I think we’re all agreed that (per Geren’s deployment of Casilla for 2 innings on Wednesday) there really aren’t any “must-win” games, or series, in June. And I personally am in the camp that doesn’t really believe in “momentum” in baseball, neither in-game nor game-to-game. And given the condition of the A’s roster, simply remaining competitive against top teams is an achievement. And the Yankees are scuffling nearly as badly as the A’s right now.
All that being said, however … I have an ominous feeling about this series, starting with the pitching matchup tonight.
Despite the fact that Mussina is having a down year, he’s still a very smart pitcher who, if his control is on, can effectively pitch to hitters’ weaknesses. And, boy, do A’s hitters have some weaknesses—especially against Mussina. A’s starters are a collective .234/.271/.430 vs Moose—and Crosby has never faced him. (Stewart, oddly enough, has pretty decent career numbers vs Mussina; take Stewart out of the equation, and the A’s lineup is a collectively Kendallesque .212/.243/.404 against Mussina.)
Meanwhile, Kennedy has some fugly career numbers against Jeter and Posada (and has been getting murdered by righties all this year), while he’s been pretty successful against the Yanks’ current lefties.
Then again, it’s baseball, and anything can happen.