Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Reports of Mussina's Demise . . .
2008-06-05 00:14
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Mike Mussina cruised into the sixth inning last night, holding the Blue Jays scoreless while striking out a season-high six men. With two out and Alex Rios on first via Mussina's only walk of the game in the sixth, he appeared to strike out Alex Rios Scott Rolen, but home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor didn't deliver the punch out. Rios walked and scored on a Scott Rolen doubled Rios home, but that was all the Blue Jays would get all night as Ross Ohlendorf, Kyle Farnsworth, and Mariano Rivera each turned in a scoreless inning to nail down a 5-1 Yankee win and deliver Mussina's ninth win of the year.

The Yankee scoring started in the third inning when Jose Molina and Johnny Damon singled off Toronto starter Jesse Litsch and Derek Jeter plated Molina with a single that pushed the captain past Mickey Mantle on the all-time hit list. The Yanks got two more in the fourth on a Wilson Betemit homer, a Robinson Cano double, and a Melky Cabrera homer single, all of which came with two outs. After Litch left the game, the Yanks added a run in the sixth (which was charged to Litsch) and one more in the seventh to set the final score.

It was a nice easy win that saw the four Yankee pitchers combine to strike out nine Jays and allow just one run on six hits and a walk. It was particularly encouraging to see Ohlendorf pitch well in short relief and pick up a hold, as that's the role he was intended to fill back in spring training and a role in which he's now very much needed.

As for the offense, consider the fact that Roy Halladay and Jesse Litsch had allowed a total of two runs in their last two starts combined totaling 33 innings, but the Yankees scored six runs off them in 11 1/3 combined innings over the last two nights and get Jorge Posada back today. The Yankees also pulled a half game ahead of the Orioles and can get back to .500 and win this series with a victory this afternoon.

2008-06-05 05:06:44
1.   williamnyy23
The Banter is starting off much kinder to Moose today!

Mussina looked as good yesterday as he has been all season. Even though Moose isn't a blow your doors off 9-4, what he has done is keep the team in the game in all but one start. Not surprisingly, that has allowed him to gobble up wins.

2008-06-05 05:07:19
2.   williamnyy23
The Banter is starting off much kinder to Moose today!

Mussina looked as good yesterday as he has been all season. Even though Moose isn't a blow your doors off 9-4, what he has done is keep the team in the game in all but one start. Not surprisingly, that has allowed him to gobble up wins.

2008-06-05 05:17:02
3.   Rob Middletown CT
This is what Yankee pitching should do against an offense like the Blue Jays. Still, given how often they haven't done it, it was nice to see.
2008-06-05 05:58:52
4.   Sliced Bread
Buddy of mine who works for one of the big pharmaceutical companies treated me to one of the corporate seats in what Alex calls the "rattle yer jewelry" section.
Sat embarassingly close to the action last night, with a Giulianiesqe view of the Yankees on deck.
Great vantage point to watch the pitchers. Moose got into a groove, and worked like he was on a mission. Surprised to see him hitting 90-91, even 92 on the Stadium radar. Changed velocity masterfully. Big hits aplenty, efficient and effective pitching all around, including a bonus appearance by Mo. Watched the final innings from the upper corner of the Yankee dugout. Posada drew a round of cheers briefly emerging from the dugout, joking about something with Molina.
We were out of the garage, and on the Deegan by 10:15. Glorious weeknight at the Stadium.
Icing on the cake: Jeter's historic knock.
Cherry on top: meeting Harlan Chamberlain who was greeting fans, holding court from his wheelchair. Shook his hand and told him "Proud of your son, Harlan." He smiled. "Me too!"

One other thing: I'm a happily married guy, but Kim Jones is something to behold in person. Man, does she stand out on a brightly lit lawn full of dudes. Funny watching her snag Jeter for the postgame interview with a confident smile and gesture, Jeets playfully flipping the lid of his cap, feigning drudgery, as if he had a couple million better things to do than talk to the fetching, and engaging Kim Jones.
Always quite a show you get in the "rattle yer jewelry" seats.

