Sunday, January 27, 2008

18 Days, 18 Players: Andy Pettitte

Everyday until spring training begins the "Respect Jeter's Gangster" blog will review one player from the Yankees roster. We will review a total of 27 players, the 25 we believe will be on the active roster after spring training, and 2 we believe should be on the active roster but won't be for one reason or another. Our reviews are all edited by Carl Pavano himself to insure they're up to the stringent "Pavano Tough" standards.


That was Andy Pettitte's final line last season. Although the numbers themselves may not appear so spectacular, anyone who watched him pitch last season knows how great he was. Besides picking up a couple innings out of the bullpen in April last season when the releivers were outlasting the starters, Pettitte pitched many quality games for the Yankees. Nothing highlights the kind of season Pettitte had for the Yankees better than his game 2 start against Cleveland in the post season. He pitched 6.1 shutout innings, left the game with a one run lead only to see it get blown away when Clevelands army of insects attacked Joba Chamberlain. It was the kind of season he had. He pitched one quality game after another only to have a lethargic Yankee offense back him up or have the bullpen blow his lead. He had 23 quality starts that should have lead the Yankees to victory more often than it did. I still remember him pitching 7 innings of 1 run ball in April against Oakland, only to see the game end with Marco Scutaro hitting a walk off 3 run shot off Mariano. Now the Yankee bats did give him his 15th win after he lasted 5 innings and gave up 8 runs against Baltimore in September, but that was not the norm.

So if he pitched so well, what's with the 4.05 ERA? Well, when he didn't pitch well, he usually got lit up. I mentioned the game against Baltimore already, and he had a couple more where he got hit hard. Nonetheless, Pettitte is a gamer. He pitches big games when you need him to, and gives gritty efforts nearly every time out. In the month of August, Pettitte posted a 2.36 ERA, and won every game he pitched.

My Fearless Prediction

The question for Pettitte is whether the Mitchell Report will be a distraction for him. My guess is it won't. Although wins are difficult to judge since it requires Yankee hitters to hit, I still think Pettitte can get 17 wins next season. I do not believe the Yankees will have the slow start they did last season, so the only question will be if his elbow will hold up for another season. He takes good care of himself so conditioning will not be an issue. I just hope the Yankee bullpen can hold onto some wins for Pettitte next season.

Little Known Pettitte Fact: Andy Pettitte rides a Harley Davidson and is the leader of a local motorcycle gang in Houston.

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