10
107.   Yankees Brasil
Burnett at 73 pitches, looks good for about 2 more innings of pain.
2008-04-02 17:50:18
108.   Just fair
I seem to remember a lot more robbed homers when I was a kid in the eighties. Winfield and Baylor reaching high over the fence. Am I delusional?
2008-04-02 17:51:08
109.   OldYanksFan
104 I'm not trying to be mean, but last year and so far this year, Jetes seems to be playing dumber.(dumber? Mas Dumb?)

Really, mentally, he doesn't seem to be Mr. Magic.

2008-04-02 17:51:17
110.   monkeypants
106 No need for a roof (IMO), and nearly all of those retractable roof stadiums look like monstrosities.
2008-04-02 17:51:25
111.   bartap74
108 Winfield used to do it a lot. Baylor was mostly a DH.
2008-04-02 17:51:41
112.   Mattpat11
How is Mussina looking tonight?
2008-04-02 17:52:18
113.   weeping for brunnhilde
Mike should just let Frank go on about his merry way.

Good.

HBP.

2008-04-02 17:53:01
114.   Yankees Brasil
Didn't try too hard to get out of the way.
2008-04-02 17:54:27
115.   SF Yanks
112 Considering he is sitting at 84mph with his fastball, not too bad.
2008-04-02 17:54:36
116.   weeping for brunnhilde
See above, Matt, 65, 79...
2008-04-02 17:55:25
117.   monkeypants
108 You are delusional, since Baylor played over 400 games at DH and only a handful in the outfield. He wasn't reaching over anything in those days, except maybe the person sitting next to him at the dinner table.

More seriously, the LF fence was significantly deeper in the early eighties, so it is possible that some of today's long-gone homers were wall-scrapers back then.

2008-04-02 17:56:36
118.   weeping for brunnhilde
All right, I'd pull Mike here.

That ball was hit too hard for my liking.

2008-04-02 17:57:41
119.   monkeypants
118 Which? the pop fly to CF?
2008-04-02 17:58:27
120.   Just fair
I must have seen the same one over and over and over again. from Baylor. Ah, well. One more out here, Moose. F.
2008-04-02 17:58:38
121.   weeping for brunnhilde
I told you.
2008-04-02 17:58:41
122.   Mattpat11
FUCK.
2008-04-02 17:59:08
123.   weeping for brunnhilde
119 That didn't look like a pop fly to me.
2008-04-02 17:59:22
124.   monkeypants
120 Are you thinking of Griffey Senior?
2008-04-02 17:59:29
125.   SF Yanks
I think that was really poor pitch selection by Moose there. Up 0-2 and he throws a third straight fastball outside. He should have thrown some junk to try and get a swing out of it.
2008-04-02 17:59:32
126.   fansince77
That is TWO SHITTY ASS THROWS from Abreu. He's awfully shallow to be that far off target!
2008-04-02 17:59:34
127.   Mattpat11
123 The can of corn to Melky?
2008-04-02 17:59:41
128.   Yu-Hsing Chen
shit
2008-04-02 18:00:02
129.   monkeypants
123 THAT wasn't. One of us is on time delay?
2008-04-02 18:00:02
130.   Yankees Brasil
Yeah, well. We'll get them tomorrow.
2008-04-02 18:00:36
131.   fansince77
125 Oh yeah that too- it was a bad pitch...just an emphasis on how perfect Mussina has to be.
2008-04-02 18:00:44
132.   weeping for brunnhilde
127 Yup.

Maybe I misread it, but I didn't like it.

2008-04-02 18:01:03
133.   Mattpat11
Well, now would be a good time for Hawkins to give up his habit of allowing basehits by he bucketload.
2008-04-02 18:01:30
134.   Yankees Brasil
126 His first throw wasn't bad, Molina just couldn't come up with it. If he did, dude would've been out by a lot.
2008-04-02 18:02:20
135.   weeping for brunnhilde
129 Ah, that would explain it.

Sorry about that.

