If Mike Mussina can pitch the Yankees to victory tonight, it will be their 6th straight win and their sixth straight series victory. It will also guarantee that they keep up their .750 pace at least through Kansas City. The truth of the matter is that the Yankees will not be able to maintain such a pace for the remaining two months of the season. But the longer they can keep it up now, the better of they’ll be when they fall off of the pace.
Last night, Wang didn’t look as smooth and dominant as I had expected, but he looked good enough to earn his 11th win. He’s on pace for another great season. The offense, though, was as smooth and dominant as we have come to expect over the last few days, scoring 9 more runs. That’s now 63 runs they’ve scored during this 5-game win streak. In case you haven’t yet done the math, it’s 12.6 runs per game. This is another pace that the team won’t be able to keep up. But again, the longer they keep it going now, the better off they’ll be later.
The aforementioned Mike Mussina is on the mound tonight against Gil Meche. Moose has struggled of late. IN his last 3 starts, he’s 0-2 with a 6.47 ERA. On a positive note, Moose has struck out 10 and walked only 5 in those 3 games. Last time out, Friday’s loss to Tampa Bay, Moose started strong by strriking out the side, but then fought location problems for the next 3 2/3, giving up a total of 6 runs and 7 hits in a game the Yankees went on to lose 14-4. His pitching over these last three games is really indicative of Mussina’s season so far. He’s been making too many mistakes and hasn’t been able to consistently give the Yankees quality starts. He’s been pitching just good enough to survive. I guess in the end, a pitcher that keep you in most games is good…but for the number 5 slot. Moose has essentially been put in the 4-hole of the rotation, but I suspect he would be the fifth starter if/when Phil Hughes returns in the coming weeks.
Speaking of Hughes, I believe I read that he pitched 6 shutout innings and struck out a bunch of guys for Scranton/Wilkes Barre last night. Apparently he needs 1 or 2 more rehab starts because of his low pitch count. I bet if he puts in one more solid start and it’s accompanied by another bad outing from Igawa (or even Mussina) we see Hughes next week against Chicago. If my count is correct he’ll make his nex start Sunday and would be ready for next Thursday. We’ll see.
Back to tonight’s game, the Yankees will face Gil Meche. Meche was a pretty high-profile signing during the offseason. Mostly high-profile becuase the Royals were paying him way more than he was worth. During his last 3 starts, Meche is 2-0, but his ERA is also quite high during that period at 6.00 (12 runs in 18 innings). In his career, Meche is 3-2 with a 3.88 ERA against the Yankees in 9 games.
This is a tough one to call for me. I know Meche has the ability to pitch very well. He’s done it this year. His ERA was at 3.00 or lower as late as mid-June. This could very well be a trap game for the Yankees. One that they feel is a must-win because Igawa pitches tomorrow so they press a little too much and aren’t able to give Moose the support he needs. I really hope that isn’t the case and the Yankees are able to keep the momentum rolling.