Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
The Return Of The Crafty Veteran
2008-05-03 16:34
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Mike Mussina held the Mariners to one run on seven hits over six innings, walking no one and striking out a season-high five men, including the M's three, five, and six hitters, all flailing at changeups to cap his outing in the sixth inning. The performance earned him his third straight win as the Yankees put 15 men on base against Felix Hernandez and plated six of them. Johnny Damon had the big day, going 3-for-5 with two doubles and a two-run homer. Derek Jeter also went 3 for 5 with a double. Jose Molina drew his first walk of the year and snapped his 0-for-23 slump with a single in his next at-bat. The 6-1 score allowed Joe Girardi to stay away from his high-leverage relievers, passing the ball instead to LaTroy Hawkins, Edwar Ramirez, and Jose Veras, each of whom pitched a scoreless inning. Veras, in his first work since being called up, retired the side in order in the ninth on ten pitches, eight of them strikes, picking up a K to end the game.

Mussina's line in his last three starts:

18 IP, 18 H, 5 R, 2 HR, 2 BB, 10 K, 3-0, 2.50 ERA, 1.11 WHIP

If the Yankees can give Carlos Silva his usual beating tomorrow (Silva has a career 7.59 ERA against the Yankees), they could enter Monday's off-day having swept Seattle, which would push them back up over .500 and make their poor showing against Detroit seem a distant, hazy memory.

2008-05-03 17:32:22
1.   Mattpat11
Mussina's numbers against not the Red Sox

5 G 29.2 IP 28 H 9 ER 4 HR 5 BB 4-1 2.73 ERA 1.11 ERA

2008-05-03 17:33:02
2.   Mattpat11
That should be 1.11 WHIP
2008-05-03 17:42:20
3.   Cliff Corcoran
1 Just take out Manny's hits and RBIs and you get something similar.
2008-05-03 17:44:03
4.   weeping for brunnhilde
I missed the game this afternoon but I'm watching the rebroadcast as we speak.

Amazing how the sticks are finally hitting the ball around the park.

Really, it's a thing of beauty. Line drives up the middle (Hideki, Abreu), opposite field down the lines (Hideki), strong ground balls up the middle (Melky), opposite field line drives in the gaps (Derek). Nice to see Giambi stick to his guns on hitting into the dragnet. Wouldn't want to just follow the crowd, right?

Anyone care to weigh in on why they're doing this today and not the other days?

When they hit like this, they make it look so easy.

I'm not saying I expect this level of success everyday, but it does appear as if they're approaching things differently, which is heartening.


2008-05-03 18:34:23
5.   ChrisS
Just kind of jumping back to something on the previous post: Cliff, do you think that Hank is merely playing the part of the blustery owner? To me he seems to be saying all the goofy overbearing things a tyrannical owner would be saying (see Steinbrenner III, George) but to this day it doesn't seem like he's done anything. Most of the off-season moves were baseball saavy (e.g., Dusty Baker or some other name weren't hired as the manager, and, while somewhat debateable as being the smart move, Hughes, Cabrera, plus weren't dealt for Johan, etc.).

I submit that he's just playing the part for the media.

2008-05-03 18:37:38
6.   RIYank
I'm afraid I missed the game. :-( I'm watching some clips, but I can't hear the sound (all I get is static).

With all the batting, though, they only got 6 runs. I actually do expect that much production from the team -- not every day, but on average.

2008-05-03 18:43:23
7.   ChrisS
4 I think that, for one, they're still good hitters and things are starting to even out.

But, that said, I'm not real confident in the offense overall.

2008-05-03 18:55:17
8.   weeping for brunnhilde
7 I wonder if what's happening is that they're "seeing the ball" better which allows them to take shorter, more efficient swings?

It's strange that they all broke out in one game and especially the fashion in which they broke out: they didn't pound the ball, but rather sprayed it.

Matsui's hit down the third-base line, for instance, wasn't a great swing, by any means, but it was good enough. As O'Neill noted at the time, he did just enough right, which is that, though he was off-balance, lunging at the ball, he kept his hands back enough to still get something on the swing.

That's what I like to see, so much more than weak tappers to second.

We'll see what happens tomorrow.

2008-05-03 19:03:59
9.   Zack
6 I'm pretty sure I have gotten the same thing recently. I'm on a mac with firefox, if that helps...
2008-05-03 21:56:40
10.   nemecizer
I was at the game today and Moose looked quite good. He had the Mariners off balance. The radar gun was down for the first 3-4 innings (don't know why, maybe the wind?) but he certainly seemed to be throwing a lot of lower speed stuff. Whatever he is doing, I hope he keeps doing it.

And man, to use Alex's word, it was brick today. My brother and I almost froze to death in Row W and had to move down to the tier box seats to some unoccupied seats in the sun to get warm. But it was a great day at the ballpark.