2008-06-05 06:12:20
5.   tommyl
4 Yeah, I lucked into front row seats once in my life a few years back. I managed to half dive over the wall and backhand a groundball for the only foulball I've ever caught at the stadium. I received applause. It still ranks as one of the highlights of my life (is that sad?).
2008-06-05 06:15:18
6.   williamnyy23
4 Sounds like a fun night...although I must admit I find Kim Jones attractive at all. Now, Hazel Mae is another story. She just left NESN so maybe YES can snap her up!
2008-06-05 06:29:54
7.   RIYank
Sliced, "Giulianiesqe". Beautiful. I'm going to be waiting for an opportunity to use that word in conversation.
2008-06-05 06:33:37
8.   Mattpat11
Sat in the bleachers last night. Mussina was awesome and Rivera was just amazing
2008-06-05 06:38:38
9.   Yankee Fan In Boston
4 that sounds like a great night.

5 that is not sad at all.

i'm enjoying this moosaissance, but i'm still scared every time he takes the hill.

2008-06-05 06:43:47
10.   Sliced Bread
5 nah, that's not sad, that's a legit highlight. I'd be geeked forever if I executed a snappy grab for a foul ball.

6 yeah, that's a classic baseball debate, one that will be argued for decades like DiMaggio vs Williams:
Kim vs Hazel. You could easily make a case for both.

2008-06-05 06:50:09
11.   williamnyy23
6 My post should of read "I don't find Kim Jones attractive".

10 Yes...another classic debate. Maybe we can set up a poll.

2008-06-05 06:52:22
12.   Southern Yankee
Cliff -
I watched the same game and find Kim quite fetching also but -

"... a Melky Cabrera homer"

somehow I must have missed that !!!

2008-06-05 06:54:58
13.   Bob B
I hope Joba noticed that Moose started almost every batter with a strike. He had all his pitches working last night.
2008-06-05 07:04:26
14.   Felix Heredia
A couple of weeks ago, after Cliff Lee flumoxed the Yankees, there was a lot of Cy-Young-candidate talk and a lot of debate on this blog about whether he's for real.

Over his last four starts, he's averaging over 4 earned runs in just under 6 innings. Last night he was glaring at the umpire when he didn't get calls, and wound up punching a water cooler in the dugout after giving up 6 earned runs in 5 innings.

Reminds me of the old saying, "If it seems to good to be true, it probably is."

2008-06-05 07:05:04
15.   horace-clarke-era
If Moose is hitting 92 mph either

a) the gun is goofy or
b) Mephistopheles is in the house

and based on the sober discussions on this thread the question is do we cast Kim or Hazel Mae as Lola?

I'll say it again: be glad we aren't Tiger fans. Expectations there this year had to be over the top. Mariners were never going to be all that good, but they did seem to improve the team and they are appallingly bad. Wonder if the fire sale there is going to start soon. They have too many catchers and one insanely overpaid one, not sure who else is a covet-worthy target ... Ichiro is glorious but 35 or 36 right? Beltran is actually playing good ball, but I don't see a glaring need for a 3rd baseman here. (And I do NOT see moving Alex back to ss at this point in his career.) Hmm, Morrow or Lowe would help but these aren't the guys they'd be dealing.

2008-06-05 07:05:28
16.   OldYanksFan
10 Pul-ease.... Hazel is an exotic beauty with a very fine bosom. I simply can not think about baseball when I see her. She would make a fine addition to YES, especially as it seems to be viewed often with the sound off.
2008-06-05 07:13:01
17.   OldYanksFan
I would be interested to know that since many feel the Yanks are NOT PS bound, do you feel...
the Indians are done also?
the Tigers are done also?
will TB finish higher then us?
will Oakland finish over .500?

The Angels are the only AL team over .500 on the road.
Both Boston and (especially) TB seem to be playing better then their RS/RA would indicate. Can someone tell me what their Pythag record is?

