WHERE would the New York Yankees be without the Mo and Moose show?
In a season where, so far, the negatives have far outweighed the positives, perhaps we should pay tribute to the two veterans who have kept our team in the ball game.
Mariano Rivera, along with Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, is an automatic pick for the 2008 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium on July 15. Now, after recording his ninth win of the season, Mike Mussina could possibly be joining them.
Rivera continues to build his legacy as the greatest closer the sport of baseball has ever season. In 26.0 innings this season, he has allowed 11 hits and one run for a ridiculous ERA of 0.35.
His cutter has just as much cut as ever; his two-seam fastball still freezes batters. He’s getting them out on both sides of the plate.
There were those who thought age was finally catching up with him when he made a shaky start to last season.
But, at 38, he looks better than ever, which is good news for the Yankees after they rewarded him with a three-year contract worth $45 million.
Mussina defies the critics who claimed he was finished
While Rivera’s peerless performances will come as no surprise to baseball aficionados, Mussina’s resurgence is a completely different story.
Mussina, 39, entered the final year of his contract as the man most likely to make way for Joba Chamberlain and the other young guns. When he started the season 1-3, it looked only a matter of time before he was dropped from the rotation.
Instead, he’s been the man riding shotgun as the youngsters have fallen by the wayside.
Wily old Moose reached eight wins before the start of June for the first time in his 17-year career and was again exemplary in last night’s 5-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, which snapped a three-game losing skid.
When the Yankees have desperately needed a win, it’s been Mussina – rather than Chien-Ming Wang or Andy Pettitte – who has come up with it.
Last night may have belonged to Derek Jeter, whose 2,416th hit of his 14-year career moved him ahead of Mickey Mantle into third place on the Yanks’ all-time list.
Mussina, however, was undoubtedly the Man of the Match. When the Yankees really needed a pitching performance, Moose produced the goods.