Saturday, June 14, 2008

Will Mussina Win 20?

Mike Mussina: a 20-game Winner?
Yankees right hander Mike Mussina pitched six effective innings last night at Minute Maid park as New York defeated Houston, 8-4. Mussina allowed three runs and six hits en route to his 10th win of the season.

Which raises the question: can he finally win 20?

Yes. Wouldn't that be crazy? After Mussina's first start of the season, April 2nd against the Blue Jays, I called my father. A wise man and a casual Yankees fan, we agreed that the 39-year-old pitched about as good as he could and lost. He was in for a long season.

My apologies Mike Mussina (and Happy Father's Day dad). Three-and-a-half months later Mussina is tied for second in the league in wins and I'm questioning whether I know jack squat about baseball. If the All-Star game was today, Mussina would be the sentimental favorite to start (though LHP Cliff Lee has had a better season).

This marks the second 17th consecutive season (an American League record) he's reached the 10-win threshold.

In his prime, Mussina won 19 games twice and 18 three times. His inability to eclipse the 20-game plateau has put an ugly blemish on his borderline Hall of Fame credentials. But amazingly he's been New York's most reliable starter.

Mussina is treading on familiar ground. This is the third time in his career (the first time since 2003) he's reached the halfway mark within 15 starts.

Back in April Mussina was snubbed by the Baby Boss, Hank Steinbrenner.

"[Mussina] just needs to learn how to pitch like [45-year-old Phillies pitcher] Jamie Moyer," Steinbrenner said. Moyer is known as a crafty pitcher who doesn't have an overpowering fastball.

On a Wednesday gameday, White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen slammed Mussina.

"He's still pitching?"

Yes. He is, Ozzie. It's certainly surprising to those of us who saw him pitch in April but he is. Better than most. And perhaps better than he has ever had before.
So what do you think? Will Mussina win 20?


Anonymous said...

It would be awesome if he did, but no. He's been close before. He's "Mr. Almost."

Anonymous said...

He deserves to win 20, but I can't see it happening

David said...

Mussina is a gutsy pitcher, his longevity should be rewarded with a 20 win season.