Sep
01

Pettitte closes out August with another stellar performance

By

If Jerry Hairston doesn’t let an Adam Jones ground ball go between his legs in the seventh, this recap would be a lot different. Then again, if Hairston didn’t make a good play on a Matt Wieters slow grounder an inning prior, he wouldn’t have had a chance to break Andy Pettitte‘s string of 20 batters retired. It’s a shame that Andy didn’t get a chance to face Nick Markakis with the bases empty in the eighth, but baseball rarely works out how you plan it.

It was an intense six and two-thirds innings. Pettitte looked as good as he has all season, mixing all of his pitches to keep the Orioles hitters off balance. Most devastatingly, he used the curveball to break over the outside of the plate (to righties), and home plate umpire Marvin Hudson was calling it every time. The Orioles hitters didn’t like it, but that’s to be expected. No one likes getting punched out on a pretty breaking ball that skims the corner.

Even without the perfect game, no-hitter, or shutout, Pettitte had spectacular numbers to end the game. In his eight innings of work he allowed just two hits, the grounder to Markakis and a solo homer to Melvin Mora leading off the eighth. He struck out eight, keeping up with the torrential pace he’s set in the second half. Since the break he’s pitched 59.2 innings and has struck out 62, to just 15 walks. Andy added none to the latter total last night — it’s tough to walk guys when you’re throwing 70 percent of your pitches for strikes).

The Yankees have been on an incredible run in the second half, and much of that can be attributed to Pettitte. The Yanks are set atop the rotation with Sabathia and Burnett, but after that things were looking a bit shaky. Both Pettitte and Joba limped into the break, and there were plenty of questions about the pitching staff leading up to the trade deadline. Pettitte has stepped up over the past month and has been an absolute rock in the rotation. The way they’re pitching now, CC, A.J., and Andy are as good a 1-2-3 punch as you’re going to find in the league.

On the offensive side, the Yankees continued to pick up runs late. They’ve seemingly been able to do this all season, whether it be to come back from a deficit or to put some distance between themselves and their opponents. Nick Swisher provided the early runs, homering to lead off the third and doubling in Robinson Cano, who led off the fifth with a double of his own. With the way Pettitte was pitching, that seemed like all they’d need.

After the no-hitter bid ended in the seventh, the Yanks responded by extending that lead a bit, just in case. They had failed to score off Mark Hendrickson in the seventh after having runners on second and third with one out, but they would not be so merciful in the eighth. Derek Jeter led off the affair with a double, the team’s fourth of the night. Damon singled him home, and eventually Robinson Cano hit the team’s fifth double, his own second, plating both Damon and Mark Teixeira. With the Orioles holding just six outs, it was all but over.

There was a little stir in the ninth after Brian Bruney walked the leadoff batter and allowed a subsequent single, but Mariano came in and slammed the door. It was technically a save situation, but it didn’t take much labor at all. A pop out to second and a strikeout ended the game, and the Yankees celebrated a 5-1 victory.

The win was the Yankees’ 32nd since the All-Star Break, which is flat out insane. Since the break they’re 32-11, a .744 winning percentage which would translate to 120.5 regular season wins. We’re witnessing quite a ride right now, unlike anything we’ve really seen from the Yanks in a number of years. Not many teams’ fans get to experience winning at this pace for such a long period.

The best part about baseball: we get to do it all again tomorrow. A.J. Burnett steps up against David Hernandez. Unfortunately, Angel Hernandez will be calling balls and strikes. Am I a nerd for begrudging certain umpires?

Categories : Game Stories

128 Comments»

  1. gxpanos says:

    No, I dont think so. Anyone that watches baseball more than a little knows Angel is a bush league ump.

  2. My Pet Goat says:

    Who cares about a post-break .744 win%? Boston is the best run team in baseball. Everyone says so.

  3. Tom Zig says:

    It is time to finally put the Orioles to bed. A win tomorrow mathematically eliminates them from contending for the division.

    Magic number is now 26.

  4. mustang says:

    Totally agree especially with the Andy part. Not bad for a pitcher that was declared DOA at the All-Star break by certain people at RAB.

    • whozat says:

      Did anyone actually do that? Or did they say “uh oh, an aging pitcher who wore down and got hurt after the break last year is stinking up the joint…this bears watching, and the Yanks could be in a bad way if he can’t pull his weight”?

  5. jim p says:

    That uncertainty about the staff going into the 2nd half: Roy Halladay in August: 2-4, 4.71 ERA.

  6. Stryker says:

    i don’t know why so many people are getting down on hairston. yeah, it was a crappy play. but if it wasn’t for his great play earlier in the game, the perfecto would have ended much sooner.

  7. jose says:

    and to think andy was signed to be our 5th starter…

  8. Little Bill says:

    Lay off Jerry. Sure he fucked up on that one play, but he’s already been a huge addition. Just remember back to the days of Cody Ransom and you’ll be happy again that Cash traded for Jerry.

  9. Salty Buggah says:

    Some interesting facts from ESPN stats:

    •Pettitte had his longest career perfect game bid at 6 2/3 innings. His previous long was 4 2/3 innings in 2008 at Baltimore.

    • Pettitte improved to 50-19 career in August. His .724 August win percentage stands third best all-time.

    I still can’t believe ESPN spelled his name as “Pittite” when he was throwing a no-no. after the error.

  10. e mills says:

    nice to see everyone, including O’s fans, show appreciation for, I guess, what could’ve been a perfect game for Andy

    • Chris says:

      I don’t think there were any O’s fans at the game yesterday. In fact, I’m not sure that there are any O’s fans left anywhere.

