Why I’m sick of Mike Mussina

Just what they needed...
I'm really looking forward to this Subway Series

Time after time, some little thing disrupts Mike Mussina’s rhythm, and he feels the need to make excuses for himself. After watching this go on and on since 2001, I’m beyond sick of it.

Yesterday afternoon, during the postgame interviews, Mussina claimed that he had nothing coming out of the bullpen and that he really struggled to make it through his half-assed start against a White Sox club that came into the game batting .220 with a sub-.300 OBP AS A TEAM.

But really, Mussina didn’t like the rain-out and the extra day of rest. It bothered him. For a smart guy – Stanford, crossword puzzles – Mussina sure can’t conquer the mental aspects of the game. He falls apart when someone makes an error; he can’t deal with a disruption to his routine.

Mark Feinsand said it best in his blog recapping 14 hours spent at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago:

Mike Mussina needs to just go out and pitch. I know he’s a huge creature of habit, so being pushed back two extra days is a big problem for him, but after playing as long as he has played, he needs to find a way to get past it and give his team 100 pitches.

I know Feinsand isn’t the only sports reporter who questions Mussina’s fortitude. You have to believe that an accomplished pitcher in his 17th season in the Majors could just suck it up now and then. But more and more, it seems like Moose cannot, and it’s a let down.

Just what they needed...
I'm really looking forward to this Subway Series
  • http://jeteupthemiddle.blogspot.com Jeteupthemiddle

    Some how, I can’t find myself being bothered by Mike Mussina.

    I think he is great.

    He is probably my favorite Yankee….at least in the top 5. This is probably because when I was younger I loved the way he hopped off the mound, and now it is because I love, love, LOVE his interviews and his dry sense of humor.

    I can’t find it in me to get upset when the creature of habit stuff pops up.

  • http://www.robjules.com Rob

    I’m with ya. He is the king of the solo-homer. I never wanna have to sit thru another playoff game that we are winning.. until that is, he serves up a homer ball to a light hitting player on the opposite team. He’s done that no less than 10 times since being a yankee.

  • Greg

    He has his share of bad outings and mistakes ( like the solo homers to weak hitters), for sure. But he has also done his share of being the BEST pitcher on the staff that included Clemens and Pettite ( arguably in both 2001 and 2003) while being unheralded, bailing Clemens ( who couldnt even pitch more than 6 innings the FIRST time he was in town) out in the playoffs against the Redsox, having no run support ( I know at one point he had a career post season ERA of something like 2.40 with a 7-7 record),etc. Of course it was worse in Baltimore, where his team’s hitting was so poor he had a losing record with a 1-something ERA and 40 Ks in 20some innings ( and had a 11-15 season when he was among the league leaders in ERA). But the Yankee bats and gloves seem to fall asleep more when he is pitching as well.

    Clemens has been a 6 inning-max pitcher for many years, Pettite a high ERA guy his whole career, guys like Wells who are career mediocre/below average seem to get more love, etc. But if Mussina has 1 bad game, all the critics come out.

    I suppose he brings it on himself by being considered a whiner and somewhat “aloof.” If he was some jolly fat brawler with a 4.50-5.00 career ERA people wouldnt care about his 5 run 5 inning starts, I guess.

    I thought things looked promising his first 2 starts off the DL ( which people have forgotten already). He has 2 solid starts and 1 lousy one since the DL. Even that ratio ( 2 good starts per 1 bad) would be pretty great over a full season. And even in his limited pitch outings he pitches as deep into a game as Clemens ( the guy who won Cy Youngs pitching 6 innings and relying on run support and bullpen help) will.

  • Greg

    Chien-Ming Wang is the latest average/high run support pitcher that everyone loves for some reason. Last year Mussina had a better season ( granted he did drop off at the end) but since he ONLY won 15 games, somehow it was lousy and Chien-Ming Wang was some kind of Ace.

    In Feinsand’s blog he said
    “Chien-Ming Wang is awesome. This guy doesn’t get fazed by anything, he just goes out there, hammers hitters with his heavy sinker and mows through opposing lineups. Wang is the unquestioned ace of this staff, and having him take the ball every five days can only help this team.”

    Huh? this is a guy 2-3 with a 4.54 ERA who has given up 4 or more ERs in 3/5 starts. 2 starts ago, he gave up 7 runs and 11 hits.

    Last year he gave up 233 hits in 218 innings ( mussina 184 in 197) with a 3.63 ERA ( Mussina 3.51) and barely struck-out 76 ( Mussina 172) more than he walked 52 ( Mussina 35).

  • Matt G

    I thought I would have to come here to defend Mussina, but everyone else is already doing that. My take is this: Mussina is a whiner and likes to make excuses, but that’s just his personality, and since we’re not going for any beers anytime soon, what do I care? If I thought a little more balls would mean a few more wins, that’d be something, but I don’t think that’s the case. I think the guy just whines more than than most, and if he didn’t go around blaming extra off days, he’d still stink up the place on occasion like every other human.

    He has had some brilliant performances under less than optimal circumstances–his melodrama nowithstanding, I don’t think a lack of routine really effects him much at all.

    Now, has anyone noticed that in recent years, Mussina looses his stuff in a hurry? I suppose some would want to label that a lack of fortitude, but it may just be declining skill or age. Regardless–he’s like a light switch, and when he clicks off, Torre needs to have his hook ready.

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