The Andy Pettitte renaissance

Fan Confidence Poll: August 10th, 2009
The Mark Teixeira Appreciation Thread

Just under a month ago, Andy Pettitte looked finished. Heading into the All Star Break, he had just suffered through his second straight start of six earned runs, and against the Angels on July 11, he couldn’t make it out of the 5th inning.

At the time, the Yankees, I wrote, had an Andy Pettitte problem. Pettitte hadn’t been giving the Yankees much of anything — innings, quality starts or hope. And so in grand River Ave. Blues fashion, as soon as we wrote off Andy Pettitte, the Yanks’ veteran lefty turned his season around.

Since the start of the second half, Andy Pettitte is only 1-1, but since when do won-loss records tell the whole story? The Yanks are 3-2 in games Pettitte has started, and his numbers are quite impressive. In five starts, he has thrown 33.2 innings or just under 6.2 innings per start. He has allowed just 25 hits and nine walks while pitching to a 1.87 ERA. He has 33 strike outs in those 33.2 innings, and opponents are hitting just .210/.264/.269 against him. He hasn’t allowed a home run since Nick Markakis blasted one with one out in the first inning on July 20, a span of 33.1 innings.

So then, is Andy Pettitte back? It’s tough to say. Those 33.2 innings are sure looking impressive, but we can’t draw any conclusions from just five starts. He’s on a great run, and we can only hope it continues.

As Pettitte got outs though, as he matched Jon Lester zero for zero yesterday, his importance to the Yanks’ October success grew and grew. Right now, the Yanks have a 6.5 game lead with 51 games left. Their magic number is 46. They have the biggest lead in baseball right now, and if the lead expands over the next few weeks, they can begin to look at lining things up for the post-season.

Inevitably, gearing up for October will involve answering a few tough questions surrounding Joba Chamberlain. The Yanks’ youngster is at 115.2 innings and will soon be facing his innings limit. We don’t know what it is, but it can’t be much more than 160. With the Yanks enjoying a 6.5-game lead and with Pettitte healthy, effective and pitching lights out baseball, the team can afford to give Joba some extra time off.

The Yanks have eight weeks of regular season baseball left, and right now, it’s all clicking. As Pettitte goes, so will the rest of the rotation. While it’s early yet to look toward October, with Joba on an innings limit, October has to play into the equation right now. I’ll gladly embrace that Andy Pettitte renaissance as the home stretch approaches.

Fan Confidence Poll: August 10th, 2009
The Mark Teixeira Appreciation Thread
  • t

    Pettite was dominant last night. Our 1-3 rotation is going to be dominant in the playoffs. Lock up that 4th spot and it’s over.

    • Klemy

      I posted a few times that I didn’t trust any after some of his starts at the end of the first half. I am more then happy to say that I was wrong and he has won me back. His last few starts have been spectacular. He’s done more then keep us in games and almost seems reinvented. I hope he can continue this on from here.

  • JM

    Pettitte=Still a decent second half pitcher. Could be a #3, I think, at least for most of the teams in MLB.

  • A.D.

    Basically what it tells is why Pettitte may not be as consistent as he once was, and he’ll have clunker games, he’s not done. He’s still got the stuff, and he can still provide that veteran lefty presence & go out and pitch in a big game.

    Assuming the speculation is correct, and Joba will be starting in October, and nothing terrible happens by then, having CC, Burnett, Pettitte, and Joba should be able to match up with anyone.

    • whozat

      As far as I can tell this speculation about Joba starting in October is based on wishfully reading into a Cashman quote that only says Joba will be PITCHING in October.

      • jsbrendog

        +1

      • Ed

        Agreed. From what I saw, Cashman just said Joba wasn’t going to get shut down for the season. The reporter writing the story took that to mean he’d be starting the whole way.

      • Chris

        It’s also based on the fact that Cashman is not an idiot. Only an idiot would run out CC-AJ-Pettitte-Mitre in the payoffs instead of CC-AJ-Pettitte-Joba.

        If they need to keep his innings down, that can be done in the regular season, especially since they have a 6.5 game lead.

        • whozat

          And if there’s a way to get him to the end of the season under his workload cap AND keep him stretched out as a starter, then I’m sure that’s under consideration. That’s a lot harder, and has much more uncertain results than moving him to the pen at the end of August.

