Yet again, Andy not so dandy

Miranda called up
Joba, Kennedy headed to winter ball?

Andy Pettitte‘s next start will be the final game at Yankee Stadium. I’m beginning to think it might be Pettitte’s last start at the stadium as well.

The lefty’s losing ways continued last night as the Yanks dropped a game to the White Sox, 6-2. With 11 games left in the season, they are ten games out of first place and nine out of the Wild Card. In a few days, the Yankees will officially miss the playoffs for the first time since there were no playoffs in 1994. It is a shocking reality.

But back to Pettitte. Since July 31, Pettitte has been nothing short of terrible. In ten starts, he’s 1-7 with a 6.45 ERA. In 60 innings, he’s given up 80 hits while walking 21 and striking out 48. He’s pitching to a Ponsonian WHIP of 1.68, and many of those baserunners are coming around to score.

Through the end of July, Pettitte was 12-7 with a 3.76 ERA. He’s now 13-14. He’s set a career high in losses and is facing the prospects of his first losing season. Even worse than his numbers, though, is he stuff. Watching him toil through six innings today, I could see that Pettitte just didn’t have it. He couldn’t get righties out, and his pitches weren’t confounding left-handed hitters either.

A few months ago, word got around that Pettitte may have been injured. But, as with Derek Jeter, A-Rod, Jorge Posada and Johnny Damon, Pettitte is one of those players who won’t sit out, who won’t take himself out, who won’t give up on his team. It’s an admirable trait, but he hasn’t been able to help the team since July. Something’s going on, and we don’t know what it is.

So as the Yankees gear up for a major off-season in which the Front Office could decide to cut ties with many long-time Yankees, Andy Pettitte is going to have to convince the Yankee brass that he, if hurt, can and wants to come back. He’s going to have to convince himself too that he can come back.

Andy Pettitte made his Major League debut at Yankee Stadium on April 29, 1995. It was the third game of the strike-shortened season, and he threw 0.2 innings in relief, allowing two runs on three hits. Gary Gaetti, Greg Gagne and Phil Hiatt put together a mini-rally that pushed Pettitte from the game. The Yanks would go on to win anyway.

On Sunday night, Pettitte will receive the ultimate honor of throwing the final first pitch at the House that Ruth Built, and as his body wears down on him, as he ages, he could be facing the reality of a life without baseball. Sunday’s game would be a fitting end for Pettitte. I hope he’s up for the task.

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  • dan

    I hope that, regardless of the situation, Rivera finishes the game. They’re going to have to force people to leave the stadium once it ends.

  • Patrick T

    I don’t think there is anyway Rivera doesn’t finish that game.

  • ortforshort

    If Pettitte wants to come back, the Yankees should make the offer. Pettitte always finishes strong so his second half performance was doubly damaging as he was expected to lead the charge into the playoffs as he’s done many times before. The injury theory sounds about right to me. It explains a lot. I’d like to see him back next year, injury free. He would be a real asset.

  • RustyJohn

    “Ponsonian”? I like that- I think I will use it around the office every time I suck.

  • iYankees

    There’s something wrong with his shoulder. There hasn’t been any detailed information released and this isn’t breaking news or anything, but he’s definitely dealing with a sore or tired shoulder.

    Here’s a link:

    http://www.nypost.com/seven/09.....129248.htm

    • Steve

      I’m one of those hoping Andy returns over Mussina, but a bad shoulder does give you pause. Hopefully its nothing serious because if it is, his career would very likely be over.

  • radnom

    I bet he steps it up.

  • Yankees=warriors

    I hope Andy gathers whatever he has left and really put out a good performance for that last game. It would be a huge disappointment if the last game at the old YS weren’t a win.

  • Josh

    I agree with ortforshort, if the reason for his woes is really injury-related, why not offer him another one year deal? He doesn’t have a Pavano- or Wright- or Burnett-like injury history. The kids, collectively, aren’t producing as much as we had hoped yet so I’m all for offering him a one year deal. Furthermore, we all saw what Mussina did this year after imploding last year. I also read that Andy’s offseason regiment this past offseason wasn’t as intense as years past so maybe that’s a mistake that he made this year. Even though Maddux isn’t what he used to be, the wealth of knowledge that everyone (not just the young guys) gains from him is hardly a commodity. As we’ve seen, some of the kids need some maturing and Andy can certainly help that cause. Lastly, if we land CC, I think our rotation can be pretty fearsome with two lefties and a healthy Wang and a healthy Joba (whenever he gets into the rotation).

    • Count Zero

      “I agree with ortforshort, if the reason for his woes is really injury-related, why not offer him another one year deal?”

      In what Bizarro world does this statement make sense? Conversation at the Yankees’ winter meeting:

      “Should we try to sign Andy to another one year deal for $16MM?”

      “What?!? He was awful in the second half! He was Ponsonian!”

      “Yeah. but he was injured. Shoulder problems.”

      “Oh, OK then. If he was having shoulder problems, then we should definitely bring him back at age 37 because he’s sure to be better. Meanwhile, let’s stick the 22 year old with a shoulder problem in the bullpen because there’s no way he can be a starter with his medical history.”

      “Agreed. Next up — should we re-sign Jason?”

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

        … OR,

        “Should we try to sign Andy to another one year deal for $16MM?”

        “What?!? He was awful in the second half! He was Varitekian!”

        “Yeah. but he was injured. Shoulder problems.”

        “Oh… well, is it serious and degenerative, like Hideki’s knees, or is is something that could be cleared up with some rest and rehab, like, say, Joba’s shoulder?”

