For the second straight night the Yankees starting pitcher has struggled and left the game before completing five innings. Not that either would have remotely qualified for the win. On Friday CC allowed nine runs, five earned, through 2.2 innings, and last night Pettitte allowed five, three earned, in a slightly longer span, 4.1 innings. The offense could plate only three runs, and the game amounted to another loss.
Pettitte’s command was not there last night. He had trouble spotting pitches, and that led to general wildness. He threw just 54 of his 95 pitches (57%) for strikes, which is below his season average of 61 percent and even further below his second-half average of 63 percent. It led to four walks, and three of those runners scored — though the last two were because of Al Aceves’s errant throw.
It wasn’t what the Yanks were looking for from Pettitte, but then again this was just a start to stay in rhythm. No one likes it that Pettitte didn’t pitch well, but as far as next week is concerned, it means nothing. Everything starts anew then, and Pettitte will come into his first playoff start well rested. The Yanks will need him to play a big role in every series.
After the throwing error, Aceves worked a perfect 2.1 innings of relief, striking out three Rays. Gaudin followed that with 1.1 innings of one-hit ball, striking out two Rays of his own. Aceves’s spot on the postseason roster is a lock, and Gaudin’s performance, combined with his efforts in the rotation this month, should earn him a long look. He, Brian Bruney, and Joba Chamberlain are vying for what could be just one roster spot.
On the offensive side, the Yanks put on 12 baserunners, which is not a bad total, but could bring only three around to score. This was the product of a 3 for 11 mark with runners in scoring position. With a version of the B or even C lineup in, it’s tough to expect more. Matsui and Swisher were the only regulars without a hit, though Swisher drew a walk.
Just one more game to go. A.J. Burnett gets his last tune-up under acting manager Jorge Posada tomorrow afternoon. It’d be nice to see the regulars get in some hits and finish the season with a win, but if they don’t? Meh.