Here are two clubhouse anecdotes that reveal something about the character of Andy Pettitte and Jerry Hairston Jr.
Pettitte did not expect to throw a perfect game or even a no-hitter. Until tonight, he had never thrown more than 4.2 perfect innings to start a game. So when Hairston let that grounder get through him in the seventh inning, Pettitte wasn’t too upset.
“I wasn’t too, too excited yet,” he said. “I had a lot of outs to get.”
Afterward, he saw a despondent Hairston walking around the clubhouse with his head down. Pettitte hugged him and said he didn’t want to go nine innings anyway.
“That’s the way Andy is,” Jorge Posada said. “He makes you feel better every time.”
As for Hairston, he literally waved the media over to his locker. He knew he had questions to answer and he stood there and answered every one of them. That couldn’t have been an easy thing to do.
“No excuses,” he said. “I just missed it. … “There are 750 guys in the majors. Nobody feels worse than me tonight.”
It would have been interesting to see if Pettitte could have held on. He has not gone nine innings since Aug. 16, 2006 when he was with Houston. But his pitch count was reasonable and he had four pitches working, particularly his curve and change.
Ultimately what matters is that the Yankees won. Pettitte is 4-1 with a 2.56 ERA since the break and is averaging 6.2 innings per start. At 37, he is better than anybody expected this season. Right now, Pettitte is the second-best starter in the rotation and it’s not even close.
He also is cashing in. Today was his 151st day on the roster and he has pitched 167.1 innings. That durability has earned him $1.7 million in roster and performance bonuses. If he gets to 190 innings, which seems certain, Pettitte will get another $2 million.
Meanwhile, he now has 190 wins as a Yankee. Only Whitey Ford (236) and Red Ruffing (231) have more. Pettitte is 26-6 against the Orioles in his career. Only Ford (30) has more victories against Baltimore.
Here is Andy talking about what might have been:
Thanks to everybody for reading tonight. That was fun to watch. It sure would have been a challenge to write something worthy of a perfect game.