Friday, September 28, 2007

So, About That Game Four....

After Mike Mussina's performance Friday, I think it's about time Joe Torre seriously reconsiders his playoff rotation. From this morning:
Not to sound like a broken record, but if the Moose turns back the clock by shutting down a powerful Cleveland lineup, I will gladly eat my words. Until then, I truly believe the best strategy would involve kicking Mussina into the bullpen, and handing Phil Hughes the ball for Game 4.

Mussina better fits into the long reliever role, and is only an 85 mph fastball away from destroying a potential elimination game. This is not to say that the rookie is impenetrable, but I fear Hughes (whose stuff is probably at about 85%) much more than Moose at full strength. Seeing Phil mix in his changeup and slider with astonishing frequency Thursday illustrates the type of versatility he can show batters.
I'm still on the fence in terms of having him start game four of a divisional playoff series. Is it possible to come back from the horrible three game stretch Moose had in mid-August? Absolutely. Has his last three impressive starts erased his inability to hold a lead against Detroit last October? Absolutely not.
Obviously Friday's game wasn't played within the playoff bubble. It wasn't a "must win" by any stretch of the imagination. However, it is indicative of the type of atrocious appearance Moose can hand to the opposition. I still vote for Phil's stuff, over Mussina's experience. We saw last year's Detroit pitching staff, chock full of unexperienced young arms, dismember an offense categorized as "Murderer's Row plus Cano."



* Red Sox top pitching prospect, Clay Buchholz, will not pitch again this year due to "fatigue."

* Bronson Sardinha's middle name is "Kiheimahanaomauiakeo"

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