4/21/2008 03:15:00 AM

Sweeny's Got It Right

Posted by Mark McCray |

Sweeny Murti of WFAN had a GREAT post after this afternoon's win in Baltimore that reminds you just how important a veteran like Andy Pettitte is to the Yankees young starting rotation.

(I shortened the article for length so you will want to read all of it by clicking here or following the link above or you will miss a lot of good Pettitte quotes).
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This could be worse.

Last year after 20 games: 8-12. This year after 20 games: 10-10. And by this time last year the Yankees had already used these starting pitchers: Carl Pavano, Kei Igawa, Chase Wright, Jeff Karstens, and Darrell Rasner.

In the 20th game last year, Phil Hughes made his major league debut…still 2 months shy of his 21st birthday. Maybe I don’t need to keep reminding you how young Hughes (21) and Ian Kennedy (23) are. Maybe you don’t care because you figure if they’re pitching for the Yankees age is no excuse. You’re right to a certain extent, but their age and inexperience combine to form a reality that you can’t erase no matter how much you want to.

It’s easy to forget now about what the finished product looks like, but take a look back at Andy Pettitte’s rookie year of 1995. He got his first start on May 27th and he lost 6 of his first 9, getting run out in the 3rd inning against Texas on July 7th (a 10-0 loss). But Pettitte got better.

The Yankees went unbeaten in his next 5 starts with Pettitte pitching to a 2.02 ERA. He struggled some more after that. In back to back starts in late August, Pettitte lasted a total of 3.1 innings and gave up a total of 13 hits and 12 runs. Pettitte was 6-8 and the Yankees were 4 ½ games out of the Wild Card spot.

Then Pettitte won 6 of his last 7 starts, finished 12-9 and helped pitch the Yankees into the playoffs, his final victory coming on a Friday night in Toronto on the final weekend of the regular season.

That was the first run of pressure pitching Yankee fans had witnessed by Andy Pettitte, the kind we’ve all seen so much of since then and now almost take for granted.

So don’t think the Yankees are going to dump these guys like you dump pitchers off your fantasy teams.

The reality is the Yankees didn’t stick to their guns on not trading these guys in order to shuffle them out of the rotation three weeks into the season.

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