Andy Pettitte May Now Pass Go

Congratulations to big number 46 on his 200th career victory, all but 37 of which have come in pinstripes. I was hoping the Yankee line score would read 11001000, binary code for 200, but the O’s weren’t quite that cooperative. Andy pitched into the eighth allowing only 1 run; the game was saved by Mariano Rivera, after Joba faced and fanned one batter. That’s a formula the Yanks would like to repeat down the stretch and into the playoffs. Andy is now in fairly rarified air. His next victory will bring him even with Rube Marquardt. Another two and he reaches Lew Burdette. If 300 is out of the question, 225 is certainly plausible. That’d be 1 more than Catfish, another old-school winner and Yankee great. He’s got an outside shot at 250.

Meanwhile, looks like the Sox just might blow the division after all. A good night.

23 comments… add one
  • sweet….way to go andy
    “…the Sox just might blow the division…”…not nice yf, and probably not gonna happen

    dc September 20, 2007, 10:05 am
  • Andy Pettitte not only should be proud of winning 200, he should be proud of the complete pitcher he has become. He doesn’t have overwhelming, knee buckling stuff, but he has 200 wins. He is proof that you don’t have to be able to throw it through a brick wall in order to win.

    John - YF (Trisk) September 20, 2007, 10:21 am
  • True enough Trisk. And it sure doesn’t hurt if you’re a lefty!

    YF September 20, 2007, 10:27 am
  • Pettitte did all that without Varitek calling his pitches too. That makes it that much more impressive in my book.

    Sam-YF September 20, 2007, 10:40 am
  • Sam: good one :)

    IronHorse (yf) September 20, 2007, 10:46 am
  • Andy is the kind of pitcher we’ve been missing in the playoffs the last few years. A gamer! Give him the ball in the big game and he finds a way to win…Congrats Andy and we’re all glad you came back home!

    krueg September 20, 2007, 10:53 am
  • Sam: nice! high five.

    doug YF September 20, 2007, 11:34 am
  • The scorecard is about all the O’s weren’t cooperative with, YF. I’ve never seen so many players not care about the game they’re playing. If I was the Baltimore manager, half of those guys would have gotten sent home last night and I would have called up players that actually try to run balls out, or slide into second, or care if they’re protecting the outside of the plate, or, I could go on and on about how terrible I feel for the O’s fan today.
    It’s pathetic to play like that. If I was Burress, I would have cracked heads in the locker room for the way they rolled over time and time again.

    Brad September 20, 2007, 11:59 am
  • Warning: long post!!
    Andy’s 200th win is impressive though not spectacular as a career figure. Then again, since his debut in 1995 his 200 wins are more than any other pitcher not named Randy Johnson (203) or Greg Maddux (215).
    And of active starters who have started at least 100 games, he is one of only 8 with a winning percentage above .640. The other seven: Pedro Martinez, Johan Santana, Roy Oswalt, Roy Halladay, Tim Hudson, Roger Clemens, and Randy Johnson.
    Yet Pettitte doesn’t tend to be placed in the same category as these others.
    It may be because he has never won a Cy Young, despite two 21-8 seasons (’96 and ’03). Of the crowd above, Hudson and Oswalt are the only others to not yet win the Cy.
    More likely it is because he has been a perennial #2 starter everywhere he has pitched and because he is not a strikeout ace – his K/9 of 6.6 is respectable, but lands him 46th on the list of pitchers with at least 100 starts since 1995. Yet, since his debut in 1995, he has struck out more batters (1839) than anyone other than Johnson, Martinez , Schilling, Clemens, Mussina, and Maddux (yes, Mussina!).
    Regardless of where he gets ranked, his stats as a big-game pitcher are indisputable. He is third among active pitchers to only Roy Oswalt and Johan Santana for best career winning percentage after the All-Star Break (.713) and with a post-season record of 14-9, he is tied with Tom Glavine (14-16) for the second most post-season wins over a career, just behind John Smoltz’s 15-4 mark. And he consistently puts up his best performances following a Yankee loss.
    In sum, Pettitte is the definition of a workhorse and is as dependable in pressure situations as any starting pitcher the Yankees have had in decades with the possible exceptions of David Cone (10-2 in postseason games from ’95-’00) and Ron Guidry (5-2 in postseason starts). The guy has pitched an entire extra season in the playoffs (212 total postseason innings).
    Oh, and he still has the best move in baseball. With 77 career pickoffs, he is one away from 3rd on the all-time list behind Steve Carlton (144) and Jerry Koosman (82), who each played 11 and 6 more seasons than Pettitte respectively.
    At 35, Pettitte could still have a couple years left in him. His elbow has been his biggest concern in recent years, but he says it has never felt as good as it does this year and it would be surprising given his performance and the prospective strength of the Yankees next year that he would not opt to play in 2008 for the $16 million that is on the table for him. I hope he does.

