LADY AT THE BAT: The Deciding Factor: Mike Mussina?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Deciding Factor: Mike Mussina?

After the Yankee losing streak hit 7 games last night, I began to wonder what it would take to turn this team around. After thinking about all the problems with injuries and bullpen fatigue, I have come to the conclusion that the deciding factor for the Yankees, at least at this early point in the season, might be Mike Mussina.

I know that I've been critical of Mussina, but when you think about it, he seems to be the missing piece right now. Looking at the Yankee rotation, Chien-Ming Wang recently returned and pitched well enough to win. Andy Pettitte has been great all year; his bad outing last night was because of too much rest. Both Wang and Pettitte have a history of going deep into games and, barring anything catastrophic, should do the same this season. That leads me to Mussina. He is scheduled to come off the DL and make his next start against the Rangers in Texas next week. If he can check his idiosyncrasies and pitch the way he's pitched in the past, the Yankees will have three very strong starters at the top of their rotation. They can make the back end up as they go along, with Rassner, Karstens and whomever else they can find. Right now it's not, Kei Igawa, who needs to be in the minor leagues, trying to figure out how not to pitch up in the zone all the time. I absolutely love Phil Hughes and am convinced that he's the future ace of the staff, but he probably needs to go back down for more seasoning.

One more thing: Today in his LoHud Yankees Blog Peter Abraham writes that Mussina made a successful simulated start yesterday, but asks if the Yankees lost that game, too. Good one, Pete!

The Lady

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