Mar 18, 2007

Mussina and Giambi

Mussina's best outing of the spring so far - five shutout innings. The offense had one big inning (seven runs in the 4th) and one big hit (Giambi's grand slam), and that was all they needed.

Moose had good command of all his pitches, and mixed them well. I only saw one curveball, but several sliders (more than he normally uses) and the usual assortment of changeups and knuckle-curves did the job. His fastball topped out at 88, but it was effective due to location and hitters' respect for the offspeed stuff.

The Yanks started an innocuous rally with Phelps on 1st: Cano grounded softly up the middle, the second-baseman bobbled it and missed nailing Phelps as he slid into 2b. Melky followed with an RBI single, Damon walked, Jeter walked, and up came Giambi. He somehow crushed a high and inside 90 MPH fastball over the RF wall. I thought it was going foul for sure, but Giambi's (hopefully) natural strength is so great he kept it from hooking foul.

Off-topic thought:
Does it seem like pitchers throughout baseball are throwing a bit softer during this ST? Pettitte has barely cracked 90. Wang, Farnsworth and Rivera have been in the low 90s. Even Joel Zumaya was throwing (relatively) slower - I don't remember him cracking 97 when he faced the Yanks. Jon Papelbon didn't top 92 (in his last outing) when he was hitting 98 last year. Is it something with the radar guns? Is it that pitchers are still building arm strength? Are pitcher's holding back because it's only spring? I expect the latter two are true; so come opening day, watch for a jump in velocity.

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