Nov
04

How did Pettitte fare after high stress starts in 2009?

By

Stressed out AndyLater on tonight, Andy Pettitte will make his final start of 2009, for better or worse. As you know, he’ll be working on three days’ rest for the first time since 2006, and many fans are concerned about how the 37-year-old will rebound on short rest. While his stats on three days’ rest are pretty good (3-1, 2.80 ERA in five career short rest starts in the playoffs), the data is so old and not indicative of anything that it might as well be recorded in hieroglyphics.

Instead of relying on those numbers, let’s take a look at how Pettitte fared on normal four days’ rest following what I’ll call “high stress outings” in 2009. By “high stress outings,” I mean starts in which Andy threw a lot of pitches while allowing lots of baserunners in not many innings. Think 5.1 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 3 BB kind of outings. Then, by looking at how he performed four days later, it’ll give us an approximation of what Pettitte will do tonight. It’s obviously not a perfect comparison, but it’s better than pretty much anything else we have right now.

Game Three over the weekend wasn’t kind to Andy, but he battled through six innings while putting eight men on base and letting four runners cross the plate. He threw 104 pitches, so it would definitely be considered a “high stress outing.” Let’s see how Pettitte rebounded from similar starts this year.

High Stress Outing: April 26th @ Boston: 6 IP, 6 H, 4 BB, 4 R, 116 pitches, -0.14 WPA
Next Start: May 1st vs Anaheim: 5.2 IP, 9 H, 4 BB, 5 R, 111 pitches, +0.02 WPA

HSO: May 18th vs Twins: 6.2 IP, 12 H, 1 BB, 4 R, 105 pitches, -0.03 WPA
NS: May 23rd vs Phillies: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 4 R, 114 pitches, -0.11 WPA

HSO: June 3rd vs Texas: 5 IP, 7 H, 6 BB, 4 R, 104 pitches, -0.17 WPA
NS: June 8th vs Tampa: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 3 R, 104 pitches, +0.06 WPA

HSO: June 25th @ Atlanta: 3.2 IP, 7 H, 3 BB, 6 R, 95 pitches, -0.23 WPA
NS: July 1st vs Seattle: 7 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 2 R, 98 pitches, +0.17 WPA

HSO: July 6th vs Toronto: 6 IP, 5 H, 5 BB, 6 R, 109 pitches, -0.20 WPA
NS: July 11th @ Anaheim: 4.1 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 6 R, 83 pitches, -0.32 WPA

HSO: August 21st @ Boston: 5 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 7 R, 105 pitches, +0.05 WPA
NS: August 26th vs Texas: 7 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 2 R, 103 pitches, +0.23 WPA

I was going to break it down start-by-start, but after recapping the first one, I gave up because all I would be doing is giving too much credit to the already small sample size. It wasn’t worth the time.

So anyway, that’s six instances this season when Andy really had to work hard to get outs, then had to come back and pitch four days later. In those six follow-up starts, Pettitte averaged 6.1 IP, 6.2 H, 2.5 BB, 3.7 R, 102.2 pitches, +0.05 WPA, which is not great, but it’s certainly serviceable. The good news that with exception of that July 1st start against the Mariners, all of the follow-up starts came against good offensive clubs, so the data isn’t too skewed.

Pettitte’s average start this year was 6.1 IP, 6.0 H, 2.4 BB, 3.2 R, 103 pitches, +0.05 WPA, which is ridiculously close to his average in those follow-up starts. The biggest difference is that he allowed half a run more following a real tough outing, which is probably just a BABIP thing since the number of baserunners and innings pitched are nearly identical. I have to say, I’m somewhat surprised by the results.

Of course, these starts come on regular four days’ rest in the middle of the season, not three day’s rest after Pettitte already has 219.2 IP on his left arm. We can arbitrarily dock him an inning and tack on another run, meaning we should expect 5+ innings and about 5 runs tonight, but that’s nothing more than guesswork.

What I wanted to see with this post is how Pettitte rebounded after a taxing start, and as you can see above, he generally didn’t suffer any sort of hangover. It’s far from a perfect analysis, but it’s much better than just assuming he’ll do bad for no other reason than because you have a bad feeling about it.

Photo Credit: Brian Kersey, UPI

Categories : Analysis, Pitching, Playoffs

88 Comments»

  1. the artist formerly known as (sic) says:

    I appreciate the thoughtful analysis, but I’m assuming Pettitte is going to do poorly. I just have a bad feeling.

