Moose season in the American League

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SG at RLYW wonders if Moose is cooked, and it’s hard to disagree with him. While SG notes that Mussina was two bad pitches to Manny away from throwing a decent game, to me, the more telling sign came in the first inning.

With Jacoby Ellsbury off second, Dustin Pedroia came to bat, and Mussina threw a 1-2 85-mph that Pedroia lined hard to a leaping Robinson Cano. The ball was tattooed, and the Yanks escaped unharmed. But it was clear that Mussina had nothing last night. How many more starts will he be allowed to make?

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  • Ron

    Let’s not forget that at this stage of his career, Moose is a 5th starter. As such, he should be able to beat the lesser teams in the league. We can’t expect him to hold The Sux and the Tigers in check. Hopefully, Girardi will use the off day Monday to re-arrange his staff so that Moose matches up against the 4th or 5th starter, instead of the 1st or 2nd.
    And BTW Ben, ther is still room on the Melky bandwagon (although it is rapidly filling up!).

  • Yankee Psycho-fan-t

    I say this a lot sarcastically but I honestly think I might have been able to get guys out more efficiently than Moose did last night. The hitters were never off-balance, and they were taking championship hacks at the plate. That was a telling moment but the Manny at bats were super frustrating. I would say Moose shouldn’t start anymore but who are we going to slot in his rotation spot? We can’t put Joba in there and Alan Horne is injuredish correct? Marquez isn’t exactly performing like champion. I have to believe that Darrell Rasner would be able to get people out better than Moose. It’s really hard to watch with Moose because I have been a fan of his for a very long time, but his decline has been steady and apparent. Ever since 05′ he’s been readily loosing velocity on his fastball and thus his ability to get out of tough situations with strikeouts. Now he flat out can’t get a ball by anyone. He must feel like he can still do it because if I were him, I would hang em’ up while I still have my dignity. Get out before the game forces me out. The Yankees need to move him, either to another team, the DL or the bullpen but he can’t stay in the rotation or we will lose every game he pitches to teams that aren’t Tampa and KC.

  • Simon B.

    Many more starts. I maintain that I think Mussina will be league average or better in 130+ IP this year.

    He was not cooked. He was consistently 86-88, which is completely adequate when he has the excellent offspeed stuff he’s had this year.

    I think too many people are waiting for Mussina to fail. He had one bad start and one lackluster start versus the Red Sox. Stop overreacting.

    Wang gave up 8 runs in 4 IP on Wednesday, and everybody writes it off, but when Mussina gives up 5 runs in 3 IP, he’s done.

    • Ben K.

      For Mussina to reach 130 IP, at this rate, he’ll have to make 22 starts. I don’t really see that happening.

      Meanwhile, he’s made four bad starts and one of them was good. The last three have been middling to bad, and he’s just not getting the ball past hitters as RLYW said.

      Meanwhile, 14 of his 76 pitches were at or above 86 miles per hour, and his average fastball velocity was 85. That’s not going to be good enough even when he isn’t facing the Red Sox or Tigers.

      • Simon B.

        “At this rate?”

        At this rate, Gabe Kapler is going to have 53 HR. This is nonsense. He’s had two one good start, one bad start, and two middling starts (IMO still completely serviceable). That is not enough data to make a conclusion like that.

        • Ben K.

          “At this include” includes the fact that Moose averaged under 5.5 innings per start last season as well. I don’t see him pitching more efficiently this year than he did last.

  • Tripp

    Is there a list of potential trade candidates anywhere?

    When is Freddy Garcia due back from injury? It may be to late by then.

    What’s Jeff Karstens return status? He’s been out for a while with that groin injury.


  • yankeemonkey

    Karstens is rehabbing.

    Moose will be making starts unless and until someone comes along who can replace him. That someone is not Kei Igawa, or Karstens, or Steven White. Do you not think Jeff Karstens would’ve gotten tattooed just as badly last night?

