Posted by The Moose
Sometimes, there are moments where your back is against the wall. And you can either stand there and take it, or fight back.
Tonight, Mike Mussina fought back. Despite recent struggles for a team that has fallen hopelessly out of the playoff race, and facing a team fighting for their postseason lives, Mussina stepped up with his best start in weeks. After getting himself out of a bases-loaded jam in the first, Mussina had 1-2-3 innings from the third through the sixth innings. And his Yankee mates, so dormant with their bats in recent starts, backed Moose with nine runs as Mussina cruised to his 18th victory. The White Sox removed most of their starters after their half of the fifth, and Mussina was able to get through one more inning for a final line of:
6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
The win was his 268th, tying him with Oriole Hall of Famer Jim Palmer. His 18th win means he is–theoretically–still alive for 20 (but of course we’ve been here before). Although it is unknown if Joe Girardi will skip over a player to get Mussina his final start, we are confident that, should he beat Toronto, Mussina will get his shot. We are so confident in fact, that we will be blogging the Toronto start live on this site (Provided Ryan can get off of work)
Updates to all the pertinent pages are forthcoming and should be completed within half an hour. Also, for those curious, Johnny Damon missed the game to be with his wife, who gave birth earlier today to a girl, Danica. I think I speak for us all here Johnny when we say congratulations.
Please check back for an update later this week, and for the love of God, anyone who can give me concrete (Read: Quoted from Girardi himself) proof that Mussina has two more starts, please post it here. It’s worth noting that the AP story was titled “Mussina’s drive for 20 still alive”
Also of note is the fact that Mussina’s win tonight puts him back in contention for AL Cy Young votes. We’ve discussed at length before how the award is going to be won by Cleveland’s Cliff Lee. But we also know there’s a logjam for the 2-6 spots consisting of KRod (who’s probably closer to #2), the robot known as Roy Halliday, A.J.Burnett, Ervin Santana, Dike K and Mike Mussina. Tonight’s win ties Mussina with Halliday and Burnett for 2nd in the AL in victories. Dice K has 17. Right now I’d place them:
- Dice K
Burnett gets major points off for an ERA north of 4.15. Dice K has got the pretty record of 17-2, but that’s misleading considering the rest of his stats are completely medicore. His 90 walks are more then three times that of Moose, and they are almost equal in strikeouts (142-141). Still that amazing record might push Dice K past Mussina, if Mussina can’t win 1 or 2 more starts this year. It’s also possible that with the Red Soxs all but assured of a playoff birth, Terry Francona might limit Dice K’s inning and pitch totals for his remaining starts.
Patrick’s note: You’ve lost your mind on K-Rod and the people deserve to know. Also, according to new reader Leo, Mussina WILL get the final start of the seaon if he has a shot at 20
Additional note from Ryan: I don’t think KRod deserves to finish 2nd. I’d probably put him 3rd or 4th, but my anaylsis attempted to be objective. The voters will give him lots of love for the saves record and the Angels domination of the AL. That will likely be enough to push him into second.