          They want this kid fronting their rotation for years to come. Stretching Hughes out by the end of this month and swapping him with Joba would be the easiest, least objectionable move, but they don’t want to do that. Perhaps they have some secret plan that will do what you want, though. WE’ll see.

          • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

            “Perhaps they have some secret plan that will do what you want, though. WE’ll see.”

            I really hope so.

        • Ed

          It’s also based on the fact that Cashman is not an idiot.

          Also keep in mind that only an idiot would take a 23 year old with the stuff to be an ace and put him at high risk of blowing out his arm.

          • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

            We’re assuming he has a plan to keep Joba starting in the playoffs.

            Hopefully.

      • CountryClub

        Cash was on with Francessa on Thursday and he said that Joba will not be shut down and he will not be going to the pen. He also admitted that they’ll have to get creative in terms of extra days off and skipping him.

        • JobaWockeeZ

          So did Francesa have a heart attack when Cash said “not going to the pen?”

        • AndrewYF

          This is exactly right.

          Joba isn’t getting shut down, Joba isn’t going to the pen. So, the only logical conclusion is that Joba’s starts will be skipped, and he will be the fourth starter in the playoffs.

  • Andy In Sunny Daytona

    Ben, Mike and Joe have been like a strict fathers all year. Whenever you single out a player and tell them that you’ve been disappointed with them, that player seems to turn it around.

    Keep up the good work guys. No one gets a free pass.

  • jsbrendog

    so next let’s write off sergio mitre. Once RAB writes you off you succeed.

    let’s get a post about how someone doesn’t do something and they’re cooked and boom. instant gratification.

  • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

    I’m loving the recent strikeout spike from Pettittte.

    • Accent Shallow

      Yeah. Especially coupled with the fact that he’s not allowing a lot of baserunners, so the spike in K/9 is “real” rather than illusory.

  • Ed

    Pettitte is still a good pitcher, but now that he’s getting up there in age, his body can’t always hold up. He had a good first half last year, but pitched through pain in the 2nd half due to the rest of the staff’s injuries.

    He started off strong this year, then ran into a stretch with back issues. Looks like the long break for the All Star Break was enough to fix that, and now he’s back to what he can be.

    This is the downside to an incentive based contract – Pettitte can still be good, but he’s going to need a little more rest than he used to. But with each start being worth a 6 digit sum, he’s going to want to make every start he can. Of course, with the 5th starter spot being filled by Mitre, the 9th (?) guy on the depth chart, the team doesn’t have any good alternatives.

    • http://Youcan'tincreaseyourrange TLVP

      He’s 37 – old but not ancient

  • Accent Shallow

    It was so sweet to see Andy match Lester zero for zero. Here’s hoping he can keep it up.

  • Nady Nation

    I am so over Andy Pettitte.

    /takes dig at Axisa

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Oh you can kiss the fattest part of my ass.

      • Nady Nation

        Haha, I had to bring that one back up.

  • http://imgur.com/NMNVd.jpg Joba Powers (all I needs is a jheri curl mullet)

    Just came here to say that Coke got the win.

    :/

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      Well with brilliant pitching like his coupled with Joe G’s savvy manageria brilliance how could he not get the win?

      /Sarcasm’d

      • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

        *managerial*

  • Roamy66

    Do the Yankee re-sign Pettitte for 2010?

    • Ed

      If he finishes the season strong, I think that’s an easy yes. If he ends it like he ended ’08, it’s an easy no. A mediocre end of the season makes it a tough call with the potential to get ugly like it did with Bernie.

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

      I say no. We need to make room for Hughes.

      • Thomas

        Next years rotation could include both, because of Wang’s injury/ineffectiveness.

        The 2010 rotation could be Sabathia, Burnett, Chamberlain, Pettitte, Hughes with Kennedy and Aceves as the long-men/next in line starters.

      • Ghost of Scott Brosius

        You’ll still need a fifth starter no, with wang a question mark? I say keep him- don’t you kinda wish you still had moose around to fill mitre’s spot this year? Its a similar situation, and he won’t cost too much

        • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

          No I’m glad we didn’t resign Moose. Way too old.

          • Ghost of Scott Brosius

            One year, team option for another? Whats the harm? If joba hadn’t turned it around you’d be dreaming about him. If pitchers can still pitch, keep them if possible. The problem is bringing in old pitchers whp havent pitched well in a while, ie smoltz, glavine, livan hernandez

            • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

              The harm is having him totally bomb. And then you’re stuck with…Mitre.

