Sunday, August 23, 2015

Andy Pettitte Career Highlights- Open Thread

The most amazing weekend of the 2015 season, to date anyway, is over with both Jorge Posada Day and Andy Pettitte Day officially in the books. HOPE Week is over, this series with the Cleveland Indians is over and so is this weekend unfortunately. Instead of ending this weekend with a song out of my personal collection let's end it by honoring Andy one more time. Andy Pettitte's career highlights, enjoy!

Andy Pettitte Tells The Andy Pettitte Story

Andy Pettitte is the best person that can tell the Andy Pettitte story and he does so in this five minute video. Andy touches on everything from his relationship with God, his HGH use, and so much more. It is a very touching story and everyone needs to watch this. This is Andy Pettitte Day.

CC Sabathia Leaves Game w/ Knee Injury

CC Sabathia left in the third inning of today's start against the Cleveland Indians with an apparent right knee injury. Sabathia threw his fastest pitch of the afternoon, 91 MPH, to get a strikeout before leaving with the injury. Sabathia will have an MRI on the knee after having surgery on that same knee to help with a degenerative problem this offseason.

Sabathia has already had the knee drained twice this season, which was expected, but this can't be good news for the big lefty.

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Cleveland Indians 8/23

Wow, what a ceremony. This weekend and this entire week has been an emotional roller coaster ride hasn't it? It may or may not be affecting the team on the field so part of me is glad that the ceremonies and that HOPE Week is over so we can start focusing on making the playoffs and winning the American League East. The Yankees send a veteran to the mound in CC Sabathis this afternoon that shouldn't have issues focusing on this game and this game alone while the Indians counter with Trevor Bauer. The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

New York stays home to begin the week with a three-game series with the Houston Astros in the Bronx. Click the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog to get your tickets to see the team inside Yankee Stadium before the team is gone and on the road once again. If you can't make it then simply jump on Twitter and give @GreedyStripes a follow to root for the home team and interact with us during each and every Yankees game for the remainder of this season.

Pettitte's number is out of circulation, CC is ready to take the mound and Ellsbury is ready to lead the team to another victory. I'm ready to watch it all go down, Go Yankees!

Meet a Prospect: Andy Pettitte

Andy Pettitte, left handed starting pitcher, was drafted in the 22nd round in the 1990 First Year Player Draft by the New York Yankees out of his high school in Deer Park, Texas. Andy did not sign with the Yankees that season and instead decided he would go to a junior college which, you may or may not know, allows you to get drafted every season rather then having to play two seasons of college baseball before being eligible again for the draft. Also, as the rules have since changed, no other team could talk to Andy Pettitte nor sign him until a day before the next year's draft because he did not sign with the Yankees. It did not matter anyway as Andy signed with the Yankees the very next season, in 1991, as an amateur free agent for $80,000 which was a nice bonus at that time. Andy turned down a chance to pitch for perennial powerhouse University of Texas to travel to New York.

Pettitte made his pro debut in 1991 going 4-0 with a 0.98 ERA in 6 Gulf Coast League (GCL) starts followed by a 2-2 record with a 2.18 era in the New York Penn League (NYPL). Those two levels combined Pettitte had 83 K's and 24 BB's for nearly a 4-1 ratio, which is amazing. His command was very impressive but his velocity and "stuff" were considered nothing more then average. Throughout the minors his walk rates got better and better but his K/9 rate got worse and worse. While he showed all the way through the system that he could get advanced hitters out no one was every crazy about Pettitte due to his strike outs. He never once did rank as a Top 10 prospect in any league that he played in because of the low strike out rates and Pettitte projected to be a back end of the rotation starter due to his strike out issues. Pettitte was never graded higher then a "B" graded prospect in his entire minor league career but he had an uncanny ability to hammer the strike zone, keep batters off balance with his off speed stuff, and give his team a chance to win every single time out there.

Pettitte started his Major League career in the bullpen in 1995 after losing out on the fifth starter competition to Sterling Hitchcock. Pettitte was not long for the bullpen though as he replaced an injured Jimmy Key in the rotation where he won six of his last seven starts finishing his rookie season with a 12-9 record and a 4.17 ERA. Pettitte did enough to force the Yankees to trade Hitchcock before the 1996 season and led New York to place Pettitte in the starting rotation. Pettitte started the first half of the season with a 13-4 record which earned him an All-Star appearance for the American League. Pettitte finished the 1996 season with 21 wins which led the American League and finished second in the AL Cy Young Award vote to Toronto's Pat Hentgen. Pettitte would have the last laugh though as the Yankees won the World Series in 1996.

Pettitte followed that amazing season off with 18 more victories in 1997 and a fifth place finish in the AL Cy Young Award vote. Pettitte did not get another ring in 1997 but after 16 more wins in 1998 for possibly the best team of all-time, the 1998 New York Yankees, he received his second World Series ring with a sweep of the San Diego Padres. Pettitte got rings in the 1999 World Series and 2000 World Series as well with two more great seasons from the left-handed pickoff specialist cementing his position as one of the best starting pitchers in Major League Baseball. Pettitte made his second All-Star Game trip in 2001 and even won the ALCS MVP by mowing down the Seattle Mariners although the team lost the World Series with two outs in the 9th inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks, a tough loss for all Yankees and their fans.

