Smile Moose, smile.
Smile Moose, smile.
Posted by The Moose and Rorschach

Well, it’s over. As you know if you’ve read Ryan’s PHENOMINAL blog, Moose picked up his 20th win today. I’ll be back with my thoughts tomorrow after a night of rest, but I wanted to pass along a few points about Mussina’s season, excluding the wins.

1) Mussina’s ERA of 3.37 was his lowest since 2001 and good for 5th in the league.
2) Mussina finished tied for 14th in the league with 200.3 innings, and frankly, could have been a few spots higher had it not been for the elbow acting up.
3) His 150 strikeouts were good for 18th, and again, could have been higher had he not had the elbow issues.
4) Mussina was one of only four pitchers in the AL with 34 starts this season; the league lead (hello black ink).
5) Moose’s 31 walks were the fewest of his career and he did not walk more than two hitters in any one start this season.  His 1.39 bases on balls per nine innings placed him second in the AL.  Mussina’s K to BB ratio was 4.84, good for 4th best in his league.
6) Mussina was unscored upon in his last 16 innings.  In his last three starts he posted a 3-0 0.53 17IP 12H 1R 1ER 4BB 13SO.

All in all, there’s not a single complaint to be found if you’re a Yankees fan. And something to remember: This was a guy who, from the end of 2006 to the start of this season, was 14-17 and lost his job once. Think about how close he was this season to not staying in the starting rotation. Only the Joba Rules and the failed Kennedy/Hughes experiment saved him. (Dear Ian and Phil: Thanks. Good luck next season though.)

The Yankees began the 2008 season with a starting rotation of Chien-Ming Wang, Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy.  Mike Mussina won 20 games this year.  The other four?  They won 22. In fact Mussina had more then one-third of the 59 victories Yankee starters delivered this season. The Yankees also finished 16 games over .500.  They were 23-11 when Mussina started for them.

At the end of the day, Mussina couldn’t do it alone. Consider:

1) The Yankees moved “The Phenom” back a day and cost him a final start to give Moose this game
2) Mariano Rivera, ever the professional, came back from NY, with a bum shoulder, and shut down the Red Sox in a game that was, in the larger picture, meaningless
3) Derek Jeter, who you usually have to taze to keep from the field, asked for the day off becasue he felt playing could harm Mussina’s chances.
4) The wonderfully inept Pittsburgh Pirates, who once again were awful, leading to the sale of Xavier Nady, who hit a huge three-run homerun to give Mussina the support he needed.
5) Damaso Marte, simply for making our life that much more interesting.  He’s forgiven for today, but I still hate him.

That’s all for tonight kids.  I’ll be back midday with my thoughts on Mussina’s new legacy and where he goes from here.

And to all out loyal readers: Our 1500 page views easily set a new record for site and we’ve topped 25,000 hits since inception (suddenly round numbers are just so beautiful!). Thanks for all your support and keep spreading the word to Moose fans everywhere. But, please do not abandon us in the offseason. 🙂

We also now have shirts available in our mussinahof store.  And there’s more to come there too!

Written by 

17 thoughts on “Game Recap 9/28 – “Well boys, it’s been emotional”

  1. We won’t abandon you in the offseason, but it sounds like Moose might! Nearly all the media saying he sounds like he’s leaning toward retirement because he doesn’t know if he wants to play long enough to get 300.

  2. The funny thing is not one week ago, most of the NY press was penciling Mike into the 2009 NYY rotation, and now they’re all busy writing his career epitaph. Mike himself kept saying, “next year” this and “next year” that after his eighteenth win. I guess people in the media, and maybe Mike himself (who knows), feel that twenty wins closes “the story.” Every starting pitcher in the HOF has at least one 20-win season, so now that Moose has his, he doesn’t need the validation of 300 as much as he did without the 20 to be worthy in the eyes of the round number-obsessed voters. I, selfish fan, still want him to come back, however!