    /ledgejumper’d

    • I appreciate the thoughtful analysis, but I’m assuming Pettitte is going to do poorly. I just have a bad feeling no confidence in anything the Yankees ever do, since the fluky collapse of 2004 affected me– nay, OVER-AFFECTED ME– so profoundly that I cut my own testicles off in a flawed and misguided attempt to lessen the pain, and now I have no balls at all and can’t get humiliation, destruction, death, and my own shocking lack of masculinity out of my head ever again. It permeates and invades my entire being. I castrated myself in overreaction, and now I’m a permanent eunuch. I’m a non-man.

      Weep for me.

      Sincerely,
      The Ledge Jumpers

      (fixed that for ya)

    • Virginia Yankee says:

      girardi took a high risk approach and he is stuck with it forcing pettit and burnett to go on short rest with no positive basis – data points — he was determined to use sabbathia for the final games of each series and backed into this strategy

      with a 3-1 lead gaudin and the pen would have had a normal rotation burnett and pettit — he might have used sabbath if it got to a game 7

      monday’s game was winnable with a pedestrian effort

      4-0 holes are stupid to create – we saw this lastseason and this season

      there is no reason for it still isn’t

      he could use gaudin and the pen tonight — easily keep phillies to 4 runs and win

      if not i’d take a properly rested pettit over sabbathia in game 7 — if you want sabbathia anyway — i wouldn’t fight much

      girardi has recreated 2004

      • “girardi has recreated 2004″

        Ok. We respect freedom of expression on this blog, but this is too much. If the Yankees win tonight, you’re never commenting here again. That’s just a poor, poor comment.

        • the artist formerly known as (sic) says:

          this has to be trolling. it just has to be.

          pettit? sabbath?

        • JMK aka The Overshare says:

          I’m not going to be bold enough to tell you what to do with your own blog, Joe, but just because a comment is absolutely stupid doesn’t mean the writer should qualify for a ban. Is there a pattern shown to be possibly of a trolling nature?

          • Yes, all of his comments are of this nature.

            I’m not sure how long you’ve been around, but in the past we’ve had problems with trolls like this. Banning them has worked perfectly. It only works, really, when you reserve it for cases like this.

            • JMK aka The Overshare says:

              Gotcha. I’ve been around since April, but I’m not familiar with that user’s possible antics.

              Well, good luck.

              • Funnily enough, after we banned Axl (now Rose) in June, the Yanks went on a tear.

                • JMK aka The Overshare says:

                  I remember that time. That’s the same exact time I shaved one area of my crotch and let the other run feral. Hmmm…maybe there’s some correlation between the Yankees winning, my odd shaving habits, and the death (and rebirth) of Axl.

      • girardi has recreated 2004

        I was wondering why Javier Vazquez, Kevin Brown and Jon Lieber were in uniform yesterday. Thanks for clarifying that.

        Virginia Yankee: Yet another “fan” — and one who can’t spell names of players who have been on the team for 15 years at that — rooting for the Yanks to lose tonight.

      • Rose says:

        Listen,

        While I was incorrectly labeled as the poster-child for the Chad Gaudin madness that took place yesterday…I still think there was a MUCH better chance to win Game 5 with AJ Burnett than Chad Gaudin. AJ didn’t pitch well because of short rest. AJ didn’t pitch well because he’s AJ Burnett and has games where he’s simply terrible. I’m actually extremely happy and pleased that he lasted as long as he did.

        Saying that Andy Pettitte won’t pitch well on 3 days rest just because AJ Burnett didn’t is ridiculous. They’re two entirely different pitchers with entirely different styles, etc. They have nothing to do with one another.

        While I was somewhat in favor of setting up better rest for the final 2 games (while stating that starting Gaudin was still a terrible idea)…I don’t really feel it has THAT much of a bearing on anything. These guys have amassed so many pitches and innings this year (and over their careers) that ONE DAY in the final week of the season isn’t going to kill them.

        If Andy doesn’t pitch well tonight…it won’t necessarily be because of the rest. They too, are seeing Andy Pettitte for a second time around and may make adjustments…and they weren’t that bad against him the first time around.

        But I have all the faith in the world that he knows what to do…and does his best to get us there. The Chad Gaudin argument has run it’s course and it’s over and done with. We play and win tonight!

        • Rose says:

          AJ didn’t not pitch well because of short rest.\

          Fixed.

        • While I was incorrectly labeled as the poster-child for the Chad Gaudin madness that took place yesterday…

          cough*bullshit*cough

        • Tank Foster says:

          I keep reading how people think that pitching on short rest “doesn’t matter” or is “overblown,” but the data don’t suggest that. At least the data I’ve seen…since 1999, the teams using pitchers on short rest vs. a pitcher on regular rest, in postseason games lose waaaaaaay more than they win.

