After Andy Pettitte’s worst start of the season, there seem to be two reasons for concern and one reason for hope.
Pettitte is not stretched out
The Yankees were hoping to get Pettitte up to 90 pitches tonight. Pettitte was hoping for 100. He instead threw 75 and will be limited to roughly 90 in his last regular-season start. “It would have been nice to get him up to 90 and feel good about that,” Girardi said. “But we didn’t get there so we’ll have to deal with it.”
The good news about his endurance: Pettitte said his arm and groin felt fine. His problem tonight was mechanical. “I didn’t feel like I was too tired out there,” he said. “I think I was OK as far as that.”
Pettitte was not sharp and has only one more start
There’s only one more opportunity for Pettitte to get himself ready for the playoffs, and he still has one pitch that needs to be refined. “I feel like I haven’t been able to establish my cutter back since I’ve been out,” he said. “It wasn’t very good in my rehab starts. Trying to win those games, I didn’t work on it very much and then it wasn’t real sharp in Baltimore but everything else was so sharp I didn’t have to use it.”
Tonight, Pettitte said his location was bad in the strike zone. His pitches were up, and when he tried to hit the corners, he hit the middle of the plate. He was also frustrated by his “absolutely horrible” pitch sequences.
Pettitte has been here before
Even with the bad outing and limited innings, the Yankees know Pettitte is capable of better than they saw tonight. “It’s not what you want to see, but I believe in Andy,” Girardi said. “…You’d like to see him get back to the way he threw in Baltimore. If he doesn’t, I’m not going to panic. Andy has a history of being very good as time goes on.”
Said Pettitte: “I’ve done horrible going into the playoffs and pitched great, and I’ve felt great going into the playoffs and struggled. It doesn’t matter. I’ve got something like 40 playoff starts. You go out there and you hope you’ve got it that night, and if you don’t, you’re probably going to get knocked around.”
Here’s Pettitte’s postgame session. He mentioned giving up nine runs in his last start last season, but that was actually in 2007.
• Alex Rodriguez tied and then moved ahead of Sammy Sosa for sixth place on baseball’s all-time home runs list. He hit No. 609 in the sixth inning, and No. 610 in the seventh. It was his 58th career multi-homer game.
• Mark Teixeira also went deep twice, Curtis Granderson had a solo home run and Nick Swisher hit a two-run homer. “How many home runs did we have?” Girardi said. “Six tonight? And lose? It’s hard to believe.”
• For Teixeira, a two-homer game was sign that he’s starting to feel better at the plate. “The last two days and even a couple of days before that I think I’ve been swinging the bat better,” he said. “It’s been feeling a little better. Hopefully I can build on the last two nights.”
• Granderson has hit eight home runs in his past 21 games at Yankee Stadium. Swisher is one home run away from matching last year’s total of 29.
• The last time two different Yankees hit more than one home run in the same game: July 11 of last year when Rodriguez and Eric Hinske did it.
• Dave Robertson was available. “I think they were going to try to stay away from me,” Robertson said. “But I was available if it came down to it.”
• Derek Jeter extended his season-high hitting streak to 13 games.
• Sergio Mitre pitched for the third time since August 27. He pitched two scoreless innings, allowing two hits and no walks.
• Kerry Wood and Boone Logan combined for two hitless innings. Wood struck out two.
Associated Press photos of Pettitte and Robinson Cano