Pettitte continued his streak of dominance for the Yankees through the 2003 season before hitting free agency for the first time in his career. Pettitte had his contract put on the back burner by owner George Steinbrenner and GM Brian Cashman which led him into the arms of the Houston Astros before 2004 on a three-year deal worth $31.5 million. Pettitte had elbow surgery in 2004 but was back healthy in the 2005 season just in time to lead the Astros to their first World Series in their organization's history. Pettitte and Clemens, teammates now in Houston, had the two best ERA's in the National League that season but it was not enough in a World Series loss. Pettitte finished his 2006 campaign out of the playoffs before hitting free agency once again before 2007.

A wrong was righted in 2007 as the New York Yankees brought Pettitte back to the Bronx on a one year deal worth $16 million topping the Astros offer of $12 million for one season. Pettitte won his 200th game of his career in a Yankees uniform in 2007 finishing the season with a 15-9 record. Pettitte was back on a one year deal worth $16 million again in 2008 where he made the last start at the old Yankee Stadium. In that final game in Yankee Stadium Pettitte recorded his 2,000th strikeout of his career although he missed the playoffs for the first time in his Yankees tenure. Pettitte had done enough to earn a one year deal worth $5.5 million contract with incentives for the 2009 season, maybe his last.

Pettitte, along with new teammates CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett, led the team to the World Series in 2009 with Pettitte on the mound for the clinching contest in every series. Pettitte grabbed his 18th postseason win in that Game 6 of the 2009 World Series and extended his own record of series clinching wins with his seventh of his playoffs career. Pettitte decided to pitch for the Yankees for the 2010 season when he signed for one year and $11.75 million, a great decision for Pettitte and the Yankees. Pettitte started the season 11-2 with a 2.70 ERA earning another All-Star Game appearance. The 2011 season, which ended with a loss to the Detroit Tigers in the postseason, ended up being his last as he announced his retirement before the 2012 season.

Pettitte sat out the 2012 season but decided he had at least one more season in his left arm and agreed to come back on a minor league deal worth $2.5 million for the 2013 season. Pettitte missed two and a half months with a fractured left fibula that season which limited him to just a 5-4 record with a 2.87 ERA in just two starts. Pettitte still had the itch in 2013 though as he agreed to a one year deal with New York worth $12 million. During that 2013 season Pettitte earned his 250th win of his career and became the wins leader for the Yankees organization all-time passing Whitey Ford. He also passed Ford on the Yankees all-time strikeouts list as well this season with a strikeout of Twins first baseman Justin Morneau.

Pettitte announced on September 20, 2013 that he would retire at the end of the season along with Mariano Rivera and Pettitte decided to go out in a big way. Pettitte started against the Houston Astros on the day before the final game of the season and pitched a complete game victory thus closing the book on a great career with an exclamation mark. Pettitte finished with a pair of 20 game winning seasons in 1996 and 2003, he reached the World Series seven times with the Yankees and one time with the Astros winning five of them, he still holds the postseason record for victories with 19 in his career and finished with a 256-153 win-loss record. Pettitte never had a losing record in his career and holds the record for the most win-save combinations along with Jorge Posada with 81 victories.

We could have gone on all day showcasing the sheer greatness that was Andy Pettitte but I think the Yankees are about to do a wonderful job of that themselves in the ceremony that is about to happen in the Bronx. Stop reading this and start watching that as we honor the Yankees great Andy Pettitte one last time.

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Cleveland Indians 8/23

The New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians are ready to finish off their four game series at Yankee Stadium this afternoon, thank goodness. The Indians have given the Yankees all sorts of fits this weekend although the team could not put a damper on Jorge Posada Day yesterday no matter what. The same can be said for this afternoon as the Yankees once again honor one of their own as the team presents Andy Pettitte Day at Yankee Stadium. For the game the Yankees will send their big man CC Sabathia to the mound to face off against the Indians starter Trevor Bauer. The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

Sabathia will face off against the team where his career began for the second time this month looking to snap a winless streak. Sabathia has started eight times against the Indians and has posted a 4-2 record with a 2.95 ERA. 

Bauer has struggled as of late against these same New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox in consecutive starts. Bauer got bombed for the only Cleveland loss in the last series between these two teams and then lasted only 1.2 innings against the Boston Red Sox in his last start after giving up five earned runs. Six of his starts this season have lasted less than five innings, lucky number seven today?

The Yankees are setting up the field for Andy Pettitte Day and are prepared to retire the #46 so no man can ever wear the jersey again. The Yankees have had a mixed bag of results in these games after pregame ceremonies as the emotion and the adrenaline either helps the team through the game or it is expended in the ceremony leaving the team to fall short in the contest. Let's hope the team takes a page out of the Andy Pettitte book this afternoon and finds a way to win. Go Yankees!

