Mike Mussina unfolded his career and spread it out for everyone to see yesterday.
“I’ve never had that ability (to dominate hitters with a fastball like Joba Chamberlain),” Mussina admitted. “But I’m still standing here 18 years later. I figured something out. I hope 18 years from now, Joba’s still standing here, too.”
Mussina has already pitched a lifetime in the Major Leagues and has the numbers to prove it: 251 wins and 2,670 strikeouts.
He has stood on the mound in plenty of big games. There were the seven shutout innings against Oakland in the 2001 American League Division Series and the game-saving relief effort against Boston in the 2003 American League Championship Series.
Mussina has won 18 games in a season three times and 19 games twice. He was one out from a perfect game, too.
None of that buys him anything in Chicago tonight.
“I have to go out there and prove that I can still pitch,” Mussina said. “I don’t mind getting pushed.”
No one pushes Mussina harder than he pushes himself. He is still standing in the big leagues because he has adapted to all the changes and overcome all the challenges. He knows exactly how he won every one of those 251 games and how he came up big in the playoffs against Oakland and Boston and everyone else.
He may be a different pitcher these days, but he’s still standing.