              The odds of Moose bombing were higher than the odds of Wang bombing. and Moose AND Wang bombing? Forget it.

              • Ghost of Scott Brosius

                The point is you’re stuck with mitre now. Clearly the yanks can survive with a fairly awful fifth starter if need be, but why not have a guy around who has the pedigree and capacity to be much better. If he bombs he sits or we eat the money-wer not obligated to him.

                The key is having studs at the front end. Im not saying moose would have been instead of aj-not at all. But there’s nothing wrong with having a few old vets on your team, as long as you’re not overreliant on them. I prefer someone who I’ve seen succeed, and recently, to someone who has never succeeded and has almost no indicators that he ever will, no matter there ages

                • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

                  Pettite would have been our fifth starter if Wang wasn’t hurt.

                • Ghost of Scott Brosius

                  Well i mean yeah, technically we didn’t have a rotation spot for moose. But it’s not like we didn’t want him back because he was terrible. Personally i wish they wouldve traded wang when his value was decent. Second guess, I know, but the peripherals did indicate he was in for a decline, and once we had aj and cc it mightve been smart to unload him for a young hitting prospect.

          • Peter Lacock

            It is my opinion that those that call thirty-somethings ‘old’, are too young to know what old is.

            • JMK

              You sound old.

            • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

              Believe me, I know what old is. I’m talking old in a bseball sense.

              • Ghost of Scott Brosius

                And the sad thing is baseball is the sport where you can play the longest. In most sports thirty two is already retirement age

      • Ed

        Next year’s rotation, as of now: CC, AJ, Joba, Hughes, ?

        Wang’s not back until mid-season at best. Either you sign someone else, or Kennedy is the leading option for the 5th spot.

        • Ghost of Scott Brosius

          Id prefer andy to anyone likely to be available except brandon webb. We don’t need to waste money on another big starter like lackey, we need someone cheap and reliable. And i think 3 starters in their early twenties might be pushing it

          • Ed

            I agree with you, except for the Webb bit. I believe he had his shoulder surgery after Wang did, so he’ll be back even later in the season.

            • Ghost of Scott Brosius

              Yeah your right, i think he’s worth a long term flier because of the talent, but for next year he definitely can’t be relied on. Depends on the price. If it’s a big discount and we pay a little bit closer to full value then everyone else, fine. If they want full price then forget it.

        • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

          Mid season at best? I heard at worst. April at best.

          • Ghost of Scott Brosius

            Personally i wouldnt count on wang one bit. Looking at next year, he has to be considered gravy and nothing more. there has to be a very solid alternative

          • Ed

            Shoulder surgery is generally a year for pitchers. Compare with Smoltz. He last pitched June 2nd last year and returned June 25th this year.

            Surgery in July and returning in April was pushing it a little for Posada (he wasn’t playing full games until the very end of spring training). Pitchers take much longer to recover from arm surgery than position players do.

            • Ghost of Scott Brosius

              Exactly. And lets not forget the guy hasn’t pitched well consistently since the 07 regular season, and a little stretch pre-injury last year. That seems like a long time ago

              • Observer283

                Not quite fair Scott. He pitched consistently well in ’08 with only a couple of minor hiccups. He was the unquestioned Ace and was actually pitching like one. Then, interleague happened.

                • Ed

                  Not really. Wang started off ’08 with the best stretch of his career, but the last month before he got hurt was brutal. It was about on par with how he was doing after he returned to the rotation this year.

                • Ghost of Scott Brosius

                  Exactly. Injuries, bad performance, whatever, the guy has not been even close to the same pitcher since the cleveland series disaster. He’s sad some solid starts but nothing spectacular, and many starts that were spectacularly bad.

    • Jeffrey

      Pettitte has been great lately and I really like him, but he has lacked consistency. Pitchers like CC and AJ you have an idea of what you’re getting each time they go out there. The Yankees would probably be better if they signed John Lackey, Jarrod Washburn, or Erik Beddard in the off season. Pettite would make a decent 5th starter if they wanted to keep him or possibly a pitcher out of the bullpen.

      • Ghost of Scott Brosius

        You really think washburn or bedard would be better? Washburns way overeliant on defense and a big ballpark, and hes no young guy himself. Bedard’s a mess with alot of upside, reminds me of brad penny, and he doesn’t have the temperament for new york. Lackey’s the only one worthwhile, but do you really want to spend all that money, again? It could be put to much better use somewhere else. If you find the right deal for a young stud, fine, but otherwise i think andy, at or near this level, is a great option, keeping in mind IPK or Ace would be there to back him up

      • whozat

        Jarrod Washburn’s renaissance was a total illusion. He’s the same mediocre pitcher he always has been, but will be looking for a payday.

