Thus far, the veteran right-hander hasn’t been able to live up to that billing.
Still looking for his first dominant effort of the season, Mussina will take the mound against the Chicago White Sox as the Yankees try to complete a three-game sweep at U.S. Cellular Field.
Mussina, the lone remaining member of the postseason rotation that pitched New York into the World Series last October, won his first seven decisions in 2003. However, this season has been a different story for one of the most consistent pitchers in the majors over the previous 12 years.
Mussina has surrendered at least four runs in each of his first four outings, including Saturday’s 5-2 loss in Boston, where he yielded four runs and seven hits over five innings.
Mussina, noted for his excellent control, walked four, hit a batter to force in a run and struck out only two, throwing 59 of his 99 pitches for strikes.
“I’m not injured, so you just have to keep going out there and fighting,” Mussina said.
Mussina did beat the White Sox for his only win, 5-4 on April 11. However, the right-hander was hardly sharp, giving up four runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings, striking out six and walking two.
Rodriguez, who entered the series with just eight hits in 50 at-bats, went 1-for-3 and is 4-for-9 in the first two games.
Carlos Lee homered for Chicago, which had won five of six before the Yankees came to town.