  • My Pet Goat

    I agree, Moose is no anchor. He’s going to get tattooed by the likes of the Red Sox. It would be nice if our #5 could match Beckett, but that’s unrealistic. He’s gotta take the ball every fifth day, hope the offense is humming on days when his stuff isn’t, and just hold the fort until Joba can be put in the rotation after the all-star break. There aren’t any other options for the time being.

  • Simon B.

    You know what I’m more angry about? Our catchers. This is the fourth time (only that I’ve personally counted) that the Yankees have successfully guessed right on the pitchout, and they still make wild throws into centerfield.

    How hard could it be to make an even halfway accurate throw across the diamond? Pitchers may have a lot to do with holding the runners, but the incompetence of our catchers have really exacerbated the problem of the opposing team running the bases wild.

  • Geno

    Does anyone know when Horne is due back?

  • Sciorsci

    So are we not on board with retiring #35?

    • Chip

      I’d retire #35 for two years of Wetteland before I’d retire it for the Moose

    • Marsha


  • The Scout

    Moose is there because, right now, there is no one else, period. But it is a long season. The Yankees hope that Horne or someone else in the sytem progresses rapidly enough to fill Joba’s slot in the pen so he can convert to a starter mid-season. Failing that, there will be arms available (at a price!) nearer to the trade deadline. If Mussina is still starting in September, it will be a shock to many of us

  • Matt K

    I think the first person I would start from the minors is Mcutchen. He has been very good all last year and this year so far. If you take away Manny, Moose only gave up 8 ER over 20.2 innings.

  • ceciguante

    looks like the yanks could be forced into trading for a SP. we’re breaking in hughes and kennedy already, and possibly joba as SPs this year. that puts a lot of pressure on the veteran SPs to put up innings and carry the load for the inevitable rookie “learning experiences” we’re going to endure. i don’t feel comfortable considering mussina a “5th starter” when neither hughes nor kennedy has proven they can put up a winning season. before answering “just bring up ___,” consider that 3 rookie SPs is asking for a lot of good luck in terms of player development.

    basically, we’ve got 2 proven starters and 3 question marks in our rotation right now, since mussina somehow needs to learn how to pitch effectively all over again (how long are we supposed to say that?). that mix doesn’t tend to win championships.

    i think we should still be giving moose some starts to straighten out, but i really hope we don’t pull a y2k david cone move, and let him start most of the year to the tune of a 7 era, just because he’s a vet and we’re all hoping he gets his stuff back.

  • pete

    he’s a very good #5 starter because if he were facing, say, wakefield, it’d be essentially an even matchup between essentially even teams. But more importantly, he can beat teams like the jays and orioles, who lack hitting talent, and he can beat young but talented teams like the rays b/c most of their hitters are too inexperienced to sit on any mussina pitch. The fact is, his fastball is mediocre at best, his off-speed pitches have been good to excellent this year, and he throws strikes. you can’t ask too much more from a guy who is your 5th starter and will likely remain so only for half the year (enter joba).

    • Ben K.

      But more importantly, he can beat teams like the jay

      His start against the Jays two weeks ago seems to suggest otherwise.

      • Mike P

        I think you’re too quick to jump on Moose. About a year ago he was effective. So far, he’s been a mixed bag. Good, mediocre and bad. I say give him a chance to have a few more good/mediocre starts. If after 10 starts he’s pitched fewer than 50 innings and been mainly bad, ditch him.

        Of course if Moose goes 3 straight terrible outings, he packs his bags.

      • TomG

        Not really, he kept them in the game through five innings; the offence just couldn’t do anything against Burnett. Mike’s still a serviceable fifth starter; I think anyone would have trouble with the Red Sox offence on back-to-back starts. His first game against the Sox was also enough to win, he just can’t match up against top of the rotation guys. Tell me a #5 elsewhere in the league that’s vastly superior to Mussina.

  • barry

    The bottom-line is Moose will eventually be replaced by Kei Igawa. Remember early in spring training that Cashman thought Kei had what it took and his ultimate goal was to start for the Yankees.

