There’s nothing like getting your internet connection after a week absence only to find that Mike Mussina lost to baseball’s best team.

This one was never close.  With two on and two out in the second, Mussina allowed a double to someone called Justin Ruggiano that scored both runs.  Meanwhile the Yankees were doing nothing to help – I think they have given up on the 2008 season.  James Shield shut down the former Bronx Bombers in eight shutout innings, allowing no walks and just five hits.  Moose had more trouble with Ruggiano in the second when he lead off with a single and then stole second.  Jason Bartlett’s single brought him home on the next pitched.  The Rays plated two more in the inning and that was it for Mussina.

His line:
5IP, 8H, 5ER, 2BB, 7K – 100 pitches

The chase for twenty is still alive, but on life support.  Mussina is scheduled to start on Thursday against the Central division leading White Soxs.  The start will be Mussina’s final in Yankee Stadium.  I hope he can go out on a high note.

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15 thoughts on “Game Recap 9/13

  1. Right; my friend and I were just talking about this. I noted that the Yankee defense has been completely lethargic (anyone see Cano get taken out of the game today?), but she made a good point in saying that no matter how atrocious the defense has been, you also have to be somewhat unlucky to be giving up “hits” 40% of the time the ball is put in play (see BABIP). Pettitte has been somewhat unlucky as well. I would like to see both Moose and Pettitte brought back for low-risk, one-year deals.

  2. Tom, the run support stat is really misleading because it can be terribly skewed by one game, such as the one in which they scored 15 runs against Kansas City. On average they score over 5 runs per game in Mike’s starts but it’s a very uneven distribution of runs. Baseball reference does break it down on the 2008 game log page and what jumps out is that there were 8 games in which Mike started and the team only scored two runs (also 2 more in which they scored one).

  3. I know The Moose is always harping on the strangeness of the Run Support stat. For example if Mussina leaves a game leading 3-1 in the 7th and the Yankees plate 8 runs in the last three innings, Mussina get’s credited with 11 runs of support! This happened in reverse against Baltimore on August 22nd. Mussina left trailing 4-2 after six innings, the Yankees rallied to win 9-4. Mussina’s run support for the game according the way the stat is figured – 9 runs.

  4. I was wondering if there was something up with the fielding or unlucky breaks. I can’t see him pitch but I follow the Game Day and see the pitch velocity, stats,etc.

    I’ve noticed more balls are dropping, but I could be wrong. What I found odd is his strikeouts are actually way up lately ( I look for him to average 5 a start, he’s been 6-8 lately)and his walks are still down ( I think he had a IBB there, so hes doing his usual 1 game). I have seen several sites say something like “Moose couldn’t get anything by the hitters.” When in fact he is striking more out than ever, and still not giving free passes. Since I cant see the action I dont know if he’s being hit hard or people arent fielding or the hit location is unlucky,etc.

    Remember earlier in the season when he could not get ANY swinging strikes and was lucky to get 3-4 called Ks a game? But he was still winning. And he wasn’t getting anything by any hitters then. But what he was doing was giving up more ground balls- that were fielded cleanly for outs. In fact it seems his whole good season has been based on limiting baserunners, limiting mistakes to singles that either got through the infield or just dropped in the outfield, and erasing base runners with the timely DP. And mixing in the 3-5 ( usually called) Ks. He was rarely if ever blowing any pitches by hitters. He was mixing pitches and getting contact but contact that was weak/not dangerous- hitters not really get a good swing on what they did hit. Is he still doing that or is he just getting beatup while managing to strikeout 7-8 guys as well?

  5. Greg C., just a theory, but maybe the Yankees sending down Melky Cabrera has really hurt their outfield defense and balls that were caught earlier in the year are now falling in for hits. Nady in left and Damon in center are not great defenders, in addition to Bobby Abreu in right with his fear of the wall. I think Moose and Andy Pettitte are both trying to compensate for the Yankees slow defense by trying for more strikeouts instead of pitching to contact like earlier in the season, but it’s coming at a cost. All the Yankees starters have abnormally high BABIP, which says a lot about the inability of the fielders behind them to get outs when the ball is put in play.

  6. The devil’s advocate argument to BABIP is that some believe batters hitting the ball harder can also cause BABIP to deviate from the .300 average (although it’s debated whether this is even true). So, either:

    a) His K rate is better than before, but hitters are getting better swings off him, or
    b) He’s been unlucky, and the Yankee defense has been godawful

    A is counterintuitive, and even if it weren’t, chances are he’s not giving up enough legit, hard hits to raise BABIP to almost .400 anyway. Someone else mentioned that all Yankee starters have an abnormally high BABIP, which also supports explanation B.

    All in all, it’s probably a combination of increased cheap hits (result of bad luck and bad fielding) and defensive players not making plays on harder hit balls which they may have caught earlier this year.

    On a related note, I still laugh when I think of how absolutely pathetic Abreu’s defense is. Replacement Level blog recently did an analysis of the Yankees defense, and Abreu was FAR AND AWAY the worst RFer in the league (according to runs saved). Not only does he have the problem with the wall, but I have never seen him dive for a ball… ever. I’m for letting all the free agents go with the exception of Moose and Andy, who should be signed to one-year deals.

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