The End of the Affair?

Right now I let go of it and I don’t feel like anything good is going to happen. It’s tough to pitch that way. You can’t play the game that way. You feel like you have no control over anything, and that’s how I feel right now.—Mike Mussina

When the end comes, it can come quickly. Standing on the mound last night, with runs pouring in and the hits coming and coming, Mike Mussina might have been hoping for a Huey to airlift him out of Tiger Stadium. Mussina has had a wonderful career–a borderline HOF career–he’s been a fine Yankee, and he’s somehow managed to reinvent himself as a pitcher over the last few years. I’m not sure there’s another act in his show. And, more critically, it doesn’t seem he’s confident there’s another act either. This leaves the Yankee brass with a serious problem (nevermind the financial issues). As Cliff Corcoran points out over on the Banter, the options for replacing Moose in the rotation aren’t great: Iggy Igawa, Jeff Karstens, and Matt DeSalvo have all proven themselves unimpressive. Steven White has never pitched in the majors, and isn’t a top tier prospect. Ian Kennedy is, but he’s probably already at or close to his innings limit for the season, and he’s not on the 40-man roster, which makes adding him to the squad quite difficult. Indeed, adding anyone will be hard, unless someone “discovers” an injury and can be DLed to make a slot.

In other annoying news, Yankee top draftee Andrew Brackman has gone under the knife; he should be back in August 2008. And according to the Times, Phil Hughes may or may not still be rebuilding arm strength after his long DL stint. Now the good news: Andy Pettitte on the hill tonight for the Yanks, against hard-luck Matsuzaka. And Jeff Weaver pitches for Seattle against the Angels.

21 comments… add one

  • have the Weavers faced each other yet?

    Ric August 28, 2007, 10:03 am
  • I actually think Seattle matters very little to the Yankees right now. With their showing in Detroit the past four days, I think the Tigers are the team that the Yankees are going to be battling for the wildcard the rest of the way. If you take a look at Seattle’s schedule, it appears as if they’re running into a rough stretch here.

    Brad August 28, 2007, 10:09 am
  • And just to follow suit, I’ll say this: Mike Mussina has been my favorite Yankee pitcher for years now, and I actually felt sorry for him last night. I felt very bad watching the infielders just looking at him, and watching him wear the pain of what was going on. I hate to watch an old pitcher not be able to let it go like he once could, and especially one that I’ve liked his whole career. It’s weird, but I wanted Moose to have a decent showing last night, and he did anything but.
    I felt very bad for him. It’s gotta hurt to go through what he’s going through.

    Brad August 28, 2007, 10:12 am
  • “…the options for replacing Moose in the rotation aren’t great”
    Boy that’s the understatement of the year.

    John - YF (Trisk) August 28, 2007, 10:31 am
  • The real question is if Moose is man enough to allow the yankees to buy his contract out for next year and let him retire. He must realize he is toast at this point.

    Sam-YF August 28, 2007, 10:49 am
  • Brad, you couldn’t have said it any better. The game, and the postgame interview, were just painful to watch. Moose has always been one of my favorite players and seeing him fall off a cliff so suddenly and so fast is…heartbreaking.
    I remember him saying something along the lines of, “If I see that I can’t be any good anymore, it’s time to go home and stay there.” He seems to have too much pride to continue getting humiliated like he did last night. That makes me think that he might just hang it up after this season…

    yankeemonkey August 28, 2007, 11:01 am
  • Watching a guy you admire struggle is unpleasant, sad, but heartbreaking? I’m not sure my heart is going to break for a guy who’s had a fine career and made about $125 million in the process.

    YF August 28, 2007, 11:12 am
  • Call me sentimental. But watching a guy standing out there who knows full well he’s got absolutely nothing is heartbreaking to me. It’s not a matter of seeing a multimillionaire athlete out there, just a human being.

    yankeemonkey August 28, 2007, 11:23 am
  • in addition to the uncomfortable feeling i get watching a guy i’ve rooted for for a long time struggle with their inevitable decline, it makes me feel really old.
    the same thing happened when bernie faded. i saw bernie play AA ball, for crying out loud.
    i’m glad that i was never blessed with the abilities these guys were (any major leaguer… or even a guy who gets to AAA and does well). i would have a hard time when the twilight settled in.

    Yankee Fan In Boston August 28, 2007, 11:29 am
  • Some pitchers do re-invent themselves by adding one pitch and pitchign more to contact. Moose would not be the first if he were able to do so. But there is no way he can do it on the fly to salvage this season. It woudl have to be toward next season.
    I agree that he has pride and would not want to run around getting shelled. At the same time, he has to feel that the guy wearing his jersy who was pitching just a month ago, and pitching very well, is not suddenly lost forever. I also think it has to be hard to hang it up with 247 wins.
    I think he will swallow whatever medicine comes his way for ’07 and will make an effort to find something new/different for ’08. Whether he is able to is another question. I think there is no way he retires this year – not after having pitched well not so long ago.