  3. If Moose really went from wanting to pitch next year to not wanting to at all because he finally achieved 20 wins, we would have been better off rooting against his 20th win! If whether he chooses to continue or not is mainly contingent upon the difference between winning 18-19 games and winning 20 games, maybe it’s best if he doesn’t come back. I can’t believe that would honestly be the case… and if it is, I think we can objectively say he lacks good judgment.

  4. Well, what I mean is, regardless of what people say to the media, they have personal goals and things they’d like to accomplish. Mussina is no different. This 20th win meant a lot to him. You could see it on his face. And I think winning that 20th game accomplishes one of those goals for him. He’s already said he doesn’t want to hang on just to get to 300. So what other personal milestone is there for him? A Cy Young is unrealistic–given that he’s not as big a K guy and innings eater anymore, and so is a World Series ring–given the state of the Yankees pitchers and the quality of that division.

    So if you’re Mussina, what do you have left to play for? Nothing but love of the game and money. He doesn’t need the latter and I think he loves his family and hometown more than the game. His family didn’t even stay for the whole game so they could get home. I think that 20 wins was a “bucket list” kind of thing. If he’d gotten stuck at 19, he might have said, “Well heck, worse pitchers than me have gotten 20, why not give it another shot or two?”

  5. “So if you’re Mussina, what do you have left to play for?”

    Well, I would certainly think 300 wins is something left to play for, and I don’t think it’s an automatic assumption that the Yankees can’t win a World Series within the next couple of years, especially if they dip into the free agent market.

  6. Yeah, but 300 is a long term goal, as is the WS. At best, you’re talking 3 years for 300 wins and probably two at minimuum for a ring. And it’s so dependant on a lot of things. Mussina has said his wife wanted him to retire 5 years ago. At the same time, it’s also conjecture at this oint

  7. I would think best case scenario he could get the 30 wins in two years, and he’ll certainly get enough strikeouts for 3000 in that time. Pitchers over 40 have done it before, and Moose has never had arm problems.

  8. I really wish everyone would stop indicating that the chances of the Yankees winning a ring next year are virtually nonexistent. It completely depends upon the signings they make, and God knows they have enough money to bring in some big names. Moose – or any player, for that matter – has as good of a chance of winning a World Series next year with New York as he would with pretty much any other team (except maybe Boston).

    My gut feeling is that he’ll probably retire, but a) he would still have a very good chance at a ring in 2009, and b) the idea that 300 wins = 3 more years is not necessarily true.

  9. Yes Illustrious–

    But that’s all conjecture. Who would have thought the Rays would be where they are a year ago? Or the Twins? Who would have thought the Indians or Tigers would have fallen off? If I asked you to tell me last season who was a better WS pick between the Yankees, Indians and Rays, my guess is you wouldn’t pick Tampa.

    I’m also unsure of what signings will make a big difference for them? Sabathia? Maybe, but he’s indicated he wants to go out West. Burnett is a true Wild Card and has only made 30+ starts twice in his career–both in free agency years. Sheets is a walking MRI. The rest are just rotation filler.

    All in all, it’s still a rotation that is much too young and inconsistent and a lineup that saw almost no-one have a better year this year than the year before. Everyone in the lineup is on the wrong side of 30 except for Caberera and Cano, both of whom had awful seasons.

    Additionally, regarding Mussina and 300 wins. He’d need to win 15 games each of the next two seasons. His last 5 seasons have seen him go 12, 13, 15, 11, and now 20. Yeah he’s had a nice rebound year, but he’s clearly on the downside of his career. Obviously it’s not set in stone that it will take three years, but Mussina’s own comments indicate that’s what HE believes.

