Monday, October 8, 2012

Flash Backtime: Pettitte And Forgettitte

How was your 2012? Well, how about un-retiring, turning 40, and getting a broken ankle after being hit by a line drive? And through it all, pitching great.

Andy Pettitte posted a 2.87 ERA in 12 starts in a year nobody saw coming and then had his season... interrupted. If past performance is any indicator, they Yanks have a pretty good horse to ride in ALDS Game 2 in Baltimore with a 19-10 career postseason record.

I dug up the Backtime archives about 3 years back. Pettitte had just won World Series Game 3, and would later go on to win the clincher in Game 6.

The question now becomes whether we get the old Andy Pettitte, or just an old Andy Pettitte.

Backtime - November 1, 2009

When there’s money on the table, you want a money pitcher. And Pettitte’s postseason history and 1,000-yard stare speaks to that.

I remember all the way back to Game 5 of the 1996 World Series, when Andy Pettitte was just a 24-year old 2nd year starter. He outdueled the best pitcher in baseball, John Smoltz, in a 1-0 squeaker. The Yankees closed out Fulton County Stadium winning all three in Atlanta and took the World Series in 6 games.

Then in 1998, Pettitte outpitched the best pitcher in baseball, Kevin Brown, in a 3-1 win in Game 4 in San Diego, completing a World Series sweep.

Now, he hasn’t always come through in the World Series – a couple of different Game 6’s come to mind, including getting pummeled by Arizona in ’01 and losing the clincher to Josh Beckett and the Marlins in ’03.

But more often than not, he’s going to gettitte done for you. And last night was a perfect example of that. There was no need to panic after giving up 3 early runs. Andy pretty much shut down the Phils the rest of the way, and added a key Pet-hitte RBI-single off of 2008 World Series MVP Cole Hamels for good measure.

Pettitte finished with 6 solid innings and his major-league record 17th postseason win. The length of the start is nothing unusual for the Yankees’ hurlers. All 12 postseason starts have gone at least 6 innings.

Next up is CC (aka Cruise Control) Sabathia. He’ll take on Joe Blanton instead of Cliff Lee, whom the Phils are hesitant to use on 3 days’ rest. Can Blanton beat CC? Not likely. But the Phillies lineup sure can.

But the bottom line is the starting pitching. As long as the Yankees keep getting high quality starts, they will surely take home the title. And maybe we won't even need to see our man Andy in Game 6 (his bad number), as it may already be wrapped up.

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