2008-06-05 07:14:08
18.   Sliced Bread
15 yeah, the gun is probably goofy.
Moose's fastball looked crisp, and occasionally popped loudly in Molina's mitt, but 92 seemed generous given Mussina's admission that he no longer throws 90mph. However, the readings for the other pitchers seemed about right. Weird deal.
2008-06-05 07:20:38
19.   williamnyy23
14 If you remove the 2/3 against Baltimore, Moose's previous 4 starts have featured 8 ER in 23.1 IP, or an ERA of 3.08. That's not bad for the old man.

16 I was trying to be a gentleman about it, but...exactly.

17 I thought the Mariners and Tigers would easily not make the playoffs from the start, so I am not surprised by their records. Before the season, I also picked Oakland to finish second with 84 wins.

Right now, I think the Yankees could win anywhere between 82 and 93 wins. If it's more toward the lower parameter, I think they could very well finish in third or even fourth place.

The Indians are not done.

Boston's Pythag: 36-26 - one game off
TB's Pythag: 32-27 - three games off

2008-06-05 07:22:40
20.   williamnyy23
18 When the Stadium gun read 91 (Kay mentioned it), YES had him at 88. The reading on the scoreboard is always even had Jopa hitting 100 several times when the fastest reading I saw on YES was 98.
2008-06-05 07:26:03
21.   tommyl
17 The pythag. are actually on the MLB website. If you click on Standings, it has a column that is XWL, which is the expected win loss based on RS and RA. Hope that helps.
2008-06-05 07:26:56
22.   OldYanksFan
19 Well done. Thanks.
According to PeteAbe. tonight's lineup has Posada IN, but Giambino still out.
2008-06-05 07:39:55
23.   Raf
4 While I don't normally find a Kim Jones attractive (too many angles), she has somewhat grown on me...

5 I haven't sat in that area in a while. I did manage to luck into seats in that area, behind home plate (field box handicapped section, under the net) when I bumped into my buddy, Joe Amato, during the 1995 ALDS (game 1). I had tickets in the upper deck. It was a lot of fun, and I was really a baseball geek back then. I was filling the guys in about the M's (Joey & a few of his friends were there), as they really didn't know about the team. I remember telling them "Edgar Martinez, the guy won a batting title a couple of years ago. He can hit, the Yanks better watch out for him..." I knew he was good, but not .571 good.

Joe had always complained about the handicapped seating at the stadium, I wish he were around to see the new Stadium, and how friendly it will be to those in wheelchairs.

15 The Mariners weren't going to be all that good, despite the moves. I keep tabs through the USS Mariner blog, and they pretty much foresaw how this season is developing for them.

Also, if anyone ever thinks the negativity here is bad, you should check some of some of the posts and posters there.

19 I didn't think the Tigers were going to take the AL Central in a cakewalk, but I didn't think they'd be this bad.

2008-06-05 07:44:56
24.   Sliced Bread
23 good pernt about Kim. I never thought she was as attractive as I think she is now. She's somehow become better looking.

Hazel is past her prime, fellas. Kim's surging.

2008-06-05 07:56:17
25.   williamnyy23
This always seems to happen with Giambi! He really gets rolling, then some stupid little injury sets him back. Damn it.

24 What are you blind! Take that back...or else!!!

2008-06-05 08:10:28
26.   Sliced Bread
26 Swords or pistols, William? Let's settle this thing...

No matter how it ends, my wife and sons can be proud of how I fought for Kim's honor. Heh.

2008-06-05 08:51:06
27.   Sonya Hennys Tutu
I'm still in the "trade Mussina now before he reverts to the mean (which in this case is much below league average)" camp. But I'm happy he keeps proving me wrong :)

25 I had the same thought about Giambi. I actually feel for the guy - he never seems able to stick around when he gets going at the plate. I wouldn't think that quitting the juice would have left him more susceptible to injury; however, he's not exactly young and so the fact that he's been injury prone for the last few years is really not out of line for someone his size.

2008-06-05 09:40:23
28.   Cliff Corcoran
12 Sorry about that, I had a couple of errors in there, both fixed. I was up very late last night.

Also, I never mentioned Kim Jones, don't pin that on me.

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