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Game #116 -- New York Yankees at Cleveland Indians

New York Yankees

Johnny Damon,  LF
Derek Jeter,  SS
Bobby Abreu,  RF
Alex Rodriguez,  3B
Hideki Matsui,  DH
Robinson Cano,  2B
Melky Cabrera,  CF
Andy Phillips,  1B
Jose Molina,  C

Mike Mussina,  RHP  (7-7,  4.66)

Cleveland Indians

Grady Sizemore,  CF
Kenny Lofton,  LF
Victor Martinez,  1B
Ryan Garko,  DH
Jhonny Peralta,  SS
Casey Blake,  3B
Trot Nixon,  RF
Kelly Shopach,  C
Josh Barfield,  2B

Paul Byrd,  RHP  (10-4,  4.13)

Pete Abraham reports the initial plans with Joba Chamberlain and states the Yanks intend to give him a day off for every inning he pitches and limit him to roughly 35 pitches per two-inning stint.  The plan is to eventually have him work on back-to-back days once he gets accustomed to this role.

Mike Mussina is 10-9, 4.90 in 24 starts in his career against the Indians.  Paul Byrd is 1-3, 3.28 in 7 starts in his career against the Yanks.       

Moose is 5-4, 3.68 since 6/02 and has thrown a quality start (6.0 IP, 3 runs or less) in 8 of those 11 games.  Throw out one completely disastrous performance against TB on 7/20 (4.2 IP, 6 ER) and his ERA is down to 3.08 during that span.

Not trying to make excuses for Moose (he certainly doesn't need my help in that department) because he has unquestionably failed to meet expectations this year after a very good season in 2006.  However, the stats do prove that he has pitched considerably better over the last couple of months than he is generally given credit for among Yankee fans.  

One of his biggest shortcomings this season is that he isn't eating as many innings as he probably should and puts extra strain on the bullpen.  Nonetheless, I'll take those numbers over the last couple of months from my #4 or #5 starter and compare them to the rest of the league anytime.

The Yanks are 21-7 against the AL Central, but just 33-36 against the rest of the AL.  Go figure.

The featured graphic for tonight's game is the official team logo of the Cleveland Indians from 1946 to 1950.  Reminds me of a character from the old Bugs Bunny cartoons.