          I don’t know why; one would think a pitcher would maybe tire sooner, but be of normal effectiveness just for fewer pitches.

          Alot of pitching is finesse–controlling the location of the ball with great precision. It would seem that this is a function of one’s coordination – the nervous system – and shouldn’t be affected much by muscle fatigue. You’d think velocity might suffer some.

          But the bottom line is, in the playoffs, pitchers haven’t been as successful on short rest as on regular rest. I hope Andy pitches well enough to keep the Yankees in the game. If it’s close and it’s the Yankees bullpen v. Philly, the Yankees are going to win.

      • Raf says:

        girardi has recreated 2004

        how were you able to type this as you jumped from the edge?

      • Rose says:

        2004 was entirely different. We didn’t have a single Ace on our team while the Red Sox had 2 of them…and the Red Sox had the best offense in baseball that year. The fact that we actually beat 20+ game winner Curt Schilling and 3 time Cy Young winner Pedro Martinez the first time around with Mike Mussina and Jon Lieber was amazing enough. The probability that Mussina and Lieber (both with ERA’s over 4.50) would do it AGAIN was extremely slim.

        This year…every single one of our pitchers is FAR better than Mussina and Lieber were that year…AND…we not only have the best offense in baseball…but we have it by a long margin and we’re playing against a team who DOESN’T have the best offense in baseball…though they have that same (not as good) Pedro Martinez on the mound tonight.

        2004 and 2009 are about as apples and oranges as you can get…

  2. JFH says:

    My feeling, with no data to support it:

    3 or 4 days rest does not matter for one start. Multiple 3 day starts would probably have an effect of the course of a month, with fatigue coming up faster in the pitch count. But Pettitte will either have his A game or he wont. In either case, it will not be b/c of the rest or lack thereof.

  3. Tank Foster says:

    Great analysis. I think him holding Philly to 3-4 runs in 5+ or 6+ would be fantastic. Better than that would be “heroic.” All of which means, Pedro must go, and early.

  4. Rose says:

    Don’t mean to repeat this…but it’s more relevant over here…

    Check out this pretty awesome statistic…

    This year…Andy Pettitte won the AL East clinching game, the LDS series clinching game against the Twins, AND the LCS series clinching game against the Angels…

    It’s just perfectly fitting that he top off that weird stat with winning the World Series clinching game!!!!

    Sidenote: Mariano Rivera closed out every one of those games as well…

    LET’S GO YANKEES!!!

  5. Jake H says:

    I think that the reason that Andy wasn’t great last game was because of the rain delay. Also I think this is more important. Here is how many pitches Andy has thrown in the playoffs,

    ALDS 10/11 81 pitches
    ALCS 10/19 95 pitches
    ALCS 10/25 99 pitches
    WS 10/31 104 pitches

    So over the last 20 days Andy has thrown 379 pitches. Avg 95 pitches.

    Those aren’t huge amounts of pitches. You would think that it would keep Andy fresher then normal.

    • Didn’t he make a comment before Game Two about how rested the pitching staff’s been and what not? Joe’s done a great job of keeping Andy rested in the playoffs and I have full confidence in Pettitte coming through tonight.

      Also, if we extend this back to Pettitte’s last few starts in the regular season, he hasn’t thrown over 105 pitches since August 14th vs. the Royals. In fact, he only went over 105 pitches eight times this season. It definitely seems as though Andy is well rested and ready for this start.

      • Jake H says:

        I agree. Looking at his game logs down the stretch he was more efficient with his pitches. People are saying he’s going to have a bad game because game 3 he told Yankee hitters he didn’t have it. I think that was because of starting and then stopping because of the rain delay. Also if he didn’t have it and was still able to give them 6 inings, 4 runs and 7k’s that is pretty good.

        Also all Andy has to do is give them 6 innings and 3 runs to win the game. I think by that point they will be up by 2 runs and the BP will have to give them 1 inning to get to MO.

    • Rose says:

      The following is taken from another Yankee Blog Site and sums this whole “rest” thing up pretty perfectly…

      “AJ Burnett, CC Sabathia, and Andy Pettitte have combined to throw over 100,000 major league pitches, and the Yankees are asking them to skip one single off day in order to throw just a few more. If these pitchers or so finicky, tempermental, and frail that they can’t handle occasionally pitching on three days’ rest, they don’t belong in the major leagues.”

      Not that this necessarily means he’ll have a good outing…but at least it puts things into perspective…might calm some of the nerves a little.

    • RCK says:

      I think the important point here in addition to the pitch count, is that every one of those starts came on more than regular rest. So he has had plenty of rest this month.

