If there were Emmys in baseball, playing the Oakland Athletics surely would capture the Best Opportunity For Mike Mussina To Pick Up A Win category.
The Orioles ace, who boasts a 13-4 record with a 2.94 ERA, has enjoyed considerable success against the A's throughout his four-year career. This season, Mussina is undefeated in two starts with a 4.29 ERA against Oakland.
Tonight, Mussina gets another whack at the A's and his opposition is an unknown factor. Mike Mohler will be making his first 1994 appearance.
The Orioles right-hander gave up only one run and five hits in seven innings July 8 in a 13-3 win over the Athletics at Camden Yards. On April 25, Mussina surrendered six runs and eight hits in 7 2/3 innings, but was supported by eight runs from his teammates for an 8-6 win.
Last year, Mussina was just as dominant against Oakland. He was 2-0 with a 3.13 ERA. Lifetime against the A's, Mussina is 6-1 with a 3.16 ERA.
Some of the most feared Oakland sluggers have had their share of tribulations against Mussina. First baseman Mark McGwire has a woeful .167 average (1-for-6) with two strikeouts against Mussina. Right fielder Ruben Sierra is 7-for-29 for a .241 average. Center fielder Rickey Henderson has only four hits in 15 at-bats (.267) with two strikeouts.
Three A's batters, however, have fared well against Mussina. Stan Javier, who plays both center and left field, is batting a healthy .429 (3-for-7) off Mussina. Second baseman Steve Sax is 5-for-14 (.357), and catcher Terry Steinbach has four hits in 12 at-bats (.333).
Mussina has been on a three-game tear this past month. His last loss was a 6-1 setback at home against the American League East-leading New York Yankees June 16. Since then, Mussina has beaten Milwaukee, Toronto, and most recently California by a score of 14-7 on July 1 at Camden Yards.