We’re not going to discuss Tuesday and Mike’s 2/3 inning. It was a train wreck of a game (Moose in NYT: “It was like I’d never pitched in my entire life”), with the saving grace of the train being operational the next day. Let’s move on to Saturday, with Mike on three days rest.
AP: “Mike Mussina survived five shaky innings before turning it over to Joba Chamberlain and New York’s reshaped bullpen, and the Yankees pummeled the Seattle Mariners 12-6 on Saturday for their first four-game winning streak of the season. … Coming off his worst start in more than a decade, Mussina (7-4) needed 74 pitches to make it through five innings. He wasted a 4-0 lead, giving up Jose Vidro’s three-run homer in the fourth followed by Beltre’s solo shot.”
MLB.com: “After Mike Mussina left the game with five innings and 74 pitches to his credit, Chamberlain entered, a nod both to Mussina’s ineffectiveness and Chamberlain’s need for work. … So Chamberlain — roughly slotted for three innings — only pitched two, and it turns out that Mussina could have pitched six quite easily. On another day, he probably would have. But his five innings, however rocky they might have been, gave him the foundation for a victory.”
NYT: “Among their happy statistics: starter Mike Mussina (7-4) has the most victories on the staff and is third in the American League. Although he was not dominant Saturday in five innings, he is, mathematically, on pace to win 20 games.”
NDN: “Mussina joked that it did not feel like short rest, because his last appearance was so short.”
That’s win 257, Strategic Failure reminds us (“Embrace the moxie”). Meanwhile, The Bronx Block this week examines Mussina’s career with a Bill James-penned Hall of Fame question list. The list has a roughly even split between the quantitative and the qualitative, and the results are more positive than I expected.
Two other things:
1. Why isn’t anyone with access writing a Mussina dry-erase board blog? Or maintaining some kind of Web list? Reportedly hanging on his locker and updated daily, the board has a kind of baseball Zen mini-feed going on. Just last week, we’ve got (Thursday) “Balls that hit the yellow stairs are usually homers. Not tonight.” and (Saturday) “K Bryant. 22 points Fri. Fly red-eye to NY to play center on Sat.” Lately, Giambi has inspired “Pitchers need thongs too.”
The Record this spring makes the popularity obvious: “A witticism, an axiom, an irreverent little quip, Mike Mussina’s dry-erase board has hosted them all — and, in the process, become the day’s first must-see.” Most appear to come from Mussina, but there seems to be a bit of a group-blog thing going on sometimes. (Unrelated, found while googling, why doesn’t Mussina play ping-pong? I’m totally cool with messing with the mind of the franchise’s most carefully protected rookie, but what’s wrong with ping-pong?)
2. Have to say it again. Every newspaper blogger in the world can learn from Peter Abraham’s LoHud Yankees blog. Last night we get the lede, “Jason Giambi looks like the male lead in Naughty Nurses, Volume 2 with that new mustache of his. But The Big G isn’t shaving any time soon. He’s 10 of 19 with six runs scored, four RBI and four extra-base hits in the last six games.”
Abraham then gives a ridiculous Ichiro quote and tells everyone to read the comments thread when it becomes an awesome festival of ridiculous Ichiro quotes. Abraham’s to start: “Playing on this team and seeing what is happening around me, I feel that something is beginning to fall apart. But, if I was not in this situation, and I was objectively watching what just happened this week, I would probably be drinking a lot of beers and booing.”
(Other coverage adds the second part of that conversation, “Usually, I enjoy Japanese beer, but given the situation, I wouldn’t care if it was Japanese beer, American beer or beer from Papua New Guinea.”)
The best one in the list is undoubtedly this one, originally in USAT: “Tiger is a great golfer, but … when you say athlete, I think of Carl Lewis. When you talk about (golfers or race-car drivers), I don’t want to see them run. It’s the same if you were to meet a beautiful girl and go bowling. If she’s an ugly bowler, you are going to be disappointed.”