Category: Andy Pettitte

Andy Pettitte Day will happen in the Bronx on August 23rd

Andy Pettitte pitching at Yankee Stadium

Andy Pettitte pitching at Yankee Stadium

Andy Pettitte will rightfully be honored in the Bronx on August 23rd after pitching for the Yankees for 15 seasons. According to his son Josh, his No. 46 will be retired and he will receive a plaque in Monument Park. The Yankees haven’t made an official announcement yet but will likely do so in the next few days.

He will follow other other notable Yankees who have either received a plaque or had their number retired. Goose Gossage, Paul O’Neill and Tino Martinez all received plaques in Monument Park last summer while Joe Torre’s No. 6 was retired during the 2014 season. It has also been announced that Bernie Williams, who won four World Series rings with the Yankees, will be honored in 2015, and Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada are obviously the next candidates to have a day dedicated to them at Yankee Stadium.

Torre was elected into the Hall of Fame last summer based on his four World Series championships with the Yankees, Martinez and O’Neill helped him win those rings in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000. Gossage pitched for the Yankees for six seasons and part of a seventh, and he was an All-Star four of those seasons while helping the Yankees win the World Series in 1978.

Pettitte was a key member of the pitching staff when the Yankees won the World Series in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009. Throughout his career, the lefty with an intense stare could always be relied on to pitch well after the Yankees had lost a game. The 42-year-old from Louisiana who grew up near Houston embraced pitching for the Yankees, and his fire and desire helped him finish with a record of 219-127 with the Yankees.

In those 15 seasons with the Yankees (he pitched three seasons for his hometown Houston Astros), he had 15 or more wins seven times, started 30 or more games 11 times, pitched 185 innings or more 11 times and had 150 or more strikeouts five times. He could always be relied on to keep the team in the game, get an out or double play when he needed one and come up big under pressure. He was an All-Star three times, finished second in the Cy Young voting in 1996 and had a 3.94 ERA.

He is the team’s all-time leader in strikeouts (2,020). Pettitte is third on the Yankees’ all-time wins list (219), third in innings (2,796.1) and is third in pitching WAR (51.6). A case can be made that he is one of the top-three starting pitchers in franchise history, which makes him deserve having his number retired and having his image live forever in Monument Park. No. 46 will be the team’s 18th retired number, and when Jeter’s No. 2 is retired this season or next season there will officially be no more single digit numbers available.

Andy Pettitte went out on top on Saturday with his 219th win as a Yankee

Andy Pettitte going out for a curtain call after his final start.

Andy Pettitte going out for a curtain call after his final start.

The 2-1 win by the Yankees over the Astros at Minute Maid Park gave Andrew Eugene Pettitte a win in his final start for the Yankees. It was the 256th win of his career and 219th with the Yankees (he pitched three seasons for the Astros). His 219 wins are the third most in the illustrious history of the Yankees.

It is only fitting that Andy Pettitte’s final Major League start came in Houston because that is where he is from. He actually lives in Deer Park, and Pettitte said that it is a 20-minute drive from Minute Maid Park. Pettitte said that he left tickets for 50 family and friends to attend this game. Tonight showed how much the city of Houston is behind Pettitte because he got a standing ovation in the eighth inning and again in the ninth inning.

After the game, Joe Girardi said that it was going to be Pettitte’s call when or if he came out of the game. In the ninth inning, with Chris Carter on first base, Giradi came to the mound to see if he had enough in him to get the final out, and Pettitte said he wanted to do it. He ended up allowing only five hits and one run in his final Major League start. It was his first complete game since a start in 2006 for the Astros.

He was able to induce the final two double plays of his career to go along with adding five more strikeouts. His strikeout of Brandon Barnes in the eighth inning was his 2,448th of his career. There were only two innings where the Astros had runners in scoring position, and the only run the Astros scored was on a groundout by Chris Carter.

The Yankees scored both of their runs in the sixth inning. Robinson Cano’s single to shallow right, which was one of his two hits, drove in Chris Stewart. That RBI was Cano’s 107th of the season. Eduardo Nunez scored what ended up being the winning run, as the Astros catcher, Matt Pagnozzi, spiked the ball into the ground as he was trying to throw to second allowing Nunez to score from third.

