Ain’t much to say tonight. That was ugly all around, the Yanks lost a chance to gain ground as the Mariners fell to the Angels. But let’s chat about two pitchers not long for their current roles.
A few weeks ago, I noted that Mike Mussina was thriving because his strike out totals were up. I also wondered if that success was a mirage. I wondered if his good July was more a product of the crappy teams against which the Yanks had played rather than some sort of Fountain of Youth that Mussina had developed. When I said that his next few starts against the Tigers and Angels would go a long way toward tell us about the real Mike Mussina, I didn’t expect this debacle.
In his last three starts — two against Detroit, one against The O.C. Angels — Mussina has lasted a total of 9.2 innings. His up 25 hits allowed and 5 walks have led to 19 earned runs, and he’s mustered just 3 strike outs. His fastball is sitting in the low 80s, and his breaking pitches aren’t doing much of anything.
That being said, to whom do the Yankees turn? Matt DeSalvo was great tonight, but was 1-3 with a 6.18 in 7 Big League appearances earlier this year. I would always rather take my chances with Mike Mussina than Kei Igawa, and Ian Kennedy just isn’t coming up. Maybe the Yanks go with Steven White, but in reality, their best bet has been turned into their 8th inning set-up guy. Joba won’t be starting this season, but maybe he should be.
As the Yanks look past next week to next year, they’re going to have to address the Mike Mussina issue. Maybe they’ll buy out the last year of his contract, but I doubt Mussina would go for that. He’s due $12 million, and he wants to pitch. The question becomes can he pitch?
On the other side of things is Sean Henn. Henn, 26, has gone 6.1 IP over his last three appearances. His 15 hits and 8 walks have led to 15 runs (and two losses). At this point, I truly believe something is going on between the Yankees and Chris Britton that has kept this pitcher in the minors. Maybe he’s going through some personal issues. Maybe there’s some odd beef between him and Torre. Maybe the Yanks wanted to closely monitor his innings after watching two other relievers (Chris Ray, B.J. Ryan) blow out their arms after getting overworked by the Baltimore Orioles. But any way you slice it, Henn’s gotta go.
The Yanks could call up Britton. They could call up Ben Kozlowski. Just please, end the Sean Henn Era.