Let’s be honest here. If the Yankees owed Mike Mussina $3 million for this season instead of $11 million, he might have been polishing one of his cars back in Pennsylvania tonight instead of pitching against the Blue Jays.
But his contract gave him a chance to make the team and he earned his way. Now he’s 9-4 with a 4.01 ERA. He has lost once since April 23.
â€œItâ€™s a great game and itâ€™s a frustrating game and itâ€™s a strange game all at the same time,â€ said Mussina after win No. 259. â€œA lot of people assumed that my best stuff was behind me. Granted, I donâ€™t throw the ball 90 miles an hour any more. I know that. But I still know how to pitch.â€
The Yankees should sit Joba, Phil and Ian in a room and have them watch every pitch Mussina threw tonight. It was a clinic on hitting spots, changing speeds and working efficiently.
Credit also to Joe Girardi, who has used Mussina twice beyond the sixth inning. At 39, Mussina doesn’t have a bottomless tank. The Yankees are getting everything they can out of him and ensuring he’ll have more to give in the second half.
Derek Jeter doesn’t get much involved in contemplating where is stands in baseball history. But when your name is behind only Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth on the “Most hits by a Yankee” list, that’s not something you can easily dismiss.
â€œMy name doesnâ€™t fit up there,” he said. “It sounds funny, doesnâ€™t it? Just playing on the same team as those guys is pretty special.”
Jeter is 102 hits away from catching the Bambino. A reporter told him he has a great shot to do it this season.
“All I want is a shot at McGowan tomorrow,” he said.