        Bedard hasn’t been healthy in years and has fraying in his shoulder.

        Lackey is good, but he’s going to be 31. Given CC, AJ, Joba and Hughes, doesn’t giving 5 years to a pitcher over 30 seem like a poor idea?

        • Ghost of Scott Brosius

          Amen

        • Jeffrey

          No pitcher over 30 deserves more than 3 years unless its a Halliday type guy.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      I would hope not.

  • http://Youcan'tincreaseyourrange TLVP

    Its easy to forget how far Andy has come

    He’s 3rd all time on the Yankees strike out list needing 101 for 2nd spot – not this year but how about next year if he’s back? Actually if you include regular season and post season he’s only 29 s-o behind Ron Guidry (1800 vs 1829) for 2nd spot

    He needs 279 s-o to catch Whitney Ford for teh regular season and 250 if we include post season. If he gets 2 more decent seasons he’d be the all time strike out leader of the Yankees!

    Of course I’m cherry picking – in Wins (meaningless stat), ERA (meaningfull stat), IP, etc he’d further behind but still…

  • Tripp

    You think we’ll see a Gaudin, Mitre, Aceves mix for the fourth and fifth starter spots going down the stretch? Maybe even a Russ Ortiz sighting if the yanks lead is substantial in september.

    • Mike Pop

      Ya, I’m hoping the Yanks make this a 10 game lead over these next 10 games. Then the Yankees can just rest Joba and use Gaudin/Mitre for the 4th and 5th spot without any worries.

      • Ghost of Scott Brosius

        That would be nice, since the sox final 17 they play kansas city, baltimore, toronto, cleveland. I want a nice safe cushion.

        • http://Youcan'tincreaseyourrange TLVP

          remember that resting Joba early also should make him more effective down the stretch

  • mike HC

    If you look at Pettitte’s career numbers, he is basically in line with who he is, even for the Andy Pettitte of a decade ago:

    1998: 4.24 1.45 .274
    1999: 4.70 1.59 .289
    2000: 4.35 1.46 .271
    2009: 4.14 1.41 .267

    This is simply who Pettitte is, and who he always has been.

    • Ghost of Scott Brosius

      +1

    • http://www.twitter.com/shaked RichYF

      Good stats.

      • http://Youcan'tincreaseyourrange TLVP

        But they also stop dead in their tracks anyone who suggests Andy is HoF material

        “After all, its called the Hall of Fame – not the Hall of Very Good”

        LOL – but this time they’d get it right. Mike Mussina is a different case – borderline but possible

        • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

          He may, if he plays for a few more years, win 300 games. Then he’s a lock.

          • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            Pettitte currently has 224 wins. He has 9 this year and is on pace for 13, so let’s add 4 to his total and bring it up to 228 after 2009. So, to get to 300, after this season, he’d have to pick up 72 more wins. Let’s give him 13.5 wins per season moving forward, which I think is very generous given he’ll be in his age 38 season should he return in 2010 (it’s actually probably way too generous). At that rate, he’d have to pitch for 6 more seasons to hit and pass 300 wins. He’d be notching those wins during his age 38, 39, 40, 41, 42 and 43 seasons.

            Save this comment and make fun of me in 2015 if I’m proven wrong… But, dude, it’s just not happening. Andy Pettitte has had a great career for the Yankees, but he’s not getting to 300 wins and he’s not HOF material.

            • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

              +46

    • Ed

      This is simply who Pettitte is, and who he always has been.

      Not really. His individual season stats have fluctuated a lot. You just picked a few seasons similar to this one. He’s also had some excellent seasons, and some worse than that.

      Career ERA/WHIP/BAA: 3.90 1.362 .271

      Odd unrelated tidbit I never noticed before: his highest strikeout rate was the season he pitched with a torn tendon. 8.6 K/9 that year, 6.6 for his career.

      • mike HC

        You are right. I did over simplify a little a bit for the sake of brevity, but the point remains that the end result is usually the same. I used those three years because that was the three peat years. The Pettitte as an Ace mindset was due to his post season heroics, not his regular season stats. These stats are what can be expected of Pettitte for his entire career, not just the back end.