        “Well, let’s have him take a thorough physical and let’s see. Andy’s always been a standup guy for us, the HGH thing notwithstanding… he really wants to come back and play for us, maybe if the medical reports show no structural damage, we could kick him, say, 12M on a one year to shore up the back end of the rotation? I mean, with bringing CC on board and getting the Wanger and Joba back, we should have solid top three, but Andy would still be a great one-year insurance policy while we wait on Phil and Ian to get back up to speed…”

        “Agreed. So, we stick with the plan to offer both Andy and Moose one-year Arb deals, and if they take it, they become the back end of the rotation, and if they walk, we maybe get picks?

        “You got it. Next up — should we re-sign Jason?”

        “Damnit, Steve, for the last time, YOU DON’T WORK HERE ANYMORE! Stop barging in on our meetings asking stupid questions.”

  • Hybrid Moments

    If Pettitte has a shoulder issue then I don’t know about bringing him back. That means on top of his back spasms and worrying about his elbow, we also have to worry about his shoulder. From a fan stand point I would love to see Andy Pettitte back as a Yankee in the new place next year but as an objective by stander I don’t know how effective he can be with his medley of injury concerns.

    • Steve

      It depends on what it is. If its a minor thing that just requires rest, I wouldn’t consider it a factor. If its something chronic and long term, then there’s no point in bringing him back.

    • http://www.barackobama.com/index.php TurnTwo

      exactly.

      look, part of the problem the yankees have is not being able to cut ties with sentimental players, or giving players contracts based on past performance but on the wrong side of their careers.

      i love Andy, but if he’s got shoulder issues to go with back issues and elbow issues, thats just too much for this team to have to worry about going into a brand new season.

      even if he were to say he’d come back at a reduced rate, i think it’d be best if they just part ways.

      • The Scout

        Amen.

      • Count Zero

        Word.

  • Tripp

    Wouldn’t his velocity be way down if there is something wrong with his shoulder?

    I think it’s mechanics due to being worn out. Guy might need to find a new training routine during the offseason or something.

    • http://www.barackobama.com/index.php TurnTwo

      not necessarily. he can have strength in the shoulder but be very wild, which could be a result of his mechanics being off… where his normal range of motion in his shoulder is altered and lead to his inability to follow through on his pitches, due to pain/discomfort/etc.

    • JohnnyC

      His velocity is down. And the cutter is hanging in the middle of the plate. Bad signs.

  • beantownbosoxh8er

    Is there such a thing of too much pitching? The Yankees are one team that can afford to pay to have too have a surplus.
    If Andy and Moose want to both come back by all means take them back.
    we see that a team can almost never get through the season with using just 5 SP.

    • http://www.barackobama.com/index.php TurnTwo

      there is a difference in having a surplus of arms, and a surplus of effective starting pitchers.

  • beantownbosoxh8er

    What we have seen from the younger aspects of the staff nothing is certain. Having a couple of veterans who we know haw to win can be invauluable to the staff.
    Sabathia is no slam dunk ..so do you go into the season counting on Hughs and IPK again?
    I do agree that if he (pettitte) is hurt just having him around to be around is BS but if he can contribute and the kids/someone can work their way into the rotation then fine.
    but If I have to see a ponson and rasner type in the rotation next year ill puke.

    • beantownbosoxh8er

      *but If I have to see a ponson and rasner type in the rotation next year because we didn’t have the needed extra pitching ill puke.*

      didnt finish my thought.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      “Having a couple of veterans who we know how to win can be invaluable to the staff.”

      There’s a problem with this logic though. Andy Pettitte’s won once in his last 10 starts. That’s not really knowing how to win. That’s knowing how to lose when your team needs you to win.

      • beantownbosoxh8er

        Doesn’t that become a moot point if we find out that he is hurt and just trying to hump it up there?
        he is a proven “big game pitcher” so this 1/2 season isn’t him just forgetting how to pitch , it is either a decline or he is hurt.
        *This is a question ,not a statement formed into a question*
        Does Andy add anything to the team witha veteran presence without being 1/2 the pitcher he once was or is he just a body taking up a roster spot?

  • Bo

    I think we can do a little better for 16 mill than Pettitte next year.

    • steve (different one)

      no one is proposing bringing Andy Pettitte back for $16M.

      that’s not even in the realm of possible outcomes.

      the Yankees wouldn’t do it, nor would Andy expect it.

      • http://www.barackobama.com/index.php TurnTwo

        even if you paid him $6-8 million a year, whats the point if he’s not going to pitch well?

        its not an easy decison. but if he’s not healthy, or prove/convince me that he’s better than he’s been for most of this season, i’m not guaranteeing him a contract for 2009.

        • steve (different one)

          sure. i don’t disagree. but it’s not out of the question that Pettitte can bounce back and have a better year next year. it’s not like he’s a guy that relies on a 95 MPH fastball.

          it’s really his command that has deserted him. the yankees have to determine if there is a fixable reason for that.

          • Count Zero

            While Andy was never a flamethrower, I don’t see him as someone who would be able to do a Jamie Moyer / Paul Byrd / Moose transition. He doesn’t have enough pitches, arm angles or deceptiveness — without an effective cutter he’s a AAAA pitcher at best.

            • steve (different one)

              but he has had success with his current “stuff” as recently as 2007. and the first half of this season.

              his velocity from 2007 to 2008 is only down slightly.

              average fastball in 2007: 89.1
              average fastball in 2008: 88.6

              i am not saying i disagree with you. of course, he needs his cutter to be effective.

              but there is something else going on i think. not saying i know what that is….