Thursday, April 8, 2010

Andy still the man in Yankees rotation

It is amazing that despite shelling out big bucks for CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett, the New York Yankees are still so dependent on Andy Pettitte. And he doesn't disappoint.

The man CC calls "the Godfather" was out on the Fenway Park mound last night against the Boston Red Sox with the series tied and ensured that the Yankees left with the series win. He didn't actually get the victory, with Chan Ho Park pitching three solid outings of relief for the win. But of the front three starters in the Yankees rotation, Pettitte undoubtedly was the best. Showing no rust despite his limited spring training work, he matched John Lackey frame for frame in a fantastic pitchers duel and gave the Yankee offense a chance to come to life late.

Last year showed just how much the Yankees need Pettitte to be successful. Pettitte was the guy on the mound for all three clinching games during the 2009 playoffs. He said he didn't get to reflect on that experience much in the offseason, but called it a blessing. "It was almost as sweet as winning that first one," he told Kim Jones in a YES Network interview.

Pettitte took a nasty tumble at the beginning of last night's game, which left him with whiplash and a headache. Any other 37-year-old probably would have been taken out of the game at that point. But this is Pettitte, who shook off the cobwebs and proceeded to throw six innings of one-run ball, lifting a team that is still dependent on superior pitching despite a killer lineup. And really dependent on Pettitte to be the steady hand of the rotation.

The Yankee lefty is hinting that this might really be it for him. Yeah right. As Derek Jeter told David Letterman last year, Pettitte has been saying it's his last year for the past six years. I won't actually believe it until an opening day comes around and Pettitte is nowhere in the vicinity of a baseball field.

"I want to go as hard as I can this whole year, try to have a great year, try to help us get back to where we were last year and then I'll worry about all that again at the end of this season," he said.

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