  11. Salty Buggah says:

    Imagine if A-rod made that error. People would literally go to Camden Yards tomorrow (today for those of you in the East Coast or Midwest) with pitch forks and shit to kill him. It seems like a joke but sadly, this one would have a chance to be true.

  12. King of Fruitless Hypotheticals says:

    Thome could have gotten AP to 300 wins…

  13. Dela G says:

    great win tonight

    too bad i wasn’t able to watch it (i was at the vikings/texans game)

    Pettitte is the fucking man!

  14. Ivan says:

    Great game by Pettitte. Just an absolute gem.

    As a yankee fan rite now, there just playing great on all cylinders and I just feel like nobody can play with them. Best team in baseball bar none, PERIOD!!!! The yankees are the fuckin best no arguements rite now. Yes as a yankee fan, im riding my own dick, LOL!!!

  15. JGS says:

    via LoHud, Hairston said after the game “no one feels worse than me”

    Juan Uribe, perhaps?

  16. The Artist says:

    “Am I a nerd for begrudging certain umpires?”

    Nope. There are certain umpires that when factored into pitching matchups are the difference in a game, especially come October. I’m not much of a gambler, but if I was I’d pay close attention to who’s behind the plate.

  17. henry frisch says:

    I just checked my playoff bill from 2006.
    My tickets ran 71/96/156. Now they are 25/50/100.
    DEFLATION RAMPANT!

  18. Nickel says:

    I was surprised that Michael Kay last night, when talking about the Hairston error followed by the Markakis hit, did not use the phrase, “Fallacy of the Predetermined Outcome.” He always likes to pull that one out whenever possible.

  19. Makavelli says:

    Now, has Pettitte pitched his way into his usual #2 spot in the post season rotation now?? Does Burnett go #3??

    • Sweet Dick Willie says:

      Looking at the home/road splits for this year, AJ has been better at home and Andy has been better on the road.

      Additionally, I think it helps to have a guy w/ 35 post season starts under his belt to go in Game 3.

      • Makavelli says:

        Very true. Forgot about the home/road splits for whatever reason. AJ had an ERA over 6.00 for August. Let’s hope that changes soon. His August was even worse than his March/April (5.40 ERA). Then you combine that with Joba Chamberlain’s 8.22 ERA in August and it doesn’t bode well as of right now if the post season started today…

        The good news is that Sabathia and Pettitte have been absolutely filthy in August. Hopefully they can continue this dominance while Joba and AJ straighten themselves out…but it’s a tall order to ask for…

        • AJ had an ERA over 6.00 for August. Let’s hope that changes soon.

          And yet:

          AJ’s August Starts:
          Aug 1 @ CHW – 4.2 IP, 10 H, 7 R – ugh, awful
          Aug 7 v BOS – 7.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R – dominant
          Aug 12 v TOR – 6.0 IP, 10 H, 3 R – very good
          Aug 17 @OAK – 8.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R – near-dominant
          Aug 22 @ BOS – 5.0 IP, 9 H, 9 R – ugh, atrocious
          Aug 27 v TEX – 6.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R – very good

          He had two traveshamockery starts, but his other four starts were all good to great.

      • Kiersten says:

        Also, in the ALDS, Game 3 is more important than Game 2.

        If you’re 2-0, secure the sweep.
        If you’re 1-1, take an important lead.
        And I think 0-2 is obvious.

  20. Makavelli says:

    For the Record:

    Joba Chamberlain (8.22), AJ Burnett (6.03), and Sergio Mitre (4.30) have combined for an over ERA of 6.17 in August with 95 hits and 38 BB in 83.1 total innings. Together, they had a 3-7 record for August in 15 total starts in August.

    Considering our record though, it’s pretty incredible when you think that we’ve been getting this for the past month from 3 of our 5 starters. Mitre actually hasn’t been all that bad compared to the other two…

  21. Jake H says:

    I think the reason Andy has done a lot better is because of his change up. I remember last year he would throw that pitch and it didn’t do anything. Now it seems to have great movement down. Gives him another pitch moving down that players have to take into account.

  22. miketotheg says:

    I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again, andy’s got balls the size of church bells. he’s the man.

    Sherman actually wrote a great piece on him today. worth a read.

  23. Klemy says:

    I was really worried about Andy heading in to the break, but he’s really turned it around the second half. I love it and I’m happy as hell for him. I’m eating my words with a side of gravy.

  24. mryankee says:

    Though I a, very happy where the team is now I am not sure and maybe you guys can tell me where this rotation ranks against the other teams in the AL the Yankees might face. 1: Red Sox Beckett and Lester and Wakefield. 2: Detroit Verlander-Jackson and Wasburn. 3: Angels Weaver-Lackey and Kazmir. I am not sure how confident I am in terms of rotation consistencey. I know CC and Andy have been good, Joba has been a huge disappointment from what was expected. AJ has been way to inconsistent to be in the Jon Lester class. I know offensvely the Yankees are great but is thier offense that much better than Anaheim’s? or Boston’s?

  25. mryankee says:

    I have been trying to think of player Austin Jackson might end up being comprable to and I wonder if Adam Jones is to optimistic? Why when Brett Gardner gets back would he only be on the bench?I think he is better than Melky. Of course the Yankes could trade for Grady Sizemore and that would be the best

  26. [...] the tail end of last night’s discussion regarding Andy Pettitte’s brilliant start, I marveled at the Yankees second half record, 32-11. That’s 3.5 games better than the [...]

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