    IronHorse (yf) September 20, 2007, 1:29 pm
  • Is there a possibility that he would “opt out” and get even more money? Doesn’t sound like AP is that kind of guy, but I’m wondering if anyone thought about that..

    Lar September 20, 2007, 1:33 pm
  • I would love to see him grind it out though and maybe be a long-short HoFer. Would 250 be enough? That’s 3 good years.. just shows you how hard it is to get to 300..

    Lar September 20, 2007, 1:35 pm
  • Lar: judging from interviews and the way the contract got negotiated before this season, I would be willing to bet anything that Pettitte either retires or takes year two with NY.

    IronHorse (yf) September 20, 2007, 1:35 pm
  • I don’t see Pettitte getting into the HoF. A monument & retired number…maybe. Not even sure about that though. I just know that he is as good at rising to the occassion as any pitcher the Yankees have had in a while.

    IronHorse (yf) September 20, 2007, 1:39 pm
  • AP is an excellent pitcher, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s a lefty pitching in the Bronx, and that he’s played on so many wonderful teams. I think he’s had a fine career, but well short of HOF standards.

    YF September 20, 2007, 1:56 pm
  • His affiliation with Clemens has also, in my view any way, clearly boosted his focus, toughness, and leadership skills.

    IronHorse (yf) September 20, 2007, 2:01 pm
  • Adam(syracuse,ny): Keith…Andy Pettite won his 200. Let’s say he get’s to 250 before he hangs ’em up, does he get in the hall? especially with his post-season creds?
    SportsNation Keith Law: (1:59 PM ET ) If he gets to 250, yes, he’ll get in, because of the post-season stuff, the fact that he spent most of his career in a huge media market, and the fact that he is, by all accounts, a great guy. As for whether he *should* get in, that’s another question, and I don’t think he’s there right now.

    Pete September 20, 2007, 2:10 pm
  • Speaknig of Andy in the big moments, this quote from Orel Hershiser on http://www.espn.co today re: “rising to the occassion” seems very true to me:
    “I really believe people don’t rise to the occasion — but they shrink because of it. The pitcher who does his regular routine looks like he rose to the occasion. Everyone is on the same level, and most people drop off because of the pressure. When I felt I was performing at my highest level (playoffs, World Series, scoreless innings streak), I didn’t feel any different other than the surroundings had changed. What I did was the same thing I always did, and I was able to maintain it. I performed at my normal level in a larger arena. I knew if I did that, the results would take care of themselves. ”

    IronHorse (yf) September 20, 2007, 2:13 pm
  • Great quote, Iron. I think that sums up my feelings perfectly. An excellent example of that:
    Jeter
    Regular season: .317 .388 .462 (7386 AB)
    October season: .314 .384 .479 (478 AB)

    Pete September 20, 2007, 2:17 pm
  • Yep…and I think that the *better* numbers that some display in pressure sitations over their averag numbers often have something to do with their opponent shrinking under the pressure and them simply taking advantage of that.
    The msot recent example I can think of outside of baseball was the absolutely sick game taht LeBron James had in the playoffs vs. the Pistons, in which he scored something like the last 25 points for his team to win in double overtime. While he hit some ridiculous shots, some of the most important shots were made driving right to the hoop while defenders seemed to be running out of his way. I think it happens in all sports.

