Andy Pettitte‘s next start will be the final game at Yankee Stadium. I’m beginning to think it might be Pettitte’s last start at the stadium as well.
The lefty’s losing ways continued last night as the Yanks dropped a game to the White Sox, 6-2. With 11 games left in the season, they are ten games out of first place and nine out of the Wild Card. In a few days, the Yankees will officially miss the playoffs for the first time since there were no playoffs in 1994. It is a shocking reality.
But back to Pettitte. Since July 31, Pettitte has been nothing short of terrible. In ten starts, he’s 1-7 with a 6.45 ERA. In 60 innings, he’s given up 80 hits while walking 21 and striking out 48. He’s pitching to a Ponsonian WHIP of 1.68, and many of those baserunners are coming around to score.
Through the end of July, Pettitte was 12-7 with a 3.76 ERA. He’s now 13-14. He’s set a career high in losses and is facing the prospects of his first losing season. Even worse than his numbers, though, is he stuff. Watching him toil through six innings today, I could see that Pettitte just didn’t have it. He couldn’t get righties out, and his pitches weren’t confounding left-handed hitters either.
A few months ago, word got around that Pettitte may have been injured. But, as with Derek Jeter, A-Rod, Jorge Posada and Johnny Damon, Pettitte is one of those players who won’t sit out, who won’t take himself out, who won’t give up on his team. It’s an admirable trait, but he hasn’t been able to help the team since July. Something’s going on, and we don’t know what it is.
So as the Yankees gear up for a major off-season in which the Front Office could decide to cut ties with many long-time Yankees, Andy Pettitte is going to have to convince the Yankee brass that he, if hurt, can and wants to come back. He’s going to have to convince himself too that he can come back.
Andy Pettitte made his Major League debut at Yankee Stadium on April 29, 1995. It was the third game of the strike-shortened season, and he threw 0.2 innings in relief, allowing two runs on three hits. Gary Gaetti, Greg Gagne and Phil Hiatt put together a mini-rally that pushed Pettitte from the game. The Yanks would go on to win anyway.
On Sunday night, Pettitte will receive the ultimate honor of throwing the final first pitch at the House that Ruth Built, and as his body wears down on him, as he ages, he could be facing the reality of a life without baseball. Sunday’s game would be a fitting end for Pettitte. I hope he’s up for the task.
Chad Jennings – who else? – has the news. Miranda signed a 4-yr, $2M ML deal prior to the 2007 season, so he’s already on the 40-man and there’s no need for a roster move. The lefty swinging Cuban defector pounded RHP to the tune of .332-.436-.534 this year, but managed only .195-.258-.280 off southpaws. I suspect we’ll be seeing a little less of Giambi the rest of the season. · (14) ·
Triple-A Scranton (4-1 loss to Sacramento) Sacramento wins their second straight Bricktown Showdown
Justin Christian & Eric Duncan: both 0 for 4 – E-Dunc K’ed twice
Chris Basak & Juan Miranda: both 1 for 4, 1 K - Miranda doubled
Shelley Duncan: 0 for 3, 1 BB, 3 K
Ben Broussard & Ramiro Pena: both 1 for 3 – Broussard drew a walk … Pena drove in the only run & committed a fielding error
Matt Carson: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 K – he’s gonna be a 6-yr MiL FA this winter, so this may have been his last game with the Yanks
Chris Stewart: 1 for 2, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K
Ian Kennedy: 5 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 WP, 5-3 GB/FB – 56 of 96 pitches were strikes (58.3%) … looked rather crappy in the first when he gave up the 3 runs, but he settled down nicely and kept his team in for another 4 frames
Steven Jackson: 1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 3-0 GB/FB – 11 of 17 pitches were strikes (64.7%)
Chase Wright: 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 1 HB, 0-1 GB/FB
Mark Melancon: 1.2 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 2-2 GB/FB – 12 of 14 pitches were strikes (85.7%) … he was a beast, no bullshit, here it is, hit it if you can
Double-A Trenton’s season is over; they won the league championship.
High-A Tampa’s season is over; they did not qualify for the playoffs. The Daytona Cubs won the league championship.
Low-A Charleston’s season is over; they did not qualify for the playoffs. The Augusta Green Jackets (Giants) won the league championship.