        • Ed

          The Pettitte as an Ace mindset was due to his post season heroics, not his regular season stats.

          I don’t agree with that. I think his run from ’96-’97 is what lead to that. He’s gotten Cy Young votes 5 times. His ’97 and ’05 seasons in particular were good enough to be Cy Young Award worthy most years. His ’01-’03 run, while not as good as the other years I mentioned was also much better than the years you mentioned.

          Bonus points on the reputation:

          * Multiple 20 win seasons

          * Strong 2nd half splits – people always value a strong finish more than a strong start. Especially on teams fighting to reach the playoffs.

          * During his first Yankees run he had an extremely high winning percentage when he pitched the day after the Yankees lost a game. That’s probably just a side effect of being an above average pitcher on good to great teams, but it was a big talking point in the press.

          • mike HC

            I can’t argue with any of that. I love Pettitte. I agree. I guess I always thought of him as a big game pitcher. He steps his game up to another level when all the chips are on the table. When you look at his career numbers, they don’t jump out at you and scream “Ace.” But when you remember him pitching effectively during the playoffs, it brings him to another level.

      • mike HC

        You are right. I did over simplify a little a bit for the sake of brevity, but the point remains that the end result is usually the same. I used those three years because that was the three peat years. The Pettitte as an Ace mindset was due to his post season heroics, not his regular season stats. These stats are what can be expected of Pettitte for his entire career, not just the back end.

        • mike HC

          I didnt even post that twice, it just doubled on its on

          • mike HC

            own

  • Roamy66

    Yankees could have as much as 40 million coming of their payroll in 2010. Looking at the 2010 F/A pitchers after Beckett and maybe Lackey I don’t see anybody worth a big chunk of money.

    • Ghost of Scott Brosius

      I think we’re close to set in the rotation. We definitely don’t NEED a king felix type pitcher anytime soon, unlike the sox, because our young guys(joba,hughes) have developed better. That money should go to young position players, either at catcher or the outfield

      • JobaWockeeZ

        Outfield really. I love Damon but he’s a DH if the Yanks want him again which is slim to happening. If the Yanks get Nady again by arbitration or something then the outfield looks like: AJax – Gardbera – NadySwish

        • Ghost of Scott Brosius

          Which is survivable given the infield talent, but pretty suspect if ajax ain’t ready, or melky undergoes a regression. Plus nady only ever really had one good season. I think a texeira type impact stud in the outfield would be huge, its the thing we should be looking for most.

    • 27 this year

      beckett has an option.

      • Ghost of Scott Brosius

        Thel never let him go.

    • Jeffrey

      Beckett isn’t a FA, Boston will obviously pick up the option for next year.

      Besides Lackey there is Washburn. Then you have a number of high risk high reward guys with recent injuries who could come cheap and be offered incentives if they perform. Bedard is the headliner, followed by Brett Myers, Rich Harden, Justin Duchscherer, Todd Wellemyer, Freddy Garcia, Josh Fogg.

      • Accent Shallow

        Jarrod Washburn is not a good pitcher. I’d rather have Andy back.

      • http://www.facebook.com/dougchu Doug

        Boo to Washburn. Yankee Stadium isn’t a canyon like Safeco, and the Yankees don’t have Seattle’s stellar outfield D.

      • AndrewYF

        You forget Brandon Webb. Of course, if ‘zona declines his option it’s most likely because he’s not going to pitch well in 2010.

  • Bo

    Never understood how Andy P was getting slammed for anything this year. If someone can find a better back end starter please enlighten us.

    • Jeffrey

      Pettitte isn’t a front end starter anymore, but he has to be considered one of the best all time Yankee pitchers. He can definitely have a dominating performance at any time.

      As for resigning Pettitte and most other FAs on the team I think we need to see how the season ends. A 2010 rotation of Sabathia, Burnett, Chamberlin, Hughes, Pettitte is pretty damn good. Don’t think there’s a better #5 than Pettitte would be.

      Then the bullpen for 2010 could be Rivera, Coke, Aceves, Robertson, Bruney, and a lock down bullpen guy. That 8th inning guy should be Rafael Soriano, Jose Valverde, or Fernando Rodney.

      • Ghost of Scott Brosius

        Rodney’s a mess, he just somehow has a knack for closing games. Valverde’s nice but has injury questions. Soriano would be the best of those three

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