    IronHorse (yf) September 20, 2007, 2:27 pm
  • I think that’s a money quote. I would only suggest–in fact, i’d bet a great deal–that MOST people do not in fact drop off at all. remember, the guys who make it to the pros, all of them, have been “not dropping off in pressure” for their entire lives: little league, high school, college, minors. that’s how they make it to the bigs in the first place. so, yeah, there are some shrinking violets out there, but most professional athletes perform as per normal in pressure situatons, and get tagged as either clutch/unclutch due to the freakishly small sample on which they are evaluated.

    YF September 20, 2007, 2:28 pm
  • YF, I disagree. Take golf right now. Tiger Woods has been playing long enough now that his sample size is not at all small. Similarly with certain baseball players like Jeter or Ortiz. Or in basketball with Jordan. Or in football with Montana. These were/are not situations in which those guys only had 3 opportunities, happened to come through well twice, and so got a reputation.
    I think it is more true to say that most of the guys who rose up to the professional ranks are so skilled they never had much competition in early years, high school, etc. until they reached the minors/college b-ball/college football.
    And I think among them, there is huge variability over who feels calm when pressure is on, assuming it is the OTHER guy who should be and probably is scared (a la Ortiz or Jeter facing any pitcher in a tough situation or any of the above named athletes in teh equivalent in their sports), and who feels the pressure is on themselves.

    IronHorse (yf) September 20, 2007, 2:36 pm
  • Looking ahead, the Yankees, 1.5 games out of first place, play 10 games against Toronto, Tampa Bay and Baltimore. Good News: All those teams are bad. Bad News: In Toronto, we’ll have to face Halladay and A.J. Burnett. Thats the tough right there. In Tampa, Scott Kazmir is waiting for us. And Baltimore….never mind them.
    The Red Sox play 9 games. They will be against Tampa, Oakland and Minnesota. They go up against Kazmir true but after that there is not much. They might face Santana when they play Minnesota, but that is unclear.
    Logic says the Red Sox go 7-2 or 6-3. Thats pretty good for most teams, but the opposition here isn’t frightening, so its conservative. In order to match them, the Yanks would have to go 8-2 or 9-1. Which means that win 2 out of 3 from Kazmir, Holliday, Burnett and then beat every other pitcher.
    Make no mistake, our pitchers don’t beat our opponents, we beat their pitchers. The Yankee’s MO is to be patient in the first three innings, get some long at-bats, wear out the starter. Either get into the middle relief, long the soft underbelly of baseball teams or learn as much as we can while putting maximum pressure on the opponent. An ideal Yankee game has the us leading by a couple of runs by the third or fourth inning. This allows our pitchers to be more aggressive and not get behind on counts. Throw strikes without fear of giving up a lead, don’t walk anybody, keep the game moving, get the offense back on the field for more batting practice. Keep that turntable of Jeter, Abreu, A-Rod, Matsui, Posada, Cano, Giambi turning until the starter feels lost and disoriented.
    Not that our early offensive firepower implies we can’t come back from a big lead. When you average six runs a game, the started can have give up a run or two in the early innings before settling down, but thats not ideal. What is ideal is the starting pitching well until the offense explodes and then turning on the juice and helping the anxious suddenly-trailing batters get themselves out.
    What hurts us then? Good Starters on the other team that play a similar game. Keep us from scoring and let our starters tire themselves out in a close game; if Wang’s sinker is too active, if Mussina throws 90 pitches, if Clemens gets past the 5th inning, if Hughes/Kennedy take too long to settle down, then the playing field is too level and our near 0.700 winning percentage since the All-Star Break doesn’t matter a bit.
    So, lets hope the MO keeps working on the near-nobodies, and lets see if our pitchers (Wang against Halladay, Hughes against Burnett, Petitte against Kazmir) can hold the fort against the tough pitchers that break up our plan.
    Finish 8-2 and the 10th straight AL East title could very well be ours.

    Carlos September 20, 2007, 7:13 pm
  • Carlos: why you assume that the Red Sox, who just got swept by a team that did not run out the best three starters, and who are hurting (no Manny, no Youkilis, no reliable bullpen) are going to go 7-2 os even 6-3 is hard to understand. Perhaps they will. But that would require them to return to a form they have not displayed for over a week now (remember, even before the Yanks series, they BARELY took 2 from Tampa). I’m not saying they won’t, but if I were betting I would not put a lot on them right now.

    IronHorse (yf) September 20, 2007, 7:17 pm

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