2008-04-02 18:02:21
136.   Mattpat11
134 He had a bad throw last night.
2008-04-02 18:02:26
137.   SF Yanks
130 Still four innings to go. You give up hope that early on everything? I know it's not looking good right now but it's no where near impossible.
2008-04-02 18:05:25
138.   SF Yanks
Meanwhile, AJ only at 75 pitches...
2008-04-02 18:06:19
139.   weeping for brunnhilde
Melky!!!

YES!!!!

Here we go, Team, here we go!!

2008-04-02 18:07:05
140.   OldYanksFan
Big AB here for JD.
2008-04-02 18:08:29
141.   weeping for brunnhilde
2-1...
2008-04-02 18:08:56
142.   weeping for brunnhilde
Aggggghhh!

Fucking waste.

Damn it.

2008-04-02 18:09:00
143.   SF Yanks
I think it's time for Damon to step out of his slump that he's been in since the beginning of the season. Damn! Not yet.
2008-04-02 18:09:06
144.   fansince77
That was a fucking meatball!
2008-04-02 18:09:59
145.   weeping for brunnhilde
2-1, why did he swing at that pitch?

Damn it.

Derek with the 5-4-3 on pitch number one.

Well that was lovely.

2008-04-02 18:10:00
146.   fansince77
wow - this is abysmal.
2008-04-02 18:10:58
147.   SF Yanks
Awesome AB there Jete! Does anyone know how many games into the season until they start showing their actual Ave instead of last seasons? I know it's way too early, but I'm just curious.
2008-04-02 18:11:14
148.   weeping for brunnhilde
144 You think? Looked high to me.

Whatever.

What a piss-poor waste of an inning.

2008-04-02 18:13:58
149.   weeping for brunnhilde
Oh, God.

Nice hitting.

Too bad that's not our guy.

2008-04-02 18:14:50
150.   Bagel Boy
From PeteAbe:

"Mussina threw too good a fastball on 0-2 to Hill and he punched in into right right field with two outs. The RBI single gave Toronto a 4-0 lead and Moose is done for the night.

That takes away from what was otherwise a decent outing."

Hmmmm... 5.2 IP, 8 H, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HR

Yeah, that looks decent to me (barf).

Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2008-04-02 18:14:53
151.   weeping for brunnhilde
There's Eckstein, executing.
2008-04-02 18:15:08
152.   OldYanksFan
Giambi is a vacuum cleaner!
2008-04-02 18:16:42
153.   OldYanksFan
150 If that hit is an out, it's a definite 'Quality Start'. 6 IPs / 2 ERs
2008-04-02 18:16:43
154.   weeping for brunnhilde
I gotta say, Alex is an amazing fielder.

Bravo, Alex.

2008-04-02 18:17:46
155.   mehmattski
151 Can't tell if you're joking. I, for one, would call "driving in the run from second" executing. What Eckstein did was "make an out."
2008-04-02 18:17:52
156.   monkeypants
150 About two-thirds of those hits were bloops and bouncers. It wasn't that bad o a night, considering what Moose is working with. That's about what we can expect from the real #5 starter.
2008-04-02 18:18:50
157.   Bagel Boy
153 Right, cause QS doesn't take into account a 2.00 WHIP and a 1:1 K/BB
2008-04-02 18:18:55
158.   weeping for brunnhilde
155 :)

No, I'm actually not joking. He wanted to hit it to the right side and so he did.

I call that executing.