    IronHorse (yf) August 28, 2007, 11:32 am
  • Question: Mussina has never pitched as awful as he has in the last three games. He has however, had periods of effectiveness this season. Reminds me of another heralded pitcher for the Red Sox. Schilling went on the DL with dubious health issues (tired shoulder???) and snapped back to his usual hit or miss self. Is it not possible Moose goes on the DL for a spell, say, due to a deflated ego, and comes back to pitch 6 innings of 3-4 run ball, just in time for the playoffs? Granted, it’s an infamous Red Sox trick to use the DL to get pitchers to suddenly not suck, but, hey, whatever works. What about moving Chamberlain to the starting rotation?

    MAG August 28, 2007, 12:56 pm
  • MAG, I think it would take too long to stretch Joba back out. He was pitching in relief in Scranton prior to his call up, so it’s been sometime since he started. Also with Villone on the DL and Henn getting sent down (inevitable), the Yankees will need as many bullpen arms as possible. If I was a betting man I would say Igawa (my favorite) gets called up and Mussina gets 2 starts off.

    John - YF (Trisk) August 28, 2007, 12:59 pm
  • Moose looked beaten on the YES postgame last night. For a moment he tried to summon the arrogance of a starting pitcher and blame the bleeders, but he couldn’t even sustain that line of explanation. He seemed to almost be asking to be taken out of the rotation.

    SF August 28, 2007, 1:05 pm
  • I didn’t realize Villone was on the DL now, too. Unreal timing. Despite NY’s battering and Boston’s sweep of bottom dwelling, CHI, I’m betting Pettitte gives NY’s pen some much needed rest. Even if Dice doesn’t come off his hinges, run support has been an issue when he’s on the mound. Tonight could go 2-1, Pettitte, or NY could break out of their offensive slide and trounce him. Either way, I’m betting on Pettitte to come back strong after last night’s flogging.

    MAG August 28, 2007, 1:18 pm
  • Send him back to Baltimore. We still love Moose and for the love of god, he’s not any worse than the crap coming out of the dugout now.

    Agategoddess August 28, 2007, 1:23 pm
  • Thank God Pettitte’s pitching tonight, and you know what, I’m actually glad we’re facing Dice-K ’cause maybe that will force our bats to be patient and hammer him again.
    As far as Moose goes, they should have never given him a guaranteed two-year extension. It should have been one year (at most!) with a TEAM OPTION for the second year. I mean, look at how much money his latest debacle cost the Yankees in salary … http://gameon.msg.com/2007/08/stats-shmats-is.html

    David Rabinowitz August 28, 2007, 2:56 pm
  • If Moose gets benched, will the News or Post headline it with “Moose Dropping”?

    SF August 28, 2007, 3:01 pm
  • Awesome, SF.
    Even if Dice doesn’t come off his hinges, run support has been an issue when he’s on the mound. Tonight could go 2-1, Pettitte, or NY could break out of their offensive slide and trounce him.
    MAG, would that be like last time when Pettitte and Matsuzaka faced off? The Sox, and Matsuzaka, got the victories in that one. Pettitte took the loss and couldn’t get out of the fifth. Final score? 11-4 Sox.
    With both starters pitching much better now than they were at that time, I expect a game along the magnitude of 3-2 or 4-2. Who will win? I honestly couldn’t begin to prognosticate. I would be very much surprised if either team scored five runs.

    Paul SF August 28, 2007, 3:06 pm
  • I predict the Sox will win 45-33, with Joba Chamberlain giving up his first 13 runs in relief, all in the top of the ninth, the Sox escape with a hard-fought victory.
    Or, it could be 2-1 Yanks.

    SF August 28, 2007, 3:12 pm
  • If both teams score fewer than five runs, odds favor the Sox. The last time the Yankees won a game in which they scored four or fewer was July 17. (Ouch.)

    Jackie (SF) August 28, 2007, 3:17 pm
  • Funny, SF. Wasn’t predicting an outcome as much as calling out Dice-K’s inconsistencies. I wouldn’t suggest Matsusaka’s success the last time around was indicative of tonight’s outcome, either. Nor, would I bank on NY’s offense to remain stagnant, or for Boston’s offense to continue it’s torrid pace. I anticipate both will level off. Needless to say, it’s September and Yankees/Red Sox baseball is what makes this game so great!

    MAG August 28, 2007, 4:38 pm

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