  6. Aaron - Long Island says:

    I think there is one you missed:

    October 19, 2009 @ LAA: 6.1 IP, 7 H, 1 BB, 3 R, 95 pitches, 0.02 WPA
    October 25, 2009 vs LAA: 6.1 IP, 7 H, 1 BB, 1 R, 99 pitches, 0.23 WPA

    I don’t think it really makes the analysis one way or another to include this one, but considering the similarity in circumstances maybe this instance is the most encouraging?

    I sure hope so.

    • Aaron - Long Island says:

      On second thought, I think my memory kind of failed me, as Pettite really didn’t struggle as much as I seem to remember in game 3 of the ALCS (cept for the one pitch to Vlad).

      Sorry about that.

      • larryf says:

        and that was after JOE came out to tell him to throw a 88mph fastball down the middle. Seems to me we just need to keep Joe from coming out to the mound tonight…Let’s hope Andy picks somebody off as well…

    • Mike Axisa says:

      I specific looked at starts on just 4 days’ rest to get as close to short rest as possible. Those two starts you listed are 5 days’ apart.

  7. DFD says:

    With all this talk of short rest and Andy’s age, it’s comical that people are trying to predict the outcome of an unpredictable sport. Maybe the strike zone is in Andy’s favor tonight, maybe it isn’t. Maybe there’s an error that completely changes the game. Maybe the benches get warned over a HBP. Maybe Jeffrey Maier is sitting by the wall in right field again with his glove ready.

    I’m an engineer, and trends speak volumes to me. We can make predictions based on the past, and yea they often prove to be true. But you just never know. It’s not over till it’s over.

    This isn’t the Pedro of 1999 pitching either.

    • Rose says:

      I’m an engineer, and trends speak volumes to me. We can make predictions based on the past, and yea they often prove to be true.

      All the stats do is give us an idea of a similar situation. And some assurance that it HAS happened before…so it COULD happen again. That’s about it. Doesn’t guarantee anything and doesn’t provide much more than that.

      That being said…I’ll take a seasoned veteran with a long history of success over any small sample sized individual stat any day.

      • whozat says:

        “I’ll take a seasoned veteran with a long history of success over any small sample sized individual stat any day.”

        That.

  8. Tank Foster says:

    Interesting article looking at pitching matchups for game 6 and (let’s hope not) game 7.

    http://www.realclearsports.com.....96524.html

    I hope Manuel doesn’t listen to this guy.

  9. Rose says:

    Game Three over the weekend wasn’t kind to Andy, but he battled through six innings while putting eight men on base and letting four runners cross the plate.

    He did have 7 K’s though…albeit 3 of them were a slumping Ryan Howard…Utley K’d twice too though (not sure if both were via Pettitte though).

    It just seems like the Phillies have ONE GUY that just smashes the ball off of each one of our starters. Utley and Sabathia, Werth and Pettitte…etc.

    Solid Andy will give us what we need…but he’s obviously not that dominant shut down pitcher…so we’ll have to score more runs off Pedro than last time out…

  10. Matt from NJ via Boston says:

    I’m a long time follower of the blog but this is the first time I have been compelled to comment. Three days rest for one start is not a big deal at all, assuming the pitcher is not nursing an injury. I’ve pitched all my life, and currently do so in college. I can tell you that extra day is not a huge deal when you are talking about a huge game like this. I know Andy isn’t 21 like myself, but he is a competitor and I expect that his performance will have nothing to do with his rest and everything to do with his stuff and execution.

    Also, not that this is new news, but everyone at ESPN are idiots. There are four articles talking about how the Phillies control the series now, and have the Yanks on the ropes. They reference Andy’s impending start on three days rest of course. They even say Utley, Howard, and Ibanez are going to adjust and hit him. (When has Ryan Howard ever adjusted to the outside breaking ball?)Those three were 0-8 with 5 K’s in Andy’s last start, and that was when he didn’t have any of his stuff working for him. I’m sorry but aren’t we are up 3-2 going back home, with Andy and CC lined up, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

    • Aaron says:

      I understand and agree with your sentiments towards ESPN. The media has to drum up interest in each game of the series; I mean, the Phillies were going to sweep the Yankees after Game 1 and then they were going to lose Game 5 because the Yankees were naturally superior after 3 straight wins. Now there is a 2004 collapse lurking around the corner because AJ had a bad game. Yes, ESPN can be rather annoying at times!

      • Yes, ESPN can be rather annoying at times!

        I can’t remember the last time I watched ESPN for more than five consecutive minutes.

        • Bo says:

          Why do you people care what “experts” and pundits are writing?

          They are writing to get eyeballs and be controversial.

