Andy Pettitte is the old man in the rotation, the been there, done that, respect him just because of he is who he is veteran. He wore pinstripes in both good times and bad, and he’s got more than a full season’s worth of postseason experience in that left arm (37 starts, 231 IP career in the playoffs). His reputation as a big game pitcher is a tad exaggerated, but he’s certainly done what the Yankees needed in the past.
In his career, Pettitte’s started eight games when the Yankees had a chance to clinch a series, like they will tomorrow night. Let’s quickly recap those starts:
1996 ALCS Game Five: 8 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
Pettitte was fantastic, and it certainly didn’t hurt that the offense put up a six spot in the third inning. Yanks won the game 6-4, and took the series against Baltimore 4-1.
1997 ALDS Game Five: 6.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
Meh outing, Manny Ramirez’s two-run double followed by a Matt Williams RBI single in the third did him him. Yanks lose the game and the series 4-3 and 3-2, respectively.
1998 World Series Game Four: 7.1 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K
Pettitte was spectacular against the overmatched Padres, but he wasn’t able to ease up until the team scored a pair of insurance run in the 8th inning. Yanks won the game 3-0, and swept the series.
2000 ALDS Game Five: 3.2 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
Pettitte kinda crapped the bed in the deciding game five, but luckily for him, Oakland starter Gil Heredia was even worse (six runs, one out). The bullpen held it down for 5+ innings. Yanks won 7-5, and finished Oakland off in the deciding Game Five.
2000 World Series Game Five: 7 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K
Pettitte hurt himself with an error in the third, but otherwise held it down until the Yanks took the lead in the ninth. Good guys won 4-2, and took the series in five.
2001 World Series Game Six: 2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 1 K
This was the real clunker. After two magical come from behind wins in the Bronx, Pettitte blew up in the potential clincher. He later admitted to tipping his pitches, hence all the damage. Yanks took one on the chin, losing 15-2, and we all know what happened in Game Seven.
2003 World Series Game Six: 7 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 K
Andy was good, but Josh Beckett was better.
2009 ALDS Game Three: 6.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K
This one was just two weeks ago, so I’m sure you remember it. Pettitte could have gone longer, but was lifted after just 81 pitches. Yanks held on for a 4-1 win, and a trip to the ALCS.
Overall, the Yanks are 5-3 when Pettitte takes the mound in a game where the Yanks could clinch the series. What does this mean for tomorrow? Absolutely nothing. These are just isolated incidents, some over ten years old. All Pettitte has to do tomorrow is what he’s been doing all year: keep the Yanks in the game, and log as many innings as possible.
Update: I missed some games. See this comment for more info.
Anyway, use this as your open thread for the night. There’s literally no local major sports team in action tonight, just the Nets in a meaningless preseason game. There’s also some college football game on, but I don’t remember the teams. You could always come hang out with me at MLBTR. Talk about whatever you want, just make sure you follow the guidelines and be nice.