Mike Mussina gets the start tonight against the Royals, losers of 13 straight. (Is it just me, or does anyone else get nervous that a team is due to win a couple after losing so much, even a team as woeful as Kansas City?) Will this be the year Mussina finally wins 20 games? Ehhhh, could be. Ed Price tackles the subject today in the Star-Ledger:
"Moose likes to live in the shadows somewhere," manager Joe Torre said. "He doesn't like all that attention. He's proud of what he does, but he doesn't need someone to tell him that."
Mussina says he's not overly concerned about winning 20. There is too much season left for him to get ahead of himself. He has to be pleased with how he's pitch so far, though. Moose adds:
"Being older and a little smarter and all that stuff, when you've had years that you're struggling, you pay attention to why you struggle and what bad habits I had. You try to make sure you don't have that when you get to the next year."
Without crunching any numbers, I'd rank Mussina with the likes of Curt Schilling and John Smoltz as borderline Hall of Fame candidates. Smoltz has been a terrific playoff pitcher and of course was also an elite closer for a few years; Schilling has the 300 K and 20 win seasons and two World Serious rings. I wonder which of the three will last the longest. My guess is that right now, Schilling and Smoltz are more likely to make it to Cooperstown, but one never knows...does one?
I can safely say that Mussina's got the Bronx Banter crew behind him 110%.