As I stared at the…thing…on Bobby Jenks’ chin, I could only think about the many positives that came out of the Yankee’s win tonight over the White Sox:
Mike Mussina: What an outing for Mussina, who passed Bob Gibson on the all-time wins list after pitching 7 strong innings with 4 H and 2 ER! Both runs were off solo home runs. With Mussina’s clear drop in velocity (his fastball was at about 82 mph), home runs are to be expected. The key is what happened tonight; he allowed only one walk and was able to pitch out of trouble when necessary. As David Cone mentioned in the YES postgame, Mussina was able to spot his fastball well, which enabled him to come back from counts he fell behind on. With a change-up in the low 60s and a nasty breaking ball, Mussina was able to fool batter after batter into soft pop outs. Yankee fans certainly should not expect a 7 inning gem like this one, every time Mussina takes the ball but his approach (and credit Posada for calling a good game) will hopefully be something he can build on.
Jorge Posada: The other half of the battery had a great night tonight as well. As previously mentioned, Posada called a great game. Mussina rarely shook off a sign and mixed his pitches effectively. Not to mention, he went 4-5 with 3 doubles and raised his average to .304. Posada was so in-tune with the game that he even knew to keep Mussina in to finish the 7th inning when Joe Girardi raised his hand to make a pitching change.
Johnny Damon: Production out of Damon is crucial to the Yankee success. In his final year with the Red Sox, Damon scored some 70% of the time he got on base. His deceptive power and ability to hit the ball to any part of the ball park makes him a great lead-off hitter, as we saw tonight (2-5, 2R, 2 RBIs). His on base percentage is up to .357 – let’s hope it stays there (In 2004, Damon had a .380 OBP)
All that needs to be sorted out now is our relief pitching. I look forward to Misconduct telling some stories about Kyle Farnsworth soon.