  • Chip

    I don’t think he can beat the Jays, Rays or any other team on a consistent basis. Look, these teams aren’t stupid, they know they can sit on a pitch and just react to everything else.

    Give me McClutchen, Horne, Marquez and maybe even Igawa over him right now. Hell, just throw Rasner there and see what he can do, it’s not like they can be a whole lot worse

  • barry
  • Travis G.

    i’m coming around on the idea that Moose uses his FB too much. the 2nd ab to Manny is telling: 5 (or 6) straight FBs until he made a mistake that was crushed. it’s one thing if you’re Joba throwing 95+, but Moose is throwing 85+. i believe he actually got some outs on the curve = throw it more.

    maybe he cant grasp that he’s now a junkballer, or needs to be to be effective.

  • Ivan

    To be off topic here but the Rays just inked Longoria to a 6 year deal over 17.5M, and could top out to 44M.

    I understand the circumstances and I know Longoriia has serious potential but talk about locking your players up early.

  • E-ROC

    Moose isn’t going anywhere, until maybe the trade deadline or something. Or maybe he’ll switch places with Joba.

    Is Freddy Garcia available?

    I’d like to see McCutchen, too.

  • TurnTwo

    I feel as though at this point that I wouldnt even bring Joba back the big league club when he leaves his father’s bedside in Nebraska. I’d have him report right to Scranton or Trenton and begin stretching him out now.

    If there is one thing Ive learned so far this season is that the bullpen is capable of doing its job, and there are more than enough capable arms to swap in and out, to mix and match to get the ball to MO and win some ballgames.

    You send Joba to the minors, let him get 4-5-6 starts to get his arm back in shape and stretch him out, and you call him up in late May/early June to hopefully finish the season.

    • nmc

      Joba is on an innings limit. He can’t pitch as a starter the whole season. So you can’t do this.

      • TurnTwo

        4-5 starts a month for June/July/August/September at 6 innings a start, approx, comes out to 115-120 innings.

        he throws 4-5 starts in Scranton… first game is 3 innings, second 4, third 5, fourth 6 innings… 18-24 innings in May.

        totals, between Scranton and the Yankees, are around 135-145 innings for the rest of the year… seems reasonably within the innings limit set forth by Cashman and Co.

  • Bruno

    Moose will be in the rotation until JOBA’s been stretched out and ready to take his spot, leaving Moose as the longman/mop-up guy whether he likes it or not.

  • Tripp

    How come the Dodgers and Twins didn’t have any problems stretching out Bradford and Santana during the season at the MLB level?

    • Bruno

      That’s what I’ve been advocating all offseason. Use JOBA the same way the Twins used Santana, 2-3 inning in relief and spot starts. NOT 1 inning at a time, too easy to fall into being the next Papelbon. At least with JOBA home with his father, we have chance to fill that 8th inning role and let JOBA return as more of a longman until his inning dictate that he can jump into the rotation full-time.

      • Chip

        Couldn’t agree more. Tell him to start getting in there in the 4th inning when Phil has thrown 95 pitches and tell him you’d like to get 4 or 5 innings out of him so tone it down. He would have been a great one to put in when they were having their slugfest the other night

  • Joey H

    How about a 6 man rotation? why not right? i heard rasner is tearing up the minors. so this way you let moose start against the crummy teams (not sox or tigers) aka weak hitting teams. this way you give the rookies an extra days rest. idk just the first thing that came to mind

    • Chip

      You’re getting more innings out of worse pitchers that way, I don’t like it. I’d rather take the innings Rasner would get and spread them out over Phil, Ian, Wang and Pettite. If you want to bring Rasner up, just send Mussina down outright

  • RobertGKramer

    The Moose is in transition. He’s got to emulate Greg Maddox, but has no command of his diminished fast ball! Greatest transition I ever saw? Frank Tannana(sp?.)

  • RobertGKramer


  • DanElmaleh

    How about Kei Igawa? He can’t be much worse than Moose is now.