My Thoughts on the Career of Andy Pettitte

What can you say about the career of Andrew Eugene Pettitte? The big lefty brought the New York Yankees five World Series championships, he was a three time All-Star, an AL wins champion in 1996 and a ALCS MVP in 2001. Andy Pettitte, like Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera before him, was a walking and living legend and the epitome of being a New York Yankees player in my opinion. He loved playing baseball and he loved to win.

Andy's career was not without disappointment to the fans though and when he decided to leave for three seasons with the Houston Astros I have to say that I took it pretty personally. I think all of us were highly invested in the Yankees back in 2003 and to learn that Pettitte and Roger Clemens would be throwing strikes in Houston with the Astros for the next three seasons hurt pretty bad. Who could  blame him though? The way George Steinbrenner put him on the back burner, disrespected him and merely expected him to come back would have pushed anyone away. The wrong was righted before the 2007 allowing Pettitte to retire as a Yankee.

When Pettitte retired before the 2011 I always kind of thought he had more in the tank, and I was right as he announced that he would be back for the 2012 season. Pettitte came back no longer blowing away batters like he did back in 1996 when he out-dueled John Smoltz in that historic Game 5 of the 1996 World Series, no Andy Pettitte came back as a pitcher.

Andy Pettitte once again disappointed me when he was exposed for and admitted to using steroids while working himself back from an injury  but as everyone knows, I forgave him. I forgive all steroid users, especially those who simply wanted to get out there on the field and win for their team and win for the fans. That's all Andy wanted to do, he wanted to play the game of baseball and he wanted to win.

I have the utmost respect for the Yankees south paw that will have his #46 retired today and I thank him for everything he has done. The Yankees will too this afternoon in a pre-game ceremony before the game with the Cleveland Indians. Expect chill bumps.... I do!

Weekly Check In: James Kaprielian

I think it is safe to say that Yankees top prospect Luis Severino is going to lose his prospects status this season and will lose his spot in these weekly check in posts. I have never been happier to have to scramble and find a replacement for a player, well until Robert Refsnyder gets called up for good, so it was no big deal for us to start checking in on James Kaprielian every Sunday morning. Kaprielian, who was recently promoted to the short season Staten Island Yankees from the New York-Penn League, was the team's first draft pick in the 2015 MLB First Year Player's Draft.

Kaprielian went down to the wire before signing with the team like most Scott Boras "advised" clients do and was immediately assigned to the Yankees Gulf Coast League rookie team. While Kaprielian was not the dominant force you would have hoped for while there in the GCL, and he wasn't the starter he was in college either, he apparently did enough to warrant the call up. Was it rust? Probably, but the good news is if you're still undecided just check back here next Sunday for another weekly check in.

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Recap: Yankees 6, Indians 2

Luis Severino tossed six innings of one-run ball and the Yankees cruised past the Indians, 6-2, in a Saturday matinee at Yankee Stadium.

Welcome to the Win Column: Severino's third straight quality start earned him his first major-league win, though one could argue he should already have four. The youngster held the Indians to just three hits and a run on the afternoon, walking four and striking out six.

Deep Enough: Laugh all you want about Ervin Santana calling Yankee Stadium a joke, but on some days, the park can certainly seem like one. Just ask Brett Gardner and Brian McCann, whose first-inning homers into the short porch in right -- Gardner's was a two-run shot and McCann's a solo --likely would've been doubles anywhere else.

Oops: The Indians had a chance for a routine double play with runners on the corners and none out in the second, but blew it when pitcher Danny Salazar made a wild throw into center field. The error allowed Stephen Drew to score from third and Jacoby Ellsbury to be credited with an RBI, the official scorer having ruled the play a fielder's choice and an E-1.

Next Up: The Yankees will look to split this weekend series with a finale victory on Sunday, sending the surging CC Sabathia (4-9, 5.24 ERA) to the mound versus right-hander Trevor Bauer (9-10, 4.62 ERA). First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m. ET, with YES and WFAN airing the action.

This Day In New York Yankees History 8/23: Yankees Present Andy Pettitte Day

This afternoon the Yankees will present Andy Pettitte Day at Yankee Stadium. The game will begin at 1:05 pm ET and the gates will open at 11:00 AM to accommodate the fans. Get to the stadium early to see that stare honored one last time. 

Joe Torre passed Casey Stengel for second place on the Yankees all-time managerial wins list on this day in 2007. The victory was Torre's 1,150th win as a Yankees manager.

In case you were wondering Joe McCarthy still holds the all-time Yankees managerial wins record with 1,460 wins in 16 seasons as the Yankees manager.

Also on this day in 2003 the Yankees honored another great from the past when they held Ron Guidry Day at Yankee Stadium. Guidry's #49 uniform was retired after Louisiana Lightning spent his entire career with New York posting a 170-90 record and being co-captain of the club with Willie Randolph. Guidry also received a plaque in Monument Park in his honor on this day.

Finally on this day in 1958 the Yankees Whitey Ford ended Nellie Fox's consecutive games streak without a strikeout. Fox had gone 98 straight games without striking out before Ford rung him up in a 7-1 victory for the White Sox.