He finished with 275 wins when you combine his wins from the regular season and the postseason. His 19 playoff wins are the most in MLB history. He has pitched 67.2 innings more in the postseason than the second place finisher, John Smoltz, but it is impressive that he has not let the increased pressure of the playoff games get to him.

One of his best games of his career came in Game 5 of the ’96 World Series where he out-dueled John Smoltz. This was his second season and in a match-up against Smoltz he allowed only five hits in a game the Yankees would win 1-0. 1996 would be the first of Pettitte’s five World Series championships.

Pettitte is retiring after 18 seasons pitched in the major leagues, 15 for the Yankees and three for the Astros. The win on Saturday night had added significance because it meant that he never had a record below .500 in any of his 18 seasons (11-11 this season). He is the only pitcher in baseball history to pitch at least 15 seasons and not have one season under .500. He finished with a career record of 256 and 153 and a 3.85 ERA.  The high ERA and admitted PED usage might keep him out of the Hall of Fame but he would be worthy based on his other numbers.

In his final 10 starts this season, Pettitte had a remarkable 1.94 ERA. His cutter was on point during the whole game. It is fitting that during his final start he had a season-high of 116 pitches since he always wanted to do all he could to get the Yankees a win and that is exactly what he did in this start. He is one of the best competitors in baseball history and that is what he did up until the very end.

Mariano Rivera announced before Saturday’s game that he will not pitch or play the outfield in Sunday’s game. He thought that based on his performance and ceremony during Thursday’s game at Yankee Stadium that that was a perfect way to go out. There were rumors of him getting a few innings in centerfield as he has often put on a show in batting practice but he has developed an injury based on his increased usage to end the season.

However, even though it would have made sense for two of the great winners in MLB history to make the playoffs in their final season, it is great that Rivera and Pettitte were both able to end their careers pitching well.

The Yankees loss to the Giants effectively ended their season

Mariano Rivera with his wife at the retirement ceremony.

Mariano Rivera with his wife at the retirement ceremony.

The Yankees lost to the San Francisco Giants 2-1 Sunday afternoon effectively ending the slim hopes they had of getting a wild-card spot. They are now four games back with six games left to play.

They got vintage performances from Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte, who both did all they could to get a win for the team during Pettitte’s last start at Yankee Stadium and the day where there was an hour-long ceremony for Rivera before the game, but the offense was not able to come through in clutch situations.

Andy Pettitte, who will likely fall just below qualifying for the Hall of Fame based on his 3.86 career ERA and admitted PED usage, is one of the best pitchers in Yankees history. Pettitte’s 19 wins are the most in playoff history and has been able to come with clutch performances repeatedly throughout his great career. He has pitched in three All-Star Games in his career but has never won a Cy Young award. Pettitte had eight seasons where he won 15 or more games on his way to 255 career wins (as of now). He has won 102 more games than he has lost. During yesterday’s game, he pitched seven excellent innings while only allowing two runs.

Mariano Rivera, who was honored before the game with a live singing of “Enter Sandman” by Metallica will obviously be inducted into the Hall of Fame as a result of being the best closer in baseball history. The Yankees retired his number 42 (he will be the last player to wear the number) before the game with his wife and three sons right next to him. Also in attendance were Jackie Robinson’s widow Rachel Robinson and his daughter, as well as some of his former teammates including Hideki Matsui, David Cone, Bernie Williams, Paul O’Neil, Jorge Posada and Jeff Nelson. Some of the gifts from the Yankees to Rivera included a custom-designed Watorford Crystal of his glove from 2013 that even included his signature and “Phil:13” that he has written on it, a $100,000 check to the Mariano RIvera foundation, a baseball-bat rocking chair and a watercolor artwork by a San Francisco artist depicting Rivera’s appearance at AT&T Park on June 22, 2007. Rivera pitched 1.2 scoreless innings while only allowing one hit.

