First Pitch: Pettitte in a big spot

August, 16, 2013
Andy PettitteDavid Butler II/USA TODAY SportsCan Andy Pettitte turn back the clock tonight at Fenway?
Andy Pettitte will make his 513th major league start Friday night.

He'll do it against a very familiar foe.

In 41 career appearances (39 starts) against the Boston Red Sox, Pettitte is 19-11 with a 3.87 ERA. In 20 appearances (18 starts) at Fenway Park, Pettitte is 7-4 with a 3.98 ERA.

In years past, this is who the Yankees would want on the mound opening a critical mid-August series against their archrivals.

But Pettitte turned 41 years old in June. And this year has not exactly gone as planned.

After coming out of retirement and re-joining the Yankees last May, Pettitte made 12 starts and pitched to a 2.87 ERA. But a year later, in 21 starts, Pettitte's ERA is nearly two runs higher (4.62). And he currently sports a losing record (7-9), which would be a first for him if the season ended today.

Pettitte has faced the Red Sox twice this year. In his first start, on April 4 at Yankee Stadium, Pettitte pitched eight innings, giving up one run on eight hits and picking up a win. On July 19 in Boston, Pettitte pitched 6 1/3 innings, giving up four runs on six hits, resulting in a loss.

He's 0-3 with a 5.47 ERA since July 19. The Yankees desperately need Pettitte to break out of that slump Friday night.

Andy Pettitte at Fenway Park -- we may never see this again. Can the wily lefty turn back the clock and slay the Sox one more time?

UP NOW: The Yankees failed to complete a four-game sweep of the Angels on Thursday, losing 8-4. Phil Hughes was OK, but still lost. Boone Logan made a big mistake. Vernon Wells said the Yanks have some work to do. Mark Reynolds, acquired from the Indians, could help.

ON DECK: It'll be Pettitte versus fellow lefty Felix Doubront (8-5, 3.66), first pitch scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand will have you covered from Fenway.

QUESTION: Do you think Pettitte is done, or can he bounce back the rest of the season?
Kieran Darcy is an staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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