Sunday, April 25, 2010

Prime Pettitte

27 or 37? It's hard to tell how old Andy Pettitte is right now. The 16-yr veteran is pitching as well as he ever has. After dominating the Los Angeles Angeles over eight innings yesterday, the lefty now stands at 3-0, 1.29 this season.

Pettitte's 232nd career win (had he not left for three years, Pettitte would have been getting ready to pass Whitey Ford as the all-time winningest Yankees pitcher.) saw him strike out eight, scatter six hits and didn't walk a batter. For the season, Andrew Eugene Pettitte, as Michael Kay likes to refer to him, has 22 strikeouts and nine walks in 28 innings pitched. He's allowed just 21 hits and the American League is hitting just .216 off of him. Torii Hunter, for one, says he has never seen Pettitte look better.

Pettitte struggled with a bad elbow in his first year back in the Bronx in 2008, but his arm has been healthy since and it has paid dividends. Last season, Pettitte won 14 games and was on the mound for the clinching game in each round of the playoffs. He's been even better this year despite a spring training that was limited by poor weather.

“When I left spring training, I felt like all my pitches were right where I wanted them to be,” said Pettitte, who didn’t pitch in a preseason game until March 17. “The first couple of starts, my stamina wasn’t there. So I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to get off to the start I’ve gotten off to.

“Now the stamina is there. So hopefully, me missing all of spring training, as far as competition, will be a blessing in disguise and I’ll feel strong throughout the season,” Pettitte added. “My location’s been really good. I’m mixing my pitches up good, I’m moving the ball in and out, and my command’s been pretty good. Anytime you can do that, you’re going to be successful.”

Pettitte and the Yankees rotation has also benefited from the Yankees defense this season. Yesterday, Derek Jeter made his "Jeterian" leap in the hole between third and short. Ramiro Pena, playing third base so Alex Rodriguez could get some rest at DH, made a diving snare of a line drive. And Brett Gardner took advantage of some sloppy base running by throwing out Mike Napoli trying to go from first to third on a base hit to left field.

The Yankees went 12 games without an error before a miscue by Robinson Cano on Thursday ended the streak. Pettitte hopes to benefit from that defense when he makes his next start against the White Sox next weekend.


Robinson Cano had four hits on Saturday to boost his average back up to .369. He also continued his impressive start with runners in scoring position by delivering an RBI single in the fifth inning.
Brett Gardner's had three hits and is on an 11-24 (.458) streak. Francisco Cervelli is now 6-12 after delivering a 2-run single. Nick Johnson got the day off with a stiff back and may be out again today.

Click here for recap and box score of Saturday's game

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