The game would have been even more special if Pettitte would have been able to have been awarded a win and Rivera a save but at least they did their part. Pettitte took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and the first hit that he allowed was Ehire Adrianza’s first career homer. In the top of the eighth, Pettitte allowed a lead off double to Pablo “Kung Fu Panda” Sandoval, which prompted Joe Girardi to bring in David Robertson. Tony Abreu hit a double off of Abreu, which accounted for Pettitte’s second earned run. With one start left, in Houston, Pettitte is in danger of finishing under .500 for the season for the first time in his career.

Holding the Giants to only two runs should have been enough to win the game on Mariano Rivera Day, but the Yankees did not convert with runners in scoring position in four different innings. In the seventh inning, the Yankees had an opportunity to put multiple runs on the board after having runners on second and third with one out, Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells both struck out swinging. In the eighth inning, after Robinson Cano’s double put runners on second and third with no outs, Alfonso Soriano grounded into a fielder’s choice and Curtis Granderson struck out.

In the eighth inning, adding to the team’s bad luck was that Zoilo Almonte and Cano were both thrown out at home. Almonte was not even close. The only run that the Yankees scored was Mark Reynolds’s 20th homer of the season. In the past week, the Yankees have two losses to the Blue Jays and their loss yesterday to the Giants. They would still have a chance if they would have won those games against sub .500 teams.

It is unfortunate that Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte will not be able to play in the playoffs in their final season. Pettitte and Rivera have both won five World Series championships with the Yankees and Rivera has pitched in the playoffs with the Yankees every season from 1996 until 2011, except for 2008 when they missed the playoffs.

The Yankees will look to Phil Hughes to get back on track

Phil Hughes

Phil Hughes

The Yankees won two out of three game in the weekend series against the Baltimore Orioles. However, they definitely had a chance to win the third game on Sunday.

They were winning 3-0 in the sixth inning when Joe Girardi took Andy Pettitte out of the game with runners on first and second. It made sense that he put Shawn Kelley into the game, since he had prevented a very small amount of inherited runners to score this season, but unfortunately Kelley gave up a single and a home run to J.J. Hardy, which was the start of a seven run inning for the Orioles.

Girardi can’t really be blamed for bringing in Kelley because Pettitte was approaching 100 pitches (93) and that has been his limit this season. He is 41, so it makes sense for him not to throw too many pitches especially because it has been working recently. The bullpen has been very reliable recently and that was a situation where Kelley should have come through for the team.

Another factor that contributed to the loss for the Yankees was that they left 10 men on base and went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position. For the rest of the season, the Yankees can’t afford to waste opportunities like they did Sunday afternoon.

The Yankees had a chance to move within 2.5 games of a Wild-Card spot if they had won because the Tampa Bay Rays lost yet again to the Oakland Athletics. Their loss on Sunday makes the upcoming series against the Chicago White Sox even more important for the Yankees to sweep.

Phil Hughes, who has a 1.38 ERA in 10 games pitched and six starts against the White Sox, will start Monday afternoon. He has been the least reliable and inconsistent pitcher this season for the Yankees, but Hughes does pitch better at home and has a history of pitching well against Chicago. Hughes, whose 4.91 ERA is one of the worst in baseball, has pitched better recently as he has not allowed more than three runs in his last three starts.

The Yankees will need Hughes to pitch into the the sixth inning allowing three runs or less and the offense will have to come through with runners on base. The White Sox (56-79) have the second worst record in the American League and have scored the fewest runs in the AL.

Hiroki Kuroda (11-10, 2.89 ERA) will pitch on Tuesday and CC Sabathia (12-11, 4.91 ERA) will get the start on Wednesdy. This the first of 12 games that the Yankees have against last place teams in their final 26 games. They will need to win 10 of the 12 games against the cellar dwellers if they are going to make the playoffs.

Preview of Yankees vs. Blue Jays

Nova pitching in a game at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.

Nova pitching in a game at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.

The Yankees (64-59) start a four-game series at Yankee Stadium against the Toronto Blue Jays today at 1:05 p.m. That will be the first game of the doubleheader. The second game will start at 7:05 p.m.

