One day before the Boston Red Sox come to town for an AL East showdown that could determine the playoff fates of both teams, Mike Mussina got utterly dominated by the Detroit Tigers last night in a 16-0 loss for the Yankees. Mussina lasted three innings and gave up six runs on nine hits just as the Yankees needed a strong pitching outing to go against Justin Verlander, who went seven innings and gave up only three hits.
For all intents and purposes, it appears that Mussina has lost his job in the starting rotation. He has given up 19 earned runs in his last three starts and his ERA has ballooned to 5.53 to go along with an 8-10 record. Despite 247 career wins, which puts him fifth on the active list behind Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Randy Johnson, Mussina simply appears lost on the mound and he could very well find himself in the bullpen moving forward.
It too bad that the Yankees had to bring Joba Chamberlain up to fill a void in the Bullpen, as he would have been an easy replacement for the troubled alces alces. Another option appears to be Kei Igawa, who somehow looks like an ace next to Mussina right now. Regardless of who it is, the upcoming series with the Red Sox will make or break the Yankees’ playoff hopes.
Even with a three-game sweep, in which the Yankees have to beat Daisuke Matsuzaka (Dice-K for those in New England), Josh Beckett and Curt Schilling, the Bombers can only pull within 5 games of the Red Sox, with three more games left against the division leader after this up-coming series.
To make matters worse, Yankees left fielder Hideki Matsui is hurting as he struggles through right knee pain. In order to keep his bat in the lineup as the DH, Jason Giambi has been getting more games at first base, which is always an adventure anytime a ball is hit his way. Regardless, the Yankees need to show some fight in this series and absolutely MUST win at least two of the three games to stay competitive.
Luckily for the Yankees, the Seattle Mariners also lost last night, which means the Wild Card deficit remained at two games. However, if the Yankees continue to play like they did on their 2-5 road trip, the Wild Card will be as much of a possibility as winning the division.