• Wang & Pettitte Ring Keys For 2007?

    Posted by on December 12th, 2006 · Comments (25)

    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.

    Comments on Wang & Pettitte Ring Keys For 2007?

    1. baileywalk
      December 12th, 2006 | 3:38 pm

      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?
      —————–

      You can also wonder — what if you DIDN’T think Mussina was the Antichrist?

      Wins and losses are not determined by the pitcher alone. What they do during their stay in the game is all that is important (when discussing their contribution). They can’t score runs, too.

      It’s weird to attack Mussina for 2005, since he also did win the first game. And if Bubba and Sheffield never crash in game 5, how does that game go? It’s like blaming Wang for his great start because A-Rod booted a simple ground ball.

      And if we examine what Pettitte did with the ‘Stros in ’05, I don’t think that makes him a “go-to” guy either. In fact, no one is a go-to guy. Even Johan Santana lost to a light-hitting A’s team in the playoffs.

    2. December 12th, 2006 | 3:51 pm

      What I mean here is that, look at Schilling and Johnson in 2001. No one was ever going to beat them. There have been pitchers like this – Hershiser in 1988 is another example. If Mussina and/or Johnson had been *that” strong in 2004-06, maybe the Yankees would have better fortunes, no?

      Baileywalk – really, you don’t think Mussina had a huge impact on the Yankees losing their last two ALDS series?

      Really?

    3. December 12th, 2006 | 3:58 pm

      I don’t think I understand your point.

      Yeah, having better pitching would be a good thing. We haven’t had good pitching recently. All right.

      I don’t see how Pettitte changes that. He’s been far from dominating in the postseason. Mussina has in fact been better (4.02 ERA vs 3.40 ERA).

    4. Chewbacca
      December 12th, 2006 | 4:10 pm

      The Yankees *wouldve* had better fortunes if Moose/Johnson had been that strong. All I ever wanted to see from them, especially Moose, was *that* lights-out performance that we never got.
      HOWEVER, you cant put the blame squarely on Moose, except for the fact that he could not strike out the strikeout king, Curtis Granderson. On that note, though, Granderson strikes out every time against any other team in that situation. He chose to get a bat on the ball solely because it was the Yankees.

      Back to not blaming Moose completely, our offense just slept after Damon’s 3 run shot. They literally took out their pillows and took a nap.
      Before the postseason, they called us “Murderer’s Row & then Cano.” I knew that wouldnt be the case, as our guys get cheated at the plate some of the time. Other times, we go up there swinging at the first pitch with a total lack of interest of reaching base.
      Finally, there are other times that I feel as if our hitters go up to the plate guessing (AROD) and flail at every unhittable pitch and look at pitches right down the middle. During the series, I heard one of the loser FOX commentators say “AROD is one of the best guessers in the game.” When I heard that, I nearly shit my pants. First, how can he be one of the best guessers when he swings through so many bad pitches and looks at strikes right down the heart, and also, I, prior to the commentator’s words, thought “How could our guys be that stupid, with such skill, as to stand at the plate guessing.” See the ball, hit the ball.

    5. baileywalk
      December 12th, 2006 | 4:30 pm

      For what it’s worth, here’s what Moose, Wang and Pettitte have done in the playoffs since 2003:

      2003 ALDS — Yankees over Twins in 4.

      Mussina (0-1): 7 IP, 3 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO.
      (The Yankees doesn’t score a run till the ninth inning; Yankees lose 3-1.)

      Pettitte (1-0): 7 IP, 1 ER, 3 BB, 10 SO.
      (Yankees win 4-1.)

      2003 ALCS — Yankees over Red Sox in 7.

      Mussina (0-2):
      Game 1: 5.2 IP, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO.
      (Yankees lose 5-2.)
      Game 4: 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 2 BB, 10 SO.
      (The Yankees score 1 run off of Wakefield through 7 innings; Yankees lose 3-2.)
      Game 7 (in relief): 3 IP, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO.
      (Yankees win 6-5.)

      Pettitte (1-0):
      Game 2: 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO.
      (Yankees score 3 runs in the first three innings; they win 6-2.)
      Game 6: 5 IP, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 SO.
      (Yankees lose 9-6.)

      2003 World Series — Marlins over Yankees in 6.

      Mussina (1-0):
      Game 3: 7 IP, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 SO.
      (Yankees win 6-1.)

      Pettitte (1-1):
      Game 2: 8.2 IP, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO.
      (Yankees win 6-1.)
      Game 6: 7 IP, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 SO.
      (Yankees lose 2-0.)

      2004 ALDS — Yankees over Twins in 4.

      Mussina (0-1): 7 IP, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO.
      (Facing Santana, the Yankees score no runs; they lose 2-0.)

      2004 ALCS — Red Sox over Yankees in 7.

      Mussina (1-0):
      Game 1: 6.2 IP, 4 ER, 0 BB, 8 SO.
      (Yankees score early off of an injured Schilling; Moose flirts with a perfect game; they win 10-7.)
      Game 5: 6 IP, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO.
      (Both runs come in the first inning, including a bullshit ball-four call with the bases loaded; the Yankees lose 5-4 in extras.)

