Pettitte allows five runs in latest minor league start

Game 28: Through the rain
Sunday Night Open Thread

Andy Pettitte allowed five runs (three earned) in five innings for Triple-A Empire State today, his latest minor league tune-up start. There was a little defensive funny business going on in the first and second innings — Steve Pearce dropped a pop-up and Brandon Laird booted a grounder — but five runs is five runs. Andy walked two (including the certifiably awful Jose Iglesias) and struck out five, throwing 62 of his 95 pitches for strikes. The stadium gun had him at 85-87 with the cutter, which is normal.

The Yankees said they wanted Pettitte to throw ~100 pitches in two minor league starts before considering him for a call-up, and he’s now done that. Whether or not his command is big league ready is another matter. With Phil Hughes pitching not terribly this afternoon, the Yankees could have Andy throw one more minor league start just to fine tune things some things if they want.

Game 28: Through the rain
Sunday Night Open Thread
  • LiterallyFigurative

    Giving up hits to Iglesias is a punishable offense.

    Send Andy to Single A!


  • RetroRob

    His cutter was 85-87? His fastball consistently averaged 89 up to 2010, although cutters less, so sounds like he might be off by several miles.

    Either way, it probably wouldn’t hurt to have him start another game in the minors since Hughes was fine today and Phelps showed enough. It really depends on how Andy looked today and how he felt, which we can’t tell from the boxscore.

    • DM

      Yeah, I don’t know about this “usual” 85-87 stuff. He should throw harder than that. Not to bring up the velo thing again, but he seems a shade short still. But I could see them starting Andy next time at home against the Mariners if he feels fine — with Phelps or Eppley being farmed out. Either way Hughes probably bought himself 3 more starts with this outing.

      • Mike Axisa

        85-87 is actually up compared to 2010:

        Cutter =/= four-seamer

        • DM

          I’m worried about the 4-seamer that he cuts — which I hope they’re (meaning the reports from minors) not counting as his “cutter”. He said he’s had trouble reaching back for something more on his fastball since he’s been rehabbing. If his hard cutter isn’t any harder than his sweeping cutter, that’s trouble.

          • RetroRob

            Right. That’s why I don’t want to read too much into that Tweet from the SWB Yankees. If his cutter is 85-87, then that’s more than fine because it means his 4-seamer is probably in the 88-90 range. Yet I have not heard him hitting 89 or 90 with his fastball in any of his starts, which is why I’m questioning if his cutter was 85-87.

            Probably why it doesn’t make much sense for me to try and figuure out what’s going on in minor league games. The Yankees will have to assess how he looked and how he’s commanding his pitches.

            If I had to guess, the biggest issue he has right now is consistent command. Considering he’s pushing 40, and hasn’t faced MLB hitters in nineteen months, another start for SWB might not be a bad idea. He’s only faced one AA and one AAA lineup, and those level of pros are better at taking pitches, recognizing breaking pitches, and working counts. They’ll push him, which should help build his command. He’s also yet to actually throw 100+ pitches, or pitch six innings against these higher lineups.

            I’m thinking one more minor league start is not a bad idea, yet if he doesnt pitch this weekend against the Mariners at home, then he’ll have to make his first start against the Blue Jays in Toronto. That might factor into their decision. I just hope that if he pitchs in NY next weekend that eithers either on Friday or Sunday. Based on the start time, Saturday’s game looks like a FOX-5 game. Screw that. Don’t give them Andy’s return.

            • TomH

              If he’s not getting another AAA start, my own preference would be to have him start against the Mariners rather than against the Jays, in that homer-happy Rogers Center.

          • Ted Nelson

            He said that several starts ago as far as I know. Piecing together quotes from earlier in his “spring training” and tweets about his velo on a cut fastball is not scientific… Not something to be worried about.

  • Tyrone Sharpton

    Are you kidding? phelps, not hughes, is going to get cut out of the rotation when andy returns

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Seems more like a toss-up after today for sure.

      • YankeeFan

        Was never a toss-up to start? Hughes has shown some of his best stuff in the last two outings. I understand the bias against Hughes as he has been a massive disappointment, but ‘not terribly’? He pitched very good.

        • Havok9120

          He couldn’t beg, borrow, or steal an out early on. He’s certainly trending upwards the last two starts, but he’s done that before.

          • Kosmo

            With Phelps, Hughes and Pettitte it is more than likely a start to start lets wait and see. No guarantee Pettitte pitches like he did in 2010 or to his career ERA of 3.85 or so. If Phelps pitches well in his next start and Hughes doesn´t then it starts to get interesting.
            It depends on what kind of leash Hughes is on.