2008-04-02 18:19:35
159.   SF Yanks
Does Hawkins throw anything but fastballs?
2008-04-02 18:20:50
160.   Bagel Boy
156 True, if he really was the #5. But they won't be skipping him until May, if then.
2008-04-02 18:21:54
161.   SF Yanks
Unless I missed a pitch I saw Hawkins throw about 46 straight fastballs.
2008-04-02 18:22:18
162.   fansince77
so Hawkins doesnt have a second pitch? We go after their best hitter with 8 straight fastballs?
2008-04-02 18:22:45
163.   monkeypants
And the base hit to make Eckstein's 'execution' irrelevant.
2008-04-02 18:22:50
164.   SF Yanks
Woah, a slider sighting! We could have used one of those in the last AB Hawky.
2008-04-02 18:24:40
165.   monkeypants
160 With 20 straight games, no one is getting skipped. He is the #5 in terms of stuff, whether that is where he is lined up or not. By the end of year, he will be out of the regular rotation, just like last year.
2008-04-02 18:24:46
166.   fansince77
Guess what - after looking dead red for 8 pitches Alex Rios finally got a fastball that he liked from the pitching machine. That was just dumb pitching. Cost us a chance at the game.
2008-04-02 18:28:05
167.   monkeypants
166 So 4 runs was a chance, but 5 runs is not? That's a lot to pin on Hawkins or Molina or whoever was calling the dumb pitch sequence.
2008-04-02 18:28:41
168.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
166 methinks Burnett bringing his contract-year-A-game is what cost us...Toronto is a threat if this guy can stay healthy
2008-04-02 18:29:28
169.   SF Yanks
I remember AJ being dominant for six innings and then blowing it. Lets hope that continues.
2008-04-02 18:32:00
170.   bartap74
Hey, this Rodriguez kid is pretty good.
2008-04-02 18:32:04
171.   fansince77
167 I don't pin it on Hawkins. I do however think there is an exponential difference between 4 and five runs in the seventh. Mostly just frustration on my part but yes it more than just a hit and RBI-

NOw do you see my point a little? 4-2 / 5-2

2008-04-02 18:32:09
172.   SF Yanks
Just like the AJ I remember. Thata baby!
2008-04-02 18:32:22
173.   Sliced Bread
A-God!
2008-04-02 18:32:28
174.   weeping for brunnhilde
He was even jammed a little on that.

My God.

2008-04-02 18:32:40
175.   Just fair
Not too shabby.
2008-04-02 18:34:20
176.   Bagel Boy
165 Uh, that's what the "they won't be skipping him until May" was referring to.

"By the end of year, he will be out of the regular rotation, just like last year."

Yeah, problem is if it takes until August again.

More "analysis" from PeteAbe:

"At some point, they need to re-set the rotation so it's Wang, Pettitte, Hughes, Mussina and Kennedy."

Problem is, he's probably right. Yet, Kennedy is the one of the last three that could give the most innings.

2008-04-02 18:35:06
177.   Sliced Bread
Finally a fucking spark on this cold dark night! Fuck you, Burnett!
Thank you, A-Rod!
2008-04-02 18:36:07
178.   monkeypants
171 I don't see the point any more, despite the ex post facto HR. Maybe 5 runs is exponentially more insurmountable than 4 runs, maybe it isn't, but the two runs don't prove anything. In fact, if the game ends 5-2, it would suggest that the fifth run was largely irrelevant.
2008-04-02 18:36:33
179.   SF Yanks
177 Amen!
2008-04-02 18:37:22
180.   SF Yanks
Work a walk G-Bomby.
2008-04-02 18:38:16
181.   weeping for brunnhilde
Why is Jason trying to hook that ball?
2008-04-02 18:42:00
182.   Sliced Bread
181 He constantly has to be reminded about the other half of the field. I think he sees the field in terms of meat: steaks are in right, pork's in center, and chicken's in left. But he craves red meat. Fer Christ's sake, somebody put the fucking steaks in left so Giambi takes a fucking outside pitch the opposite way!

I apologize for the salty language. My wife's at a PTO meeting, and I've gotten into the red wine.

