Most know off the top of their head that the Yankees have lost 10 of their last 13 post-season games. But, how many know which pitchers started those 10 games that New York lost? Well, if you don’t know, here’s the list:
Mussina – 3 games
Johnson – 2 games
Wang, Wright, Brown, Lieber, and El Duque – 1 game each
When I see this, I have to wonder if the Yankees post-season results would have been different if Mussina and Johnson had been “lights-out” post-season “horses” for New York in the last 2 or 3 seasons.
Mussina stands out more than Johnson here because he had starts in key losses in this year’s ALDS, last year’s ALDS, and the ALCS of 2004.
Granted, in 2004, in the ALCS loss that he started, Mussina went 6 IP and allowed just 2 runs. But, you can also wonder – what if he were able to give you more than six? Would that have helped the Yankees pen hold that Game 5 contest – and given the Yankees the pennant in five games?
Clearly, Mussina spit the bit in Game 5 of the 2005 ALDS and his failure to hold the lead in Game 2 of the 2006 ALDS was the turning point of the series.
Moving off Moose for now, Johnson was flat out bad in his ALDS starts of 2005 and 2006.
Thinking this all over, perhaps the key to the Yankees 2007 post-season success (if they make the post-season) will be not having to rely on Mussina and Johnson to carry them in the playoffs?
This puts the pressure on Wang and Pettitte. But, then again, since Mussina and Johnson have shown that they cannot be counted on as being the “go-to” guy, at this stage in the careers, in the post-season, perhaps it’s a good thing that the Yankees now have Pettitte to pair with Wang for October games?
Basically, outside of the 2001 World Series and the 2002 ALDS, Pettitte came through for the Yankees when they needed him the most in the post-season. And, Wang has been solid in his two post-season career starts.
Let’s just hope that their arms hold up through next October. The Yankees will need them.