      2005 ALDS — Angels over Yankees in 5.

      Mussina (1-1):
      Game 1: 5 IP, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO.
      (Yankees win 4-2.)
      Game 5: 2.2 IP, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO.
      (Mussina has a poor game, but two of the runs come because of a bizarre collision in the outfield between Sheffield and Crosby; Yankees lose 5-3.)

      Wang (0-1):
      Game 2: 6.2 IP, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO.
      (An A-Rod error allows two runs to score in the 7th; Yankees lose 5-3.)

      2005 NLDS — Houston over Atlanta in 4.

      Pettitte (1-0):
      Game 1: 7 IP, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO.

      2005 NLCS — Houston over the Cardinals in 6.

      Pettitte (0-1):
      Game 1: 6 IP, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO.
      Game 5: 6.1 IP, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO.

      2005 World Series — White Sox or Houston in 4.

      Pettitte (0-0):
      Game 2: 6 IP, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO.

      2006 ALDS — Tigers over Yankees in 4.

      Mussina (0-1):
      Game 2: 7 IP, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO.
      (Yankees lose 4-3.)

      Wang (1-0):
      Game 1: 6.2 IP, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO.
      (Yankees win 8-4, scoring 5 runs in the 3rd.)

    6. Raf
      December 12th, 2006 | 4:40 pm

      What I mean here is that, look at Schilling and Johnson in 2001. No one was ever going to beat them.
      ============
      Yanks were up 3-2 going back to AZ with Pettitte and Clemens throwing. I like those odds.

      They were up 2-1 in gm 7…

      The D-Backs could’ve been beaten.

    7. December 12th, 2006 | 5:33 pm

      FWIW, why is it that so few say that it was Mussina’s fault for letting a ball be hit that far and hard that led to the crash with Bubba and Sheff? Instead, folks blame the OFers. If Mussina gets that batter to hit an infield pop, there’s no “bizarre” OF crash, no?

    8. RICH
      December 12th, 2006 | 5:55 pm

      You’re blaming Mussina for the outfield collision?

      Do you blame him for not changing speeds enough so the next day’s starter won’t be as easy to hit? That’s just as ridiculous.

      Do you credit him for anything positive?

    9. baileywalk
      December 12th, 2006 | 6:09 pm

      Steve, a ball hit in the air that dies on the warning track is an out.

      But I forgot Moose is not only the Antichrist, but he ate your puppy and shat in your salad.

      If Mussina ever goes missing, I’m going to tell all my buddies in the Yankee Stadium detail to look up one Steve Lombardi. I think we’ll find him buried in Steve’s backyard.

    10. Raf
      December 12th, 2006 | 6:28 pm

      FWIW, why is it that so few say that it was Mussina’s fault for letting a ball be hit that far and hard that led to the crash with Bubba and Sheff? Instead, folks blame the OFers. If Mussina gets that batter to hit an infield pop, there’s no “bizarre” OF crash, no?
      ====================
      Dude, you’re really reaching here.

      It was a fly ball. It should have been caught for an out.

      The Yanks played lousy defense that series, and it cost them games 2 & 5.

    11. December 12th, 2006 | 8:16 pm

      Yeah, I don’t get the point. If ANY of our pitchers pitched liked RJ and Schilling in 2001, yeah, we win. Well, duh.

      How is this supposed to be enlightening?

      I’m with the others, you just hate Mussina for no reason that I can understand. He is not as good as RJ circa 2001, Santana now, pr Walter Johnson back in the day. But he’s certainly better than many, many other pitchers, including anyone we have except for Wang.

    12. December 12th, 2006 | 8:57 pm

      Does anyone have a YouTube link to that Sheff/Bubba play or something? Funny, I don’t remember that as just being a can of corn that should have been caught. I remember it more as a deep drive that both players were running after, full tilt. In any event….

      To the Mussina thing – let me try and explain it this way.

      In the Yankees last 13 post-season games, they had 10 really bad and costly losses. Mussina started three of those ten games. In two of those three times, he blew the game. In summary, he *may* have, and it’s a strong possibility, cost the Yankees the ALDS in 2005 and 2006.

      But, gosh, he’s great, right?

      Geez, I must be missing something?

    13. RICH
      December 12th, 2006 | 9:27 pm

      I don’t think anyone here is stating that Mussina is great. You’re sounding defensive here.

      Your writings show you have a distaste (if not hatred) for Mussina.

      Do you blame a pitcher if a batter hits a grounder to an infielder and it’s muffed? It’s the fielder’s job to field the ball.

      It was Crosby and Sheffield’s responsibility to catch the ball and they didn’t. Mussina did what he was responsible for in that instance.