          • Cris Pengiucci

            I’m of the opinion that Andy gets one more start at some level to see where he is with his control. That also gives Phelps another start and gives the Yankees another chance to evaluate. I suspect it’ll be Phelps to the ‘pen when Andy gets back.

        • Ben

          Exactly, I don’t get the sudden turn on Hughes. He pitched a great game today. Leaking Fastball’s were still an issue to butler and quintero, but other than that he looked as good as i recall seeing him.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          No bias around here. Read around. I’m one of the biggest Hughes supporters on here. You couldn’t tell me, two starts ago, though, that he wasn’t on his way to a one-way ticket to the bullpen.

        • Tom

          He’s given up 7ER in 12.1IP in his last 2 starts (with 3HR allowed)

          He’s pitched “better”, but at some point the results matter and talk of better stuff is nice but that’s all it is. He has an ERA of 5.71 over the last two “very good” starts.

          It’s certainly a good sign and the Royals are a pretty good hitting club (especially against righties) but it’s still 7ER in 12 innings (or 6 if you want to discount the inherited runner scoring in the last start)

          My main concern is that the last 2 starts looks like about the best that we can expect from Hughes. If 3-4ER over ~6 IP was the average performance that would be fine for a 5th starter, but I don’t know how sustainable this is.

          • Tom

            Oops – make that 5.11 ERA over the last 2 games

            • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

              Which drops to 4.5 if we exclude that inherited runner. Around league average that, no?

          • RetroRob

            The other issue is there is no clear replacement for Hughes. Phelps? I want to see him start more, but he’s a totally new pitcher to the league that teams are now heavily scouting on the MLB level. He might walk into his next start and give up six runs in the first inning.

            Hughes looked a little better in his last start, and built on that on this start. I’m willing to put him back out there again if the option is bullpen and Phelps.

          • YanksFanInBeantown

            The third HR came on pitch 115. He gets a little slack for that.

          • Ted Nelson

            This. Thank you. 7 IP 3 ERs is a good start, but hardly “very good.” That’s a start an MLB starter should be having every few starts. It shouldn’t be exponentially better than any other start on the season. Before today I think it was very much up in the air between Hughes and Phelps, and don’t think one start totally changes that by any means.

            Hughes mechanics are still awful. Can’t see him finding prolonged MLB success until he totally re-works his motion.

  • bpdelia

    Id say hughes was better than not bad. He looked downright aGOOD to me. Threw hard all game change looked like a legit weapon and the curve looked much more like the tight slider action curve he had 4 or 5 years ago. AEXTREMELY encouraged after these last two starta demonstrated real progress. It would be an epic blunder to pull the plug now. With so little upside left in the rotation hughes is really the inly remaining x factor. To me you throw phelps in the mitchell role and let garcia be the long guy and slide pettite in as the number 5

    • Ted Nelson

      I don’t know if you pull the plug right after that start, but I think it’s far more likely that was an aberration than a sustainable improvement. Even terrible starters have the occasional good start. His mechanics haven’t changed, and that’s the issue to me.

      • Scheister of Doom

        All of this. Hughes needs at least a resemblance of sustained success to prove its anything other than an aberration IMO.

      • bpdelia

        fair enough, though the deception inherent in his mechanics was always a big reason for his success, that awkwRd short arming makes him hide the ball well. still we are talking about only phelps vs hughes here. and with the current lack of upside it would be insane to pull huhhes in favor of phelps. the question for me is whether a 40 year old Andy pettite who hasnt had a good minor league start yet is better than phelps right now. hughes is throwing harder than he has in years. tobight was the best change we have ever seen from him and his curve is looking much much better. im not saying it has suddenly clicked. im simply arguing that the last two stats were encouraging both stuff wise and results wise.

  • Cuso

    Very happy with Hughes’ start today. That said, I anticipated that against KC on the road he would be somewhat better.

    I’m far from ready to jump on the “Hughes earned 3 more guaranteed starts” bus. He needs to keep showing it. To me, he gets one more guaranteed start. That would coincide with the additional start I’d like to see Pettitte make in SWB. It seems clear from reports that he’s not “quite” ready.

    If Phelps completely implores with his opportunity, so be it. Hughes keeps the spot by default. But I’m not of the opinion that he “bought” himself a great deal with one start that happened to coincide with an offense that FINALLY broke out.

    • Cuso

      Implores -> implodes

      • bpdelia

        again, fair enough. the dude has earned nothing. we.are 6 years in and tonight was the first time I recall EVER seeing a usable change. it is on him. but even with the hot gun hughes was probably 93 all night and the change looked real. the royals are.big leaguers with 4 legit hitters in moose, girdon, butler and hosmer. this wasnt the 2011 mariners