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.
The Yankees lost to the Cleveland Indians 3-0 on Saturday afternoon in the second game of the series. The offense only had five hits, and the only player who had a multi-hit game was Jacoby Ellsbury, who had two hits. The Yankees were also collectively 0-9 with runners in scoring position, which led to them not scoring any runs.
However, the pitcher that shutdown the Yankees offense is one of the best pitchers in the American League and by far the best pitcher in the Indians rotation. Corey Kluber pitched six innings and had 10 strikeouts and only one walk. Kluber is tied for the most wins in the AL with 13, is fourth in the AL with a 2.46 ERA and is second in the AL with 187 strikeouts.
Joe Girardi was impressed with how Kluber pitched against the Yankees. “He has just got really good stuff,” Girardi said. “He has got an outstanding slider that he used to right handers and left handers. I know there was a lot of talk about what we faced this week with Detroit, but if you look at the top five guys in the AL, he is right there. You are going to run into guys that have great stuff and sometimes you are going to get them and sometimes they are going to shut you down.”
One of the five hits that the Yankees had was an infield single by the future first ballot Hall of Famer Derek Jeter. That single was his 3,431st hit of his career, which put him in sole possession of sixth place on the all time hits list. He had previously been tied with Honus Wagner for sixth place. Jeter now has more hits than any other shortstop in baseball history.
Girardi is impressed with Jeter’s milestone and how he has performed this season. “It is unbelievable,” Girardi said. “I mean the people that he has passed, it is unbelievable. You know, this guy has been consistent for us all year long, and there were a lot of questions about where he would be at. He has played pretty well.”
Jeter was disappointed that the team lost, but he is proud that he now has more hits than anyone else who has played shortstop. “It is one of those wow moments,” Jeter said. “To have more hits than anyone that has played the position at all is something you can be proud of. Obviously, I would like to have won the game, but it is something I will be able to tell my kids one day about. Like I said, Honus Wagner, he is the last one on the last that played short at all, that one hits home a little bit.”
Brandon McCarthy got the start for the Yankees and picked up his first loss in his six starts with the team. He pitched well, as he only allowed two runs and had eight strikeouts in 6.1 innings, but the two-run homer Jose Ramirez hit off of him in the second ended up being the difference in the game. That was Ramirez’s first career home run.
All-Star Michael Brantley’s homer off of the foul poll in the eighth off of Chase Whitely was the third run that the Indians scored.
The Yankees will look to win the three-game series with Hiroki Kuorda pitching in Sunday’s 1:05 p.m. game. He had his second consecutive solid start on August 5 as he allowed three runs in seven innings. Carlos Carrasco, who is not nearly the pitcher that Kluber is, will be making only his fifth start of the season for the Indians.
Before yesterday’s game, the Yankees honored Paul O’Neill with a much deserved plaque in Monument Park. He was nicknamed the “The Warrior” for his hustle and intensity during games. O’Neill played for the Yankees from 1993-2001 and was an integral part of four World Series winning teams. “Let’s face it, we were all lucky to play for the Yankees, especially at that time,” O’Neill said during his speech.