Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Pettitte bounces back

You have to love Andy Pettitte. After some wrote him off as a lost cause in early June (ducking garbage being thrown my way), the veteran has been the Yankees' -- and baseball's -- best pitcher the last month.

If you throw out last Thursday's outing against Boston -- the lefty wasn't the only one sleepwalking through that lousy night -- Pettitte has allowed just three runs in 35 innings. That's incredible production. Pettitte and Mussina are now both in double-digit win territory, making Wang's terrible injury sting all the worse. The Yankees were that close to having a dominating starting rotation. Instead, the veteran warhorses will need to keep up this crazy pace just to keep their team in the race.

Beating the first-place Rays also must have been a relief for Pettitte, who beat himself up pretty good after the Red Sox start. Save for a few insurance runs in the eighth inning last night, the Yankees offense is still under performing, but Pettitte's start (eight scoreless innings) is an important boost while the lineup tries to shake its slump. After losing two ugly games to Boston, the Bombers have rallied back to win three straight. Prior to the final game of the Texas series, I said that I thought the Yankees needed to go 5-2 or at least 4-3 in this TEX-BOS-TB stretch to keep any semblance of momentum going. Well, a victory today would earn that fifth 'W'. Not bad.

Easier said than done, of course. Sidney Ponson will make the start today in the Bronx, which is troublesome because Sidney Ponson is a terrible pitcher with a possible (probable) (definite) drinking problem. As Pete Abe pointed out in today's lineup post, Ponson may be 5-1 but he has a 5.44 ERA in his last six starts. If he gets walloped again today, his may be getting on line behind LaTroy Hawkins at the gallows.

One other interesting note about today's lineup: Jose Molina is starting behind the plate for the fifth consecutive game. Of course, this is of great curiosity since the Yankees recently paid tens of millions of dollars over a multi-year period to have Jorge Posada serve as their primary backstop. Is Jorge still hurt? Has the manager decided that Molina is the better fit at that position? Or is Girardi simply taking advantage of the open DH slot with Matsui and Damon sidelined? I have no answers, but it will be interesting to see how it plays out.

Well, I'm off to the game. Flying back to Hollyweird tonight, need one more fix from the Bronx. Go Yanks.

Around The Horn: Molina had his caught-runners-stealing streak stopped at 12 on Tuesday; it was the longest in the Majors since 1993. ... As you may have heard, there has been a Carl Pavano sighting. The Worst Pro Athlete Ever threw 30 pitches in a live batting practice on Tuesday in Tampa. He'll do the same thing on Friday, unless he strains his uterus in the meantime. Said Girardi: “I don’t really have any expectations, but you never know.” I, on the other hand, know that I don't have expectations. ... Melky Cabrera tied a career high with his eighth homer of the season in the Rays opener. Asked after the game what it felt like to have the crowd roar behind him again, Melky replied he heard nothing because of Brett Gardner's deafening footsteps. ... Alex Rodriguez -- a noted fan of muscular woman and fading pop stars -- was the leading All-Star vote-getter for the second consecutive season. I found this interesting since pretty much everyone kind of dislikes the dude. ... SUPPORT THE 'STACHE!!! The Big G needs your help to be a 2008 All-Star. Cast your ballot over at Voting ends tomorrow.

1 comment:

Nikki said...

I know this is not the place for myspace coments, but... Come back to LA. You've been gone so long I've resorted to reading your blog for my daily dose of Dan.