(2006) Mike Mussina and Derek Jeter Lead Yankees Last Night in Beating Tampa Bay

Mike Mussina pitched another gem in beating Tampa Bay last night, 9-1. He was in complete command and earns +.35 points. The only drawback was that he only pitched one batter into the seventh inning. No problem. It gave Tanyon Sturtze (+.05), Ron Villone (+.05), and Scott Proctor (+.05), who pitched one inning apiece, opportunities to contribute and stay sharp.

Yankees Bullpen Could Be a Strength

As a sidebar to the game last night, I like what I see in the Yankees bullpen so far this season, and the bullpen should only get better when Octavio Dotel joins the staff later this spring. Proctor looks like he has made real improvement and is learning how to harness and utilize his ability. His fastball looks much more effective after he throw a couple of off-speed curveballs and hitters are not sitting on the fastball.

Villone looks reliable, stout. Mike Myers looks like a fantastic addition and will do a great job against left-handed hitters in key situations. Sturtze and Kyle Farnsworth have been a little shaky but have the potential to be key contributors. Matt Smith provides another left-handed option, and Aaron Small will be coming off the Disabled List shortly.

All this, and Mariano Rivera closing. It could be one of the best bullpens in baseball if set up correctly, and Joe Torre is brilliant at distributing bullpen roles when he has reliable relievers with whom to work.

Offensively, last night, Derek Jeter (+.15) continues to give indications he may be headed for his greatest season. He hit a 2-run homer in the first inning to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead, later added a single and double, scored 3 runs, and had 3 RBI’s. Behind him as offensive stars were Jason Giambi (+.10) and Johnny Damon (+.10). Giambi walked in the first inning and came around to score, making it, 3-1, hit a 2-run double in the sixth to ice the game, and also had a sacrifice fly, single, and 3 RBI’s, and Damon, who walked and scored on Jeter’s first-inning homer, also had a sacrifice fly, reached base 3 times, and scored 2 runs.

(2006) Mike Mussina and Derek Jeter Lead Yankees Last Night in Beating Tampa Bay

Each receiving +.05 points were Gary Sheffield (1 hit, 1 run, 1 RBI), Alex Rodriguez (2 hits, 1 walk), and Miguel Cairo (2 doubles, 1 walk, 1 run).

Game points were distributed as follows:
Mike Mussina +.35
Derek Jeter +.15
Jason Giambi +.10
Johnny Damon +.10
Gary Sheffield +.05
Alex Rodriguez +.05
Miguel Cairo +.05
Tanyon Sturtze +.05
Ron Villone +.05
Scott Proctor +.05

The Yankees are now 10-8 for the season. Points earned for the season so far are as follows:
Mike Mussina +.85
Jason Giambi +.60
Derek Jeter +.45
Jorge Posada +.40
Alex Rodriguez +.25
Johnny Damon +.20
Mike Myers +.20
Randy Johnson +.15
Hideki Matsui +.15
Miguel Cairo +.10
Ron Villone +.10
Tanyon Sturtz +.05
Kelly Stinnett 0.00
Mariano Rivera -.05
Shawn Chacon -.05
Andy Phillips -.05
Bernie Williams -.10
Robinson Cano -.10
Scott Proctor -.15
Gary Sheffield -.15
Kyle Farnsworth -.20
Chien-Ming Wang -.25
Jaret Wright -.40

Points for the season add up to +2.00, reflecting the Yankees current record (10-8) being two games above the .500 mark.