Mike Mussina was sharp in this game. Granted, the Blue Jays are not an offensive force. But, Moose was on for this one…it probably was his third best game pitched (so far) this season.
And, this morning, Yankees fans are pondering if this will be the season that Mussina finally wins 20 games. Heck, Moose is tied for the league lead in wins – so, why not have him start the All-Star Game for the A.L. this season? Better yet, let’s give him the A.L. Cy Young Award!
O.K., I’m being silly here…but, here’s something to consider about Mussina…in terms of stats.
The league is batting .286 against Mussina this year. What has saved Mike in 2008 is that he’s not walking anyone this season – really, at all. In 12 starts he’s only allowed 10 walks. That’s amazing. And, while he’s giving up homers – 9 to date – only three homers have come with runners on base.
That’s been the key to Mussina’s season to date: Not allowing walks or homers with runners on base. And, there’s something else: Extra rest. Check out these stats for Moose with respect to when he pitches:
Days Rest GS W L IP ERA 3 Days 1 1 0 5.0 7.20 4 Days 6 4 2 30.2 4.70 5 Days 4 3 1 20.0 2.70 6+ Days 1 0 1 5.2 4.76
On “normal” or short rest, Mussina pitches like the Mike Mussina that we saw last season – with an ERA near five. This season, when Mussina gets an extra day’s rest – meaning pitching on 5 days rest – he’s stellar. Hey, the numbers don’t lie here.
So, for Mike Mussina to keep doing what he’s been doing, he’s going to need three things this season: Keep his walks down, don’t allow homers with runners on, and get an extra day’s rest as much as possible. If this doesn’t happen, well, you can forget about that 20 win season…for starters.