From Newsday -
Mike Mussina’s back-to-back awful outings are not simply being taken in stride by the Yankees.
Pitching coach Ron Guidry acknowledged, “Yeah, I’m concerned.” And manager Joe Torre hinted that Mussina must pitch better to stay in the rotation.
Mussina has given up seven runs in consecutive starts, and did so in only 1 2/3 innings in Tuesday night’s loss to the Angels. When Torre was asked if Mussina would absolutely remain in the rotation, he said yesterday afternoon: “We’re going to talk. After his next start we’re going to talk … The ability to pitch and pitch well is there somewhere. We just need to get it out.”
Guidry said Mussina had not told him anything that would make him believe he was hurt. And Torre said that in a chat in his office, Mussina was baffled at his struggles because he said his arm felt so good.
Even though Mussina had not complained of any physical problems, and even said he was fine after his last start, Guidry wondered if there might be something wrong. He wondered aloud if something Mussina believed was a minor ailment, such as a tired arm or a tinge of soreness, was lurking beneath the surface. Perhaps, Guidry said, there was something wrong that Mussina believed he could pitch through and has not been able to.
One person asked Torre if a comparison could be made between Mussina, 38, and David Cone in 2000 at age 37. Cone went 4-14 that year with a 6.91 ERA, after going 12-9 with a 3.44 ERA in 1999. Mussina is 8-9 with a 5.22 ERA, after going 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA last season.
“That’s a good question,” Torre said. “I hadn’t thought about it, but you could probably do that. One thing about talking to Coney, and same thing with Mike, is they’re realistic about everything.”
That, Torre said, means Mussina realizes that the club can ill afford many more outings like the one he turned in Tuesday night. The Yankees are in the midst of a pennant race, and need every win they can get.
“I did more than struggle today,” Mussina said Tuesday night. “Going into September, I can’t be pitching like this.”