The last time the Yankees played a doubleheader was on June 19 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, also at home, and they split those two games with the Bronx Bombers winning the afternoon contest. However, the Yankees do not at all resemble the team that that took the field that day.

Over their last eight games, the Yankees have won six out of their last eight games, which includes winning two out of three games at Fenway Park over the weekend. This includes the dramatic game on Sunday in which the Yankees won 9-6. Alex Rodriguez was hit on purpose  in the top of the second when the count was 3-0 after Ryan Dempster had tried to hit him earlier in the count. There is no place in the game for intentionally throwing a 90+ MPH fastball at a batter even if they in middle of a steroid controversy off of the field.

Joe Girardi, for good reason, argued with the home plate umpire like he has not before because the ump did not throw Dempster out of the game. The umpire did throw Girardi out of the game. This seemed to propel the Yankees offense as they scored two runs that inning. A Red Sox player was not hit in retaliation, but later in the game, A-Rod hit a homer to deep center, which was a great way to get back at Dempster. Brett Gardner would follow that with a big three-run triple that gave the Yankees a 7-6 lead.

It makes sense that CC Sabathia did not throw at a Red Sox player because he would have unfairly been thrown out of the game and the game was too important for the Yankees to win.

The Blue Jays come into the series having lost two out of their past three games to the Tampa Bay Rays. Going further back, Toronto has only won four out of their last 10 games. After receiving Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes in an offseason trade with the Miami Marlins the Blue Jays were expected to contend or even win the AL East. However, Reyes has been injured for much of the season and Johnson and Buehrle have disappointed, which has led to their 57-67 record.

The Yankees are currently 6.5 games behind the Oakland Athletics for the second Wild-Card. That makes sweeping this four-game set against Toronto very important if they want to have a chance at leaping ahead of the Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles and Oakland Athletics.

A stat that has led to Toronto’s struggles has been that none of their starters for this series has an ERA below 4.29 for the season. For the Yankees, Ichiro Suzuki is only three hits away from 4,000 combined hits between the Orix Blue Wave in Japan, the Seattle Mariners and the Yankees. In an obvious pick, Alfonso Soriano was named the AL Player of the Week, on Monday, based on hitting .484, hitting five homers and driving in 18 runs in the previous week.

Here are the pitching match-ups for the series:

Today at 1:05 p.m. on YES

Ivan Nova (6-4, 2.99 ERA) vs RHP Esmil Rogers (3-7, 4.91 ERA)

Tonight at 7:05 p.m on MY9

Phil Hughes (4-12, 4.97 ERA) vs Mark Buehrle (9-7, 4.29 ERA)

Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. on YES

Andy Pettitte (8-9, 4.39 ERA) or Adam Warren (1-2, 3.57 ERA) vs RHP R.A. Dickey (9-11, 4.49 ERA)

Thursday at 1:05 p.m. on YES

Andy Pettitte (8-9, 4.39 ERA) or Adam Warren (1-2, 3.57 ERA) vs. RHP JA Happ (3-2, 4.93 ERA)

Pitching matchups vs. Boston

Andy Pettitte

Andy Pettitte

The Yankees will play an important three-game series in Boston to kick-off the post All-Star break portion of the schedule.

Every series against Boston is important, but if they can win two out of three games they can think more legitimately about getting one of the two Wild-Cards. Their offensive will obviously be bolstered by the return of Derek Jeter (he can come off the DL in a week), Alex Rodriguez on Monday, and eventually Curtis Granderson.

So far this season, the Yankees have scored 125 fewer runs than the Red Sox. The Red Sox have scored 498 runs and the Yankees have scored 373 runs. This makes it even more important for their injured players to return.

It is likely that A-Rod will receive a 50 or 100 game suspension by MLB in the coming days, which he deserves, but the players union will then probably file an appeal which could mean that it would take until next season for the suspension to go through. A-Rod has lost a lot of fans by reportedly taking PEDs for a second time, but since his suspension might take months to go through, he will obviously be an upgrade at third base.

A-Rod hit his second homer of the week and second of his 12-game rehab stint in a game yesterday with the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. He has a .222 average in his stint in the minors. This one, just like his homer on Monday for Trenton, was a two-run blast. His goal for the games over the weekend is to: “Go first to third and finish with a “hard slide,” and perhaps make a diving stop of a ground ball to his left,” as reported in Newsday.

