From Peter Abraham -
That Mike Mussina would get removed from the rotation after a string of poor starts was no surprise. That a 22-year-old will be inserted into the heat of a pennant race was.
Mussina is out and right-hander Ian Kennedy will start against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Saturday.
“This was very difficult for me,” said manager Joe Torre, who broke the news to Mussina before last night’s 5-3 victory against the Red Sox. “We’ve counted on this guy every year for as long as he’s been here.”
Mussina left without speaking to reporters, his career at a crossroads after 247 victories over 17 seasons.
But the Yankees had little choice. Mussina is 8-10 with a 5.53 ERA. The 38-year-old right-hander has lost his last three starts, allowing 19 earned runs and 25 hits in 9 2/3 innings.
Speaking of listening, I heard Ron Guidry on X-M Radio (MLB Home Plate) this morning talking about Mussina. Gator said that Moose’s issue is about not following a game plan that he needs to follow to be successful. He said that Mike broke from the plan against the Angels and the Tigers.
Gator mentioned the first batter of the Tigers’ game – Curtis Granderson. He said that Mussina was told that Granderson handles the fastball well and has problems with breaking pitches. But, Guidry said, when Moose had Granderson, 0-2, to start the game, he threw him a fastball instead of a curve and Granderson singled to center. And, that it just kept rolling, downhill, from there.
Basically, Gator said that Mussina needs to realize that he’s a breaking ball pitcher and not a fastball pitcher…and that Moose needs to work from a game plan that plays into that model.
Pretty telling stuff, if you ask me. Sounds like Mussina and the Yankees are not on the same page.
At the least, I expect Ian Kennedy to throw whatever signal Posada flashes on Saturday.