Via Newsday -
Mussina looked in to Jose Molina for a sign and saw four – the catcher was holding up four fingers to signify an intentional walk ordered by Joe Girardi. To a rookie. In the fifth inning.
Mussina did what he was told and walked Jay Bruce, a lefthanded hitter with 90 big-league at-bats. But the next batter, righthanded-hitting Jolbert Cabrera, laced Mussina’s first pitch for a double down the leftfield line, driving in two runs.
Mussina did not rip Girardi after the game, but after an extra-long time in the trainer’s room, he made it clear how he felt about the failed strategy.
Would he have walked phenom Bruce, who was batting .322, to pitch to journeyman Cabrera, who was 2-for-2 at the time but had only 16 at-bats all season?
“Well, I didn’t get to choose,” Mussina said. “That was the path we chose. That was it.”
Later, asked if he would be able to put this one behind him, he said: “Maybe tomorrow. Tomorrow or the day after … The fifth inning bothers me.”
“Probably a couple things,” he said. “But I’m not going to elaborate on it.”
The decision to walk Bruce?
“You saw what I saw,” he said. “That’s it. Hold up four fingers, I throw four balls . . . I’m not talking about it.”
Seems like you already are, Moose.
Granted, when you look at Bruce over his last few games and ditto Cabrera, it does seem like Girardi was walking the slumping batter to face the hot one. But, it would be better if Mussina kept this between him and Joe…and not air this out in the open.