Tuesday, March 31, 2009

More on Mussina's career

Recently, I started the Moose retrospective by comparing him with contemporary Curt Schilling. Mine was a relatively simple and cursory view of the two pitchers. Now, I want to point you in two related directions, which really highlights how good a derivative thread can be.

First, to Lar at Wezen-ball, who takes a great look at Moose through the years, with his conclusion:

As we all know, Mussina never ended up winning his Cy Young award. His highest finish was in 1999, when he finished second behind Pedro Martinez's line of 23-4, 313 strikeouts, 2.07 ERA (243 ERA+). Despite that, Moose had a great career. For those first 10 years of his career, when he was still with Baltimore, he was clearly regarded as one of the top pitchers in the American League, a notch below Clemens, Pedro, and Johnson, maybe, but still top tier. His strong ERA+ and fantastic won-loss record (as overrated as it can be at times) and his frequent placement in the Cy Young results all help support this.
Then, in response to something that Lar had to say, The Common Man wanted to weigh in, too, and does so quite nicely.
In addition, the relative stability of his homerun rate could be a result of moving from a good homerun park (Oriole Park at Camden Yards) to a more difficult one (Yankee Stadium). Like most pitchers, as he aged Mike Mussina had to survive by pitching more to contact.

And given the state of the Yankees defense, perhaps this was exactly the wrong time for Mussina to have to make this adjustment. In his prime, up the middle in Baltimore, Mussina had Ripkens (plural), Harold Reynolds, Mike Devereaux, Robbie Alomar, Brady Anderson, and Mike Bordick, all players with excellent defensive repuations. Meanwhile, as a Yankee, he's had Soriano, Jeter, Miguel Cairo, an aging Bernie Williams, Robinson Cano, Johnny Damon, and Melky Cabrera. Defense has not been a hallmark of the Yankees of late, and Mussina's shift in pitching strategy seemed destined to lead to more basehits.
This is the beauty of the blogosphere when it works properly and doesn't get weighed down in snarky comments and insults. One idea gives birth to several more, each growing in layers. (A Moose pearl, if you will!)

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