2008-04-02 18:43:05
183.   Sliced Bread
and I hate losing to inferior indoor teams on cold nights like this.
2008-04-02 18:43:45
184.   Yankees Brasil
182 Nice food methaphor there!
2008-04-02 18:43:52
185.   Mattpat11
167 I don't think its so much to ask that the reliever not add to the problem.
2008-04-02 18:44:17
186.   Just fair
Clean slate Farnsy. Let's keep it that way.
2008-04-02 18:44:40
187.   Just fair
Well that lasted 2 pitches.
2008-04-02 18:44:43
188.   Mattpat11
Oh that whacky Kyle.
2008-04-02 18:44:58
189.   OldYanksFan
It's not over yet guys.
2008-04-02 18:45:06
190.   Sliced Bread
oh, good. Here's Farnswacker...
2008-04-02 18:45:24
191.   Mattpat11
I wonder what Frank Thomas can do to a pin straight 98 mph fastball. Shall we see?
2008-04-02 18:46:20
192.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
185 Yep. Have never figured out why year after year, with that huge payroll, there are always middle-relief question marks...
2008-04-02 18:46:40
193.   OldYanksFan
Jesus... Cano is great on the pivot!
2008-04-02 18:46:42
194.   Just fair
I want a screen saver that shows Cano turning the DP.
2008-04-02 18:46:44
195.   Yankees Brasil
4 DP's and they still score 5 runs.
2008-04-02 18:47:14
196.   Mr OK Jazz TOKYO
KF in da' house! 0.00 ERA this year, I can feel it!
2008-04-02 18:48:20
197.   Yankees Brasil
Melky didn't have a clue where that ball was.
2008-04-02 18:49:12
198.   OldYanksFan
You know, if you turn down the volumn, turn away from the TV, and squint your eyes a bit, Farns looks a little like Joba.

Melky could use a little advice from Murcer about balls over his head in CF.

2008-04-02 18:49:22
199.   Mattpat11
192 Some teams build bullpens around strikeouts. Some groundouts. Some any kind of out.

The Yankees build a bullpen around men that put runners on base.

It has its charm, I suppose, but obvious flaws.

2008-04-02 18:51:03
200.   Mattpat11
Oh that Kyle. I knew he could do it.
Show/Hide Comments 201-250
2008-04-02 18:53:02
201.   monkeypants
185 Yep, it's not too much to ask that relievers never ever give up any runs or allow any inherited runners to score.

Cripes, a middle reliever gave up a run to allow the lead to go from 4 to 5 runs, changing the Yankees win expectancy from 5% to 3%. Hawkins' poor pitch sequence really is not a major story here.

2008-04-02 18:54:58
202.   Yankees Brasil
201 I think his point is that Hawkins isn't gonna be much better than that, he will pretty much come in and allow hits, lots of hits, and probably a lot of runs too, being that our D isn't that great.
2008-04-02 18:56:53
203.   williamnyy23
201 Wow, the thread is kind of negative for the second game of the season.

AJ Burnett was nasty today, so I don't think you can blame the offense for struggling. Moose wasn't great, but he was steady. With some luck and better defense, his line would look much better.

I also don't get the criticism of Hawkins. The hit to Barajas wa an opposite field ground ball and the RBI by Rios was the product of a very good hitter having a great AB. If Hawkins keeps throwing strikes, he'll be fine.

2008-04-02 18:57:19
204.   Just fair
It's good to know the bottom of the order doesn't want to clog up the basepaths.
2008-04-02 18:57:54
205.   monkeypants
202 There are reasons why middle relievers are middle relievers, and not starters or closers. If Hawkins ends up being the guy that gives up a run here or there when the team is down big, I'm not sure that it matters all that much.
2008-04-02 18:58:02
206.   Sliced Bread
re: the first part of 198 : what's in your medicine cabinet?

and great call re: Murcer: Bobby was great at the turn, run, and grab. My father pointed this out to me growing up, no shit. At the risk of cornball sentimentalism - that's always been a big part of the centerfield tradition. Bernie was also good at running those down.

