First Pitch: Pettitte cared as much as you

Andy Pettitte will make his final appearance just 20 minutes from where his baseball dream began. Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports

HOUSTON -- Andy Pettitte grew up 20 minutes from Houston. In Deer Park, Texas, Pettitte developed his burning desire to win. Seventeen years ago, YES Network's Jack Curry, then with the New York Times, described a tale from Pettitte's childhood the month before the 1996 Yankees won their title.

Even then, Andy Pettitte wanted to know why his team had lost and why the other