Mussina has been the Yankees’ ace of late, allowing three runs or less in five of his last six starts. However, the 36-year-old right-hander is just 2-1 over that span.
New York’s lack of offense in Mussina’s starts reared its head on Friday as he allowed just three runs over eight strong innings, but ended up on the short end of a 4-1 defeat to the Los Angeles Angels.
“That could have been as gutty a performance as we’ve seen all year from him,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said. “He dug in. We had plenty of opportunities tonight to score some runs, but we came away empty.”
The Yankees, who dropped Tuesday’s series opener to the Indians 6-5, have scored a combined six runs in Mussina’s last three starts.
Mussina had one of his finest games of the season against Cleveland on July 7 at Yankee Stadium, allowing only two runs over seven innings in a 7-2 victory.
The Yankees and Indians are three and 4 1/2 games behind Oakland, respectively, in the race for the AL wild card.