"I just couldn't throw strikes, no matter how I warmed up or how I felt with my offspeed pitches," Mussina said. "That just created the entire mess, more than just the first two guys getting walked. It was trying to make a correction over the plate instead of right on the corners. There wasn't even enough time to fully figure out what in the world was going on."
Mussina said his struggles were even more baffling at the time because he had thrown a good bullpen session before the start. Then again, Mussina said he also threw well under controlled conditions before allowing seven runs (six earned) to the Tigers on Aug. 16 at Yankee Stadium, meaning that perhaps his troubles lay elsewhere.
"It was mechanical and psychological," Mussina said. "I've got to figure out the right stuff to use. Whatever I was trying to use wasn't working anyway. I kind of had it both [ways]. No matter what I tried, it's not right."
The Tigers don't make the proposition any simpler as New York looks to avoid dropping its second consecutive series, hoping to salvage a split of a four-game series in Detroit. All-Star right-hander Justin Verlander, who beat Mussina on Aug. 16, will provide the opposition.
NYY: RHP Mike Mussina (8-9, 5.22 ERA)
Mussina is coming off an effort that matched the shortest outing of his Yankees career, having also pitched 1 2/3 innings on Sept. 27, 2005, at Baltimore. He has 247 career wins and needs one to tie Amos Rusie for 44th place on baseball's all-time list.
DET: RHP Justin Verlander (13-5, 3.94 ERA)
Verlander will be making his third career regular-season start against the Yankees. He is 1-0 with a 7.84 ERA lifetime against New York, having allowed nine runs in 10 1/3 innings. Verlander took a no-decision in the Tigers' Game 2 American League Division Series win against the Yankees last October.
Player to watch
Marcus Thames has four hits in seven at-bats against Mussina. He homered off Yankees rookie Phil Hughes in Sunday's matinee.
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Tuesday: Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka, 13-10, 3.76) at Yankees (Andy Pettitte, 11-7, 3.69), 7:05 p.m. ET
Wednesday: Red Sox (Josh Beckett, 16-5, 3.21) at Yankees (Roger Clemens, 5-5, 4.34), 7:05 p.m. ET
Thursday: Red Sox (Curt Schilling, 8-5, 4.11) at Yankees (Chien-Ming Wang, 15-6, 3.95), 1:05 p.m. ET