    14. Chewbacca
      December 12th, 2006 | 9:37 pm

      Steve — Why are you going to let three starts determine how you look at a player’s Yankee career. We signed him in 2001 to a 7 year contract. When you sign a pitcher to that length of a contract, you dont expect him to be healthy or productive for all 7 years. The fact is, Moose has been an above average pitcher for us every year. And without him every year, we wouldn’t have made the playoffs. You are right that the play was no can of corn, but had Cashman ponied up the dough for Carlos Beltran like he should’ve rather than let Bernie decay in CF right before our eyes, forcing us to go to Bubba Crosby, that play would have been a can of corn. So if you want to put the blame on Moose for a ball that shouldve been caught, then you need to put it equally on B-Cash for not putting fielders out there that can make that play.

    15. baileywalk
      December 12th, 2006 | 10:11 pm

      Why is it always the last 13 post-season games? Why not include all of the 2004 playoffs?

      In those 20 games, Mussina is 2-3 in 6 GS. One of those losses was a tough one — a 2-0 loss where Moose went seven innings of two-run ball and lost to Santana. And the ND was tough, too: an extra-innings loss to the Sox where Moose went six and gave up two runs.

      If you’re going to blame Moose for losing to the Angels, then you have to praise him for beating them, too (which he did). And considering the way Johnson and Wright pitched, placing the blame on Mussina in the Tigers series is stupid.

      Johnson is the guy who, in the last two years, has killed this team. He has gotten his butt KICKED in the playoffs. Even in the game Mussina lost to the Tigers, he pitched well and kept his team in it to the end.

      Anyway, I’m sure you’ll be happy to hear THIS: if I see Mussina’s name, I’ll stay out of the comments section. My forehead is starting to bleed from beating it into the wall. Heh-heh-heh.

    16. December 12th, 2006 | 10:15 pm

      Hey, it’s OK to agree to disagree – and, in a case like this, I’m happy to do it.

    17. Chewbacca
      December 12th, 2006 | 10:28 pm

      So, it’s OK to agree to disagree, because you refuse to admit you’re wrong. Right? Moose has been worth every penny from day one and is possibly the best free agent signing of a pitcher for a contract of longer than 5 years ever.

      Right?

    18. December 12th, 2006 | 10:43 pm

      Chewbacca – meet Greg Maddux.

    19. Chewbacca
      December 12th, 2006 | 10:45 pm

      Raf — You’re right. We SHOULD’VE won ’01 and Alfie should’ve been on the cover of SI as the hero.
      Brosius could’ve turned a double play and the only time I remember Mo making a mistake with a throw cost us a World Series. Usually, a great guy like Mo makes his mistake in Game 68 of the regular season. But, once again, luck would have it that his one error was the most costly of all. Kind of like how the only 4-pitch walk I remember Mo handing out in a meaningful situation lead to the greatest demise in MLB history. And the 4-pitch walk couldnt come to Ortiz or Manny or Varitek, but rather to someone like Millar, a guy who can easily be replaced without worry of losing his bat in extra innings.
      FYI, I am not and cannot fault Mo for any of it, as we would probably still be 22 time WS champions without him.

    20. Chewbacca
      December 12th, 2006 | 10:53 pm

      Steve — Meet the facts.

      Greg Maddux signed w/ the Braves in ’93 for 5 years 28 million dollars. He then resigned with the Braves as a free agent after the ’97 season for 5 years 57.5 million dollars. I was aware of Maddux; that is why i said “free-agent signing” and “longer than 5 years.”

    21. Raf
      December 12th, 2006 | 11:16 pm

      Does anyone have a YouTube link to that Sheff/Bubba play or something? Funny, I don’t remember that as just being a can of corn that should have been caught. I remember it more as a deep drive that both players were running after, full tilt.
      =======
      http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20051010&content_id=1245253&vkey=news_nyy&fext=.jsp&c_id=nyy

      It has a link to the play.

      Bubba was lined up or lining up, the ball actually hit Sheffield’s glove.

    22. December 13th, 2006 | 1:23 pm

      another example that nothing is certain:

      remember the 03 NLCS? Chicago was up 3-2, going BACK to chicago, with Wood & Prior going. No one thought they’d lose the series. Those guys were among the best pitchers in MLB then. Yet they lost both games…

      The playoffs is 50% luck, 25% pitching, 20% clutch hitting, 5% defense.

    23. DonnieDosTresBaseball
      December 13th, 2006 | 1:32 pm

      I agree the playoffs are mainly luck. But, clutch hitting falls under the category of luck.

    24. Don
      December 13th, 2006 | 2:32 pm

      Wasn’t it Andy Pettitte who ‘spit-the-bit’, twice, in the 2001 WS? Especially in game six after the Yankees triumphal three game sweep at the Stadium and all momentum was on the Yankees side.

      And look how you welcome him back.

    25. DonnieDosTresBaseball
      December 13th, 2006 | 2:41 pm

      Ya, remember Andy was *tipping his pitches*. It’s a tragedy that Mel couldnt help fix the problem, considering it was his job as pitching coach to do so. LOL

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