A 247-game winner, Mussina's 2007 campaign has been pockmarked with losses (10 of them) and, more troubling, a feeling of being lost on the mound, not believing that anything positive will happen when he releases the baseball.
Those feelings and Mussina's negative mindset have dissipated, though, as he appeared more comfortable in a 3 2/3-inning relief appearance backing up a faltering Roger Clemens on Sept. 3 against Seattle. Wednesday will mark Mussina's first start since an ill-fated Aug. 27 assignment at Detroit, when he lasted just three innings and allowed six runs in a 16-0 drubbing by the Tigers. Torre said his stamina should not be affected even given the long layoff from starting.
"I still think he's the same as he would be if he never came out of the rotation," Torre said. "I think 100 pitches are certainly reasonable. I don't think he's been away long enough for that to be a situation."
The Blue Jays counter with right-hander Dustin McGowan, coming off a career-high 12 strikeouts over eight innings vs. Tampa Bay to pick up his second consecutive win. He has pitched seven innings or more in his past three starts.
NYY: RHP Mike Mussina (8-10, 5.51 ERA)
Mussina will try once again for that elusive win No. 248, which would tie him with Amos Rusie for 44th place on baseball's all-time list. He will be facing Toronto for the first time in 2007, but he will be making his 500th career appearance and 39th start against the Jays, against whom he has logged 21 of his wins.
TOR: RHP Dustin McGowan (10-8, 3.90 ERA)
McGowan isn't intimidated by the Yankees. He faced them on July 19 at Yankee Stadium and twirled seven innings of two-run ball, scattering four hits while walking three and striking out three. In his career against New York, he is 2-0 with a 3.97 ERA in seven games (three starts).
Player to watch
Derek Jeter is 5-for-11 (.455) lifetime vs. McGowan.
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Official game notes
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Thursday: Yankees (Ian Kennedy, 1-0, 2.25) at Blue Jays (A.J. Burnett, 8-7, 3.56), 7:07 p.m. ET
Friday: Yankees (Andy Pettitte, 13-8, 3.78) at Red Sox (Daisuke Matsuzaka, 14-12, 4.44), 7:05 p.m. ET
Saturday: Yankees (Chien-Ming Wang, 18-6, 3.29) at Red Sox (Josh Beckett, 18-6, 3.27), 3:55 p.m. ET