Short Season Staten Island’s season is over; they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. The Batavia Muckdogs (Cards) won the league championship.
The Rookie GCL Yanks’ season is over. The GCL Phils won the league championship.
DotF will be back when the Hawaii Winter Baseball season starts on Sept 27. See you then.
Sorry this is a bit late tonight. We’re taking you right up to game time. For those who want to watch the AAA team rather than the big leagues, you can check out the Bricktown Showdown on ESPN 2. Mike has the game thread, so you can comment along there. Over here, we’ll talk about the Yankees taking on the White Sox.
And on the mound, number forty-six, Andy Pettitte.
It all comes down to this. After a grueling 144-game regular seaspn and all sorts of playoff craziness, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees face the Sacramento River Cats in tonight’s Bricktown Showdown to crown the undisputed champion of Triple-A baseball. Sacramento won the whole schabang last year, so the path to victory is not going to be an easy one for the Yanks.
On the mound for the good guys is Ian Kennedy, who drew the assignment after asking Dave Miley for the ball. You gotta love a guy who wants the ball in the biggest game of the year, I suspect we may see some great things out of Mr. Kennedy tonight. Kevin Russo & Ramiro Pena have joined the team as reserve infielders, and Chase Wright will be available out of the bullpen. Once IPK does his thing, we’ll probably get a peak at Mark Melancon.
Chad Jennings broke down the matchup position-by-position, and will bring you the same great coverage from Oklahama that he does from Scranton. The game is being broadcast on ESPN2, so if you’re sick of watching meaningless Yankees’ games, check out one that matters.
While the Yankee employees will all venture north to the new stadium next year, these folks who hawk scorecards, hot dogs and beer have their fair share of Yankee Stadium memories. M.A. Mehta hunted down a few of those workers, and Mehta’s resultant story offers up a nice look at people we as fans often take for granted. With the last weekend of Yankee Stadium upon us, I’ll have more on the stadium over the next few days, including a damning report from Richard Brodsky about the stadium funding deals. Stay tuned. · (6) ·
Baseball America has started it’s annual look into each leagues top 20 prospects, starting yesterday with the Rookie level Arizona League (not to be confused with the Arizona Fall League), and continuing today with the Rookie level Gulf Coast League. Twins’ first rounder Aaron Hicks grabbed the top spot, and was followed by Marlins’ first rounder Kyle Skipworth. Only one Yankees’ farmhand made the list – 17-yr old RHP Arodys Vizcaino, who came in at #11. Brett Marshall likely would have made the list if he didn’t sign so late.
You can see the top 20 list schedule here; the next one of interest to Yankees’ fans is the Short Season NY-Penn League this Friday. · (30) ·
Like him or hate him, Michael Kay will be calling Yankees games on YES for at least the next three years. Neil Best, in a column otherwise dedicated to Chris Russo’s first show on Sirius Radio, brings us the news. The deal will take him through 2011, giving him ten years with the station. · (59) ·
Bob Sheppard has seen more games at Yankee Stadium than anyone else in the organization, but he won’t be on hand for the historic finale this Sunday. Last year, the long-time public address announcer contracted a bad case of bronchitis and pneumonia. He missed the end of last season and has yet to appear at Yankee Stadium this year. While Sheppard had aimed to announce this Sunday’s game, Jim Baumbach reports this morning that Sheppard is still not healthy enough to put an eight-hour shift at the stadium.
In fact, Sheppard isn’t strong enough to attend the game as a guest of the Steinbrenner’s, according to Baumbach. “My heart will be up in the Bronx, but my body will be in front of the television,” he said. Sheppard, however, hopes to welcome the crowd to the new stadium in April. He is, after all, under contract for next year. · (10) ·
Hideki Matsui hasn’t seen much action lately. He’s been riding the bench since the first game of Saturday’s double header and is 0 for his last 16. Since returning from his knee injury, Matsui is hitting just .205/.267/.325 in 90 plate appearances. Now, word comes that, as soon as the Yankees are eliminated, Matsui will probably get the knee surgery he’s been putting off for a while. Considering his lack of production over the last few weeks, he probably should have just gotten the surgery earlier this year. Matsui is under contract for the 2009 season, and it will be interesting to see how the Yankees manage to slot him into their plans to say the least. · (16) ·