The last time Andy Pettitte was 5-0, he was also 24 years old, pitching his third season in the major leagues. His 1.79 ERA and nine runs allowed are the lowest of his career through seven starts.
“I always believe that Andy can be great every time he takes the ball,” Joe Girardi said. “I’ve caught him. I’ve coached him. I’ve managed him. To me, he really has what it takes inside to be a consistent player. At times he’s hard on himself, but he expects a lot every time he goes out there. Whether he’s feeling great or not feeling great, he’s always been a team player, willing to say I might be a little cranky but I’m still taking the ball. I would never put a limitation on Andy because of what he’s got inside.”
At 37 years old, Pettitte has been as good as ever. Or, according to the numbers, maybe even better than ever. He said he was hesitant to let his pitches go in the bullpen — some lingering concern about the elbow — but he put it out of his mind when he got to the mound.
“I went out there for the first inning and I was telling myself, just throw the ball,” Pettitte said. “If it starts hurting, we’ll deal with it.”
It never started hurting, and Pettitte was able to roll through 6.1 scoreless innings, getting some huge plays from his defense and getting a huge out when Joe Mauer flied to center to strand two runners in the sixth inning. Pettitte is now 5-0 for the first time since he was Francisco Cervelli’s age.
“Young pitchers, they’ve got to realize it’s not speed, it’s not how hard you throw,” Cervelli said. “Everything is mental. It’s where you put every pitch. He’s able to throw every pitch in every count. That’s it.”
• Curtis Granderson felt “very encouraged” after eight sprints of roughly 60-yards. “Each one was progressively faster and harder,” he said. Granderson estimated that he was up to 70 or 75 percent for the last sprint, and he hopes to take batting practice on the field tomorrow.
• Brian Cashman said Chan Ho Park remains on scheduled to be activated tomorrow.
• Joe Girardi let Nick Swisher bat left-handed in the middle of today’s game, but he’s not sure he’ll let Swisher start against a right-handed pitcher tomorrow. “I’m not sure what I’m going to do tomorrow because it was left-handed that hurt him to swing,” Girardi said. “We’ll discuss it. He’s day to day every day. I have some concerns about him going out there left-handed, though.”
• A lot of great plays by the Yankees today: Brett Gardner’s catch, Alex Rodriguez’s throw, Nick Swisher’s catch, Robinson Cano’s double play, Andy Pettitte spearing a line drive. “They put the ball in play, they don’t strike out a ton, and you have to play good defense behind your pitchers when you face the Twins,” Girardi said.
• Gardner said that first inning fly ball is normally a tough play because it was hit off the bat and the first step is usually tough to gauge, but this one stayed low enough that he knew off the bat he had a chance to make the play. “It was low enough that I was able to get a good jump,” he said.
• The Yankees have now won 25 of their past 28 regular season home games against Minnesota.
• Gardner snapped his 16-game on-base streak.
• Jorge Posada has doubled in his past three games… Alex Rodriguez has driven in a run in 12 of his past 16 games… Mark Teixeira has six multi-hit games in May… Derek Jeter’s two hits matched his total from the previous six games in which he went 2-for-25.
• Mike Ashmore talked to Christian Garcia about being released. Garcia indicated that he’d like to rejoin the Yankees organization.
Associated Press photos