2008-04-02 18:58:33
207.   Yankees Brasil
Burnett was nasty today, but for an offense that was supposed to score a 1000 runs this year, they didn't look so good.
2008-04-02 18:59:07
208.   monkeypants
203 I'm with you brother.
2008-04-02 19:00:42
209.   Mattpat11
201 You don't need perfection. I ask for good. Since the Yankees disagree with my opinions there, I'll settle for does more good than harm.
2008-04-02 19:01:15
210.   SF Yanks
207 It happens. It's baseball.
2008-04-02 19:02:48
211.   Yankees Brasil
210 It sure does. Can't win them all. I'm sure we'll get them tomorrow.
2008-04-02 19:03:16
212.   Just fair
I wonder if Ross gets carded to get into R-rated movies.
2008-04-02 19:03:47
213.   mehmattski
207 Supposed to score 1000 runs according to whom? The best prediction I saw was PECOTA, who had the Yanks at 892 runs, +/- roughly 50 runs.

Besides... number of teams to score 1000 runs since 1950: one (1999 Cleveland Indians with 1009 runs). This streak will almost certainly continue.

2008-04-02 19:03:47
214.   Mattpat11
205 Which again, is why I'll scream from the rooftops that its pointless to actually go out of your way to acquire one.
2008-04-02 19:04:19
215.   fansince77
203 You're right maybe a tad too negative. However in defense of high expectations - not very many quality at bats tonight versus a quality pitcher. We haven't exactly competed well. And for those of us with our ass impressions deep into something leather, it has been frustrating watching a team swing like they didn't mean it all night long.
2008-04-02 19:06:01
216.   monkeypants
209 But you consistently define "good" as never allowing any runs, or at least that is the way the rhetoric reads. Any time a Yankees' middle reliever allows any runs--and even when they allow base runners--you start harping on them. It would be refreshing to see some more realistic and balanced posts.
2008-04-02 19:08:24
217.   monkeypants
214 On that point, I generally agree with you.
2008-04-02 19:10:05
218.   Just fair
Gotta have your first come back win some time.
2008-04-02 19:10:46
219.   bartap74
HA!
2008-04-02 19:13:19
220.   Mattpat11
209 If we're going to go out of our way to sign a player for a job that can be filled by someone earning a few hundred thou, I expect the acquisition to be worth the paperwork.

If you take that to mean perfection, so be it. I consider it significantly better than average. What is accomplished by acquiring someone in hopes that they might be okayish?

2008-04-02 19:14:13
221.   Sliced Bread
The weather was a key factor tonight. I'd estimate it added 5mph to each starter's fastball, so with Moose you're looking at 91, and with Burnett, it tops out near 100mph with a lot more movement.

C'mon, now, A-God!

2008-04-02 19:16:26
222.   Sliced Bread
221 not that the weather added actual velocity, mind you, just had that 5mph impact on the hitters.
2008-04-02 19:17:10
223.   Mattpat11
Looks like Alex was sitting breaking ball on strike two, one of my big pet peeves, but he gets a pass for being you know, Alex Rodriguez.
2008-04-02 19:19:20
224.   monkeypants
220 Fair enough. But then following this logic, does this mean that you will not complain about mediocre middle relief performances by any of the pitchers NOT signed as FAs (Ohlendorf, for example)? It will be interesting to track your posts on the topic. Well, probably not THAT interesting...
2008-04-02 19:23:00
225.   Yankees Brasil
Tough luck. Tomorrow is going to be different, Hughes will pitch 7 innings of 1-run ball and we will score 7 or 8 runs!
2008-04-02 19:25:58
226.   Mattpat11
224 Part of the reason I favor using the minor leaguers is when they fail, we can dump them. If Ross Ohlendorf struggles, I can deal with it. If Its August and I'm still watching Ohlendorf bomb, I'm less patient.

Same applies to using someone like Bruney who we already know can't cut it.

2008-04-02 19:26:43
227.   Mattpat11
In happier news, I'm going to the game tomorrow.
2008-04-02 19:52:59
228.   dianagramr
is the Fairpole software (or server) acting up?
2008-04-02 21:40:29
229.   weeping for brunnhilde
223 Ah, was that the one he fouled back? The one he almost had?

That would explain it.

2008-04-02 21:41:11
230.   weeping for brunnhilde
223 I was perfectly comfortable and proud of Alex for that ab, btw. It was a fine ab.
2008-04-03 05:22:55
231.   Mattpat11
229 The perfect fastball that he just watched.

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