Mike Mussina has been with the Yankees for nearly seven years now. He’s seen 619 of Joe Torre’s 2000 wins and 1027 of Joe’s games. Yet, for some reason – some reason I can’t fathom – Mike Mussina was pissed off after getting taken out of a 1-0 game in the 7th inning.
Now, why was Mike Mussina whining? Because he had thrown just 79 pitches and wanted to throw more. He wanted to, as he told Tyler Kepner of The Times, throw 110 pitches. And that’s just ridiculous.
Mussina, the Stanford-educated crossword-puzzle aficionado, is a smart guy. He probably knows that Joe Torre has something of a quick hook (as Joe noted earlier this afternoon). We’ve certainly been critical of Torre’s bullpen tendencies in the past, but last night, he made the right move. Mussina should know that.
Moose had just come off of a few bad outings in a row. Entering last night’s game, he was 2-3 with an ERA north of 6.20. But in six innings, he looked great last night. He had given up two hits while walking no one and striking out four. The seventh started out promisingly enough; he gave up a slow roller to Jim Thome.
But – and this is a big but – with the Thome shift on, Robinson Cano was in no position to field the ball, and Miguel Cairo, hustling all the way, couldn’t range from the second base bag to the second base hole and throw out Thome. It should have been an out, and that look crept onto Mike Mussina’s face. It was that “I’m out of my comfort zone” look. It’s the same look I’ve written about in the past.
I knew what would happen next. Mussina doesn’t get an out; he stops making the pitches. The next batter – Paul Konerko – rocketed a single off of Mussina. And that was the end of him for the night. His final line read 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K. He didn’t get the win, but that’s no big deal as the Yanks crushed the Sox bullpen later on.
After the game, Mussina grumbled like a cranky old man. â€œWhy am I upset? Because I threw 80 pitches and I think I could have thrown 110. It was the first mess I had. I just felt like I could have kept going,” he said. â€œI understand his thinking, but seventh inning with 79 pitches? I know I havenâ€™t been pitching that well, but oh well. Gotta earn it back, I guess. Gotta earn it back.â€
That’s right, Moose. You have to earn it back. You have to suck it up when a squibbler goes for a base hit, and you have to take your lumps like the rest of the team.
And here is just one more nail in the Mike Mussina coffin. Enough already, Mike. Just pitch. You have almost as many excuses as this guy, and we don’t like him too much.