However, it is important that Andy Pettitte (7-6, 4.39 ERA) pitches like he did in April and not how he has in his starts since then. In his first four starts, Pettitte only gave up seven earned runs in 28.1 innings. He has allowed four or more runs in a start five times since then. However, he does have a 3.64 ERA after the All-Star Game, and a 4.06 ERA before it for his career, so history says he could be able to bounce back.

In Pettitte’s first start of the season, against the Red Sox, the threw eight solid innings while limiting the Red Sox to only one run.

Here are the pitching matchups for the series in Boston. The Yankees are currently six games behing Boston for first place and three games behind the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays for the Wild-Card.

Tonight at 7:10 p.m. on the YES Network

Andy Pettitte vs LHP Felix Doubront (6-3, 3.91 ERA)

Saturday at 4:05 p.m. on FOX

Hiroki Kuroda (8-6, 2.65 ERA) vs. RHP John Lackey (7-6, 2.78 ERA)

Sunday at 8:05 p.m. on ESPN

CC Sabathia (9-8, 4.07 ERA) vs. Jon Lester (8-6 4.58 ERA)

The one positive of this series is the Yankees will not have to face Clay Bucholz, who has nine wins and a 1.71 ERA. He is currently out with soreness in his right shoulder.

Brent Lillibridge (he was called up from AAA as a result of Jeter being put on the DL), who was acquired by the Yankees from the Cubs on June 21 and had been playing for the RailRiders, will make his debut for the Yankees at third base tonight.  Eduardo Nunez and Lillibridge will be the 17th different shortstop and third base combo so far this season.

Yankees lost the first game of the series to Tampa

This is a picture from last night's game when the Yankees were fielding

This is a picture from last night’s game when the Yankees were fielding

The Yankees lost 8-3 in the series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on Thursday night. Yankee Stadium seemed like it was only about 65 percent full as there were many empty seats for the weekday game.

The Bronx Bombers have not lived up to their nickname recently. Including last night’s game, the Yankees have scored more than four runs only once in the past nine games. The inability to score runs has contributed to the team going 2-7 in the last nine games.

Part of this can be blamed on the injuries to Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson, Kevin Youkilis, Derek Jeter, Eduardo Nunez, Francisco Cervelli, but it also has to do with Vernon Wells, Travis Hafner and Lyle Overbay not hitting like they did earlier in the season. However, a player like Vernon Wells was brought to the team to play the first or two and then was expected to be a fourth outfielder after Granderson was healthy.

The crowd at the game did not really have much to cheer for as the Yankees only scored runs in the sixth inning. They only had three hits outside of that sixth inning where the Yankees should have scored more runs than they did since they had bases loaded an no outs. They scored three runs off of only one hit as the Yankees couldn’t capitalize on Matt Moore allowing free passes to Brett Gardner and Jayson Nix.

Andy Pettitte was not locating his pitches as he would have liked to since he allowed nine hits and five runs in 6.2 innings. He has now struggled for two starts in a row as he allowed 11 hits and four runs in his previous outing.

Evan Longoria hit a homer against Pettitte and another against the increasingly unreliable Joba Chamberlain. Joe Girardi should have taken Chamberlain out of the game after he struck out Ben Zobrist to end the seventh inning.

A noteworthy play for the Yankees was that Zoilo Almonte, who was called up from AAA Scranton on Tuesday and made his debut during Game 2 on Wednesday, hit a ground ball that smashed into third base and flew up in the air for his first major league hit. This is something that I have not seen in person before.

The team needs to hope that Travis Hafner, Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay can find their hitting stroke once again to combine with the solid hitting from Robinson Cano, Brett Gardner and Ichiro. This is because there is not much hope from the rest of the lineup right now.

The Toronto Blue Jays have suddenly won eight of their last 10 games, which means that the Yankees need to play with a sense of urgency. The Yankees are still 4.5 ahead of them in the AL East, but it is now obvious that all five teams in the division are quality ones.