2008-05-04 04:52:34
11.   RIYank
6 Hm, so am I. I've also tried Safari, same result. And I'm using the Silverlight media player.

Has anyone had success recently with those video clips -- esp. with the sound?

2008-05-04 05:04:55
12.   Yu-Hsing Chen
plz Cano... wake up, I love you, and i hate to see you struggle.....

we need to all start sacrificing chickens to Jobu and hold up marble bags when he hits...

2008-05-04 06:13:25
13.   horace-clarke-era
6 RI, my man, cut them a BIT of slack? We may ex[ect 6 runs a game but we haven't been getting it, so this DOES count as good. Add the fact that Felix had been superb against everyone this season and banging hits against him the way no one else had is nice Saturday afternoon news!

Matsui's hit was off a viciously good pitch. Yes it was lucky, yes it was a very skilled batter getting decent wood on a brutal ball. I mean the other night Damon and Jeter had hits that travelled a total of 30 feet ... THOSE were lucky hits.

Moose deserves a LOT of props here and elsewhere ... whatever follows, even if the league sorts out his soft stuff, he has kept us hanging in through April while the kidlets self-destructed. And there is no formal reason he can't keep going with the off-speed control ... anyone else think he's suddenly pitching like an old southpaw? Key, Rogers (not the NY Rogers!), Moyer?

Two random comments ... watching Anaheim a bit last few days. Damn, those dudes play the game well ... Torii H fits in just beautifully. Stole 2nd BETWEEN PITCHES on a play because no one was covering the base.

Interesting P match up today ... Tampa Bay vs BoSox. TB has Kazmir back. Hope for him.

2008-05-04 06:24:32
14.   Sonya Hennys Tutu
Here's a modest proposal: trade Mussina NOW. His value will never be higher than it is right now.

If you couldn't tell, I'm not a believer. I submit that pretty much regardless of the speed differential and ability to spot the ball, at speeds "this low" (i.e. call it 68-88 with the preponderance at 72-85) it's only a matter of time before the league adjusts and starts completely plastering him.

Prediction: 2-3 starts from now he'll revert to what we saw most of the last two seasons, if not worse.

AND, in any case, a pitcher generally limited to 5-6 innings is not a good long term solution.

I pray that I have to eat my words. But I don't think I'll have to.

2008-05-04 07:24:15
15.   Schteeve
14 And what precisely do you think we're going to get for a pitcher who is probably 5 months from retirement?
2008-05-04 08:51:53
16.   OldYanksFan
14 I disagree. Aside from 15 , while being OLD and having NO FASTBALL is a great disadvantage, there are still a number of quasi-successful pitchers in this situation. The difference is Moose has better junk then most of them.

I think Moose's problem was that he was not 'embracing' his old age. He did not want to let go of his past talents, even thought they have let go of him. In his last 3 starts, he has not relied on his FB (mediumball) except as a 'surprise' pitch, and he has kept it on the edge, or off the plate.

He is now relying more on location and offspeed stuff. He is relying more on his head, rather them his arm. No, he will never again be a dominant pitcher. But can he be league average or a little better? I think so. Moose was 'supposed' to be our worst pitcher. If our worst pitcher is league average, then our rotation must be pretty good. Unfortunately Phil and IPK haven't cooperated as of yet, but Moose has exceeded our expectations.

This team is constructed that if everyone plays up to their (reasonably expected) ability, we will make the PS. Unfortunately, there are only a handful of Yankees who have done this so far... but Moose is one of them.

Player-- ERA
Beckett 4.19
Mussina 4.23
JLester 4.31

2008-05-04 10:31:24
17.   Sonya Hennys Tutu
15 If we can get a league average (or even somewhat below league average) 1B, starter, or reliever, even one up for FA, then it's a good trade. I bet we could get a league average middle reliever for Mussia now but not after he performs as I believe he will. Nor do I believe we get a below league average guy at any position once he reverts to the recent (2 year) norm. That's why I suggested to trade him now. Value will never be this high...

16 All of what you say holds true only if Moose turns out to be league average (or close to it). Unfortunately, I don't see it happening.

Would love to be wrong (like I said!) but I don't have a good feeling about it.

Intuitively I like what you say OYF about him using his head rather than his arm. If anyone in MLB can extend their productive longevity by using their brain, it'd be Moose (as I'm sure he'll remind us at some point...) Like I said though, I'll have to see it to believe it!

2008-05-04 10:37:13
18.   fansince77
I am no maor league hitting coach but it seems so obvious why Cano sucks thus far:

1) dropping his hands
2) way to forward on his front foot
3) stepping and swinging.

If I were Long I would have Robbie up there with no stride and a short compact swing slapping the ball and seeing it deeper into the zone. I might also turn his body slightly so he is poised to hit everything up the middle opposite field.

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