          • Matt from NJ via Boston says:

            It becomes annoying when their arguements are illogical and they are writing for a prominent sports news source such as ESPN. Their work isn’t very impressive for guys that get paid to follow baseball. It is just amazing that someone would beleive the Phillies are in control going back to NY down a game in the series with Andy, who has been great for the Yankees over his career, and CC, who has been great this postseason. Not to mention the Phillies have Pedro and then a big question mark going.

          • JMK aka The Overshare says:

            Exactly. Well said, Bo.

          • Aaron says:

            Sometimes fans just like to vent. Excuse me for doing so, it will never happen again.

    • Rose says:

      The reason this years ratings are so high is not only because there are a lot of Yankee fans out there…but sooo many people out there watch it rooting for them to lose. While they are close to the most loved franchise in sports (arguably)…they are definitely the most hated in sports.

      While Boston’s and the other team’s newspapers write positive stories about their players and how their team can never do any wrong (for the most part)…New York is a Hollywood city…and the Yankees are the main attraction. The New York “tabloids” don’t hide any scandals like the Boston ones might. In fact, they might start some up to sell more papers/magazines.

      ESPN knows that hating the Yankees sells…so they cleverly market it as such. They all try to take away accomplishments and get them to panic about things that don’t make any sense. It also gives the fans that hate them something to look forward to.

      It’s funny how they always pick the Yankees to win…but then during any given series (as it’s playing out exactly how they previously predicted) they start creating nonsense and talk about how “the Yankees are in trouble, the momentum as shifted!”
      Full of contradictions. Always.

  11. CountryClub says:

    Andy will be better than fine.

    6.1 innings and 2 earned runs

  12. Frank says:

    I see neither pitcher being around more than 5 innings tonight. This will be an offensive game with the better BP winning out. Hopefully, Tex and Cano can break out of their slumps.

  13. Reggie C. says:

    I really believe that Pedro Martinez’s execution will be off tonight. I’m not gonna wager Pedro repeating AJ Burnett’s disaster , but Pedro’s stuff isn’t what it once was and coming off a 100 pitch effort, I fully expect Pedro’s stuff to deteriorate rapidly.

  14. Rose says:

    THE ANDY MAN CAN!!!

  15. Mike says:

    Good analysis. I’m bad with finding stats — how about Andy following a loss in the playoffs?

  16. larryf says:

    Can we expect objective reporting from John Yuk???

  17. theyankeewarrior says:

    Yankees win 8-4.

  18. Mike bk says:

    I think he goes 5.2-6.1 4R. anything better is a bonus.

  19. KB says:

    I’m really nervous for this game, but not because of all this 3-days rest controversy…I’m nervous because it’s game 6 of the World freakin’ Series and the team I love has a chance to close it out at home.

    I’m nervous because their opponent is pretty damn good. That said, the Yankees are pretty damn good…Phillies fans ought to be nervous, too.

    I am confident that if Pettitte can go 5+ and give up 4 or less runs, the Yanks can pull this out tonight. I am confident that the Yanks can get to Pedro, and put up some runs against him.

    Good luck to all of the Yankees players tonight.

  20. Bo says:

    If Andy can do what he did to the lefty’s in the lineup on Sat he’ll be fine.

  21. Riddering says:

    How about this for a stat:

    I’ve run this game over and over in my mind and in not one scenario played there have we lost. WHOOO!

  22. RKelly39 says:

    If Andy comes through here – picks up a hard fought W – does he get a nod for series MVP?

    • whozat says:

      no. Maybe if he throws a CG shutout, but anything less…he’d be at 13 innings, 4ER if he threw 7 shutout and handed it to mo. Even with that…I’m not sure you could make a real case for him over, say CC.

      • RKelly39 says:

        Agreed, the numbers aren’t eye-popping. But the intangibles are in play. He really fought hard to get the last win. He had a clutch hit. If he won today on short rest he would get my vote. (Barring A-Rod the centaur going nuts with 4 RBIs.)

      • Rose says:

        Mo has got to be the MVP…especially if he nails it down tonight.

        If it’s a blow out and everybody contributes? I think you might have to give Damon a look…no?

  23. Coach6423 says:

    Andy goes 7, 4 h, 1er, 7 k, and walks into the sunset.

  24. Mark B. says:

    Who actually votes for the playoff MVPs? Buck, McCarver and the writers attending the game?

  25. River Ave. Blues notes the short rest data on Andy Pettitte is very old, so he looks at how Andy pitched after stressful outings in 2009. It’s turns out, pretty close to his season averages. …

  26. Raf says:

    2nd part is off topic so the guys here wont like it to much but just remember that the WBC was this year and that pushed back the start of the season and the playoffs

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