  10. I still have to disagree. The chances of the Yankees winning another World Series within the next two years may not be overwhelming, but they’re still higher than most other teams in baseball simply because you know the team will be competitive. That’s really all you can ask for, because so much of what happens in-season and in the postseason is flukey and unpredictable. The odds of the team winning the WS soon may not be overwhelming, but they’re still good in comparison to almost all other teams, and it’s certainly not entirely “unrealistic” to expect the team to at least make the postseason (and perhaps the Series) next year. All in all, if Moose is indeed still looking for that ring (and I don’t know if he is), I think the Yankees still present him with a good chance. It just depends on how much he’d like to give chasing a ring a shot.

    You say that “it’s all conjecture,” but it’s equally as much conjecture to assume that the rotation will be “young and inconsistent” next year, or to assume that Cano will continue to regress, the return of Posada won’t improve the lineup greatly, Sabathia will sign out west, etc. Maybe I’m presenting an optimistic view, but I have to admit that I think you’re subscribing to an extremely pessimistic, Murphy’s Law one. Personally, I don’t think the Yankees HQ will allow the team to remain in flux next year.

    Re: wins – Yes, Mussina’s own comments suggest he believes committing to one year is essentially committing to three, not trying to argue that. However, similar to my last point, I was simply saying that I think he’s assuming in the worst in that belief. I don’t like to analyze win totals because they’re so dependent on run support and your bullpen, but the average of those last five years is still 14.2 wins. Personally, I think if he decides to continue pitching with a good team (e.g. the Yanks), there’s a good 50-60% chance he gets 300 within two years. Of course, ultimately what he believes is the only thing that matters. I just reserve my right to disagree with it. 😉

  11. Yes, they’ve got as good a chance of any, but I still don’t think it’s that great.

    Re: The pitching staff. My believe is that Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes have given me absolutely no indication they’ll be solid major leaguers. Right now, the Hughes/Kennedy/Chamberlain experiment is no different than “Generation K” that the Mets had. Yes, Kennedy and Hughes COULD produce. But who’s to say they will? We have no evidence to support that theory.

    I agree that the Yankees HQ WANTS to improve the team. I just don’t think the solutions are out there. The pitching beyond Sabathia is dicey at best, and other than first, they won’t have any new guys in the lineup. If you want to count on a 37 year old catcher, be my guest. 😉

  12. Oh, I absolutely do not think Kennedy will amount to anything, but I think that the front office learned its lesson this year after counting on two young kids with little experience. A rotation of CC or Burnett, Wang, Joba, Moose, and a fifth starter (Pettitte, Hughes, Aceves, maybe even Coke) could measure up to any rotation. Maybe throw in Derek Lowe as well, or maybe Burnett and Sheets if CC doesn’t sign with NY.

    Who they sign for first base could have a HUGE impact on the team offensively, combined with Posada’s return (even if he doesn’t produce like he did in 2007, he will still be miles better than Pudge/Molina), Cano probably improving at least somewhat upon his 2008 numbers, and nearly anything hitting better than 2008 Melky. Also, since RISP is a flukey stat, it’s reasonable to expect that the 2009 numbers with RISP will be better than the 2008 RISP numbers.

    While the Yankees chances of winning it all in 2009 might not be “great,” no team’s chances really are, except for maybe Boston’s chances. They’re probably at least somewhat good chances, and that’s all you can really ask for as a free agent pitcher looking for a ring. Again, I don’t know how much Moose even cares about winning a WS at this point, but I think there are certainly options out there to improve the team, and just having everyone healthy will provide a boost as well.

  13. I think if your going to blame Damaso Marte, then you should also blame Joba Chamberlain for allowing the two hits, so yeah…..

  14. Marte in Moose’s last three wins in which he made appearances 0.2 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 SO, 2 inherited runners allowed to score.

    Additionally, the Yankees of 2009 will have a great chance of making the postseason again, unless Cashman somehow convices Hank to subject the team to a few years of rebuilding. Unless that happens they’ll have a great playoff chance as usual and it is my belief that in baseball once you make the playoffs anything is possible (see the Cards of St. Lious circa 2006 – owner of 83 regular season wins and eventual World Series champs).

Leave a Reply