Chalk up another one for Pettitte

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Did anyone else get the feeling last night that Pettitte was on the verge of being hammered? I don’t know what it is, but it seems like every time he goes out there, I keep thinking that the hitters are going to catch on and start whaling him. But most of the time, he ends up just fine. Last night was no different, as he turned in a good performance, both in process and results. One run on six hits, two walks, and six strikeouts through seven innings is a damn good line. It’s especially good because he trotted out for the 7th while already over the 100-pitch mark.

Maybe it’s because Pettitte is such a damn nibbler nowadays. He sorta has to be, considering his diminished velocity. But a lot of his pitches out of the zone juuuust miss, leading to a lot of 2-0 and 3-1 counts. Normally, we see pitchers hammered when they get into a lot of those. But it’s not like Pettitte is missing by a lot; he has good enough control to come right back in there and throw you a strike. And he’ll hit a corner while doing it, too.

This goes some distance in explaining his poor outings in late June and July. If he has a start where he’s not hitting his corners, he’s going to get rocked like he did against the A’s. In that kind of scenario, if he tries to throw a strike to a corner on a 2-0 count, he might miss and hit the batter’s hot zone.

But even if he’s off, he can still compensate and give you some good innings because his secondary stuff keeps hitters off time. Yeah, his cutter might not be working, but his curve and change do just fine. That might not work for seven innings, but he can keep you in the game for five or six in those instances, which is far more than a guy like, say, Moose can do at this point. If Moose isn’t on, he’s getting rocked. If Pettitte isn’t on, he might get rocked.

This is why he’s so invaluable to the 2007 team, especially now that the players are hitting to their capabilities. On an “on” day, Pettitte can give you seven or eight strong innings. On an “off” day, he might give up seven or eight runs, or he might give up three or four through five or six innings. That gives the offense room to win the game, which simply wasn’t happening earlier in the season

In other notes from last night: Wasn’t Jeter’s homer really freakin’ sweet? Pitch Jeter outside and that’s what he can do to you. Pitch him inside and he’ll rip a double down the third base line. Pitch around him and he’ll take a walk. This is why I feel he should be our leadoff guy, with Damon batting ninth. A man can dream, no?

Today is a big game. Too many times recently the Yanks have taken the first two of a series, or the first three in the cases of Toronto and Kansas City, and failed to finish the sweep. Yeah, two of three and three of four are nice, but when you have a chance for a sweep, you gotta finish them off. Good teams do that. Mediocre teams don’t. This game will go a long way in defining what kind of team the Yanks will be from here on out.

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A trade of Damon makes perfect sense
  • Zack

    With the way Cash is talking about the big three (Hughes, Joba, and Kennedy…for now), combined with Pettitte’s seemingly Chacon-style inexplicable survival, it really seems like they are planning on going forth without Andy next season, huh? I know its really up to him, but I am sure if the Yanks kind of hinted to him that it was time to move on, he’d back out of the option. I love Andy, and I would rather see him on the team than Moose, but I don’t think Moose leaves unless he is traded, and who would trade for him without the Yanks’ picking up the contract?

    All this to say that I feel more comfortable with a healthy Joba than Pettitte next year. Of course, we’ll see what Joe does to Joba’s arm…

  • Count Zero

    I feel the same way about watching Pettitte pitch — looks like a disaster waiting to happen. But you’re right — at this point he would be next in line after Wang as “Pitcher you most want to start in a game we must win.”

    Amen on the sweep. We can’t let the WC gap go right back to 3…keep the pressure on the Tribe, baby!

  • C-Note

    Very good points Joseph P — Pettitte doesn’t miss by a lot and he battles through games- something the versions of Kevin Brown, Javier Vazquez, and Randy Johnson that we had did not do, something MOOSE doesn’t do, and a quality that has been missed

    Very excited to have the young players around ANDY for the rest of this year and hopefully next year as well to show them how it’s done fron a guy who’s won a ton of bid games, has taken care of his body, and has never embarrassed the team off the field

    The point about jeter is very valid, can still remember him leading off that WS game against the METS with a homer and basically ending the series right there(ahh, the good old days)

    while today’s game is important you might be overstating it a bit that it’ll go a long way to show what kind of team we are and if we lose we are Mediocre– it would be great to get the sweep and more importantly beat a decent pitcher (with the streach of playing many “good” teams between Aug 10th & aug 30th we’ll see a lot more quality pitchers than we’ve been seeing)

    But since the start of the Minn, series that Yanks are 21 & 8, with both Clev & Detroit in freefall and me not a great beiever in Seattle and think the Yanks should be odds on favorite for the Wild card. we have a 44 year old pitcher throwing a day game in the middle of a heat wave- if we win, great, if not lets just kick the hell out of KC this weekend

  • Mike

    Andy does keep you on the edge of your seat, but he’s a winner and more often than not he gets the job done.

    I don’t necessarily think the Yanks are hinting that Andy should go, I think they’d welcome him next year, especially considering that his salary really isn’t that bad compared to the rest of baseball.

    I know Hughes, Joba & Kennedy have all the potential in the world, but I’d be pretty surprised if the New York frickin’ Yankees started the year with basically 3 rookies in the rotation. I’m sure that those 3 will be holding down rotation spots by the middle of the year, but to start the year? That’s asking alot.

    I have a feeling there will be alot of Moose rumors next deadline, especially since he’ll have an expiring contract. It’s pretty cool that the Yanks could conceivably trade him, then plug in another young pitcher with gobs of potential. The Yanks pitching depth in the minors is just insane.

  • Stephen

    I’m with Mike on this one, I don’t see the Yanks starting next year with three virtual rookies. The rotation will most likely be Wang, Hughes, Pettitte, Moose, and Joba. I would expect to see Kennedy by mid-season. Of course the rotation could look very different if they decide to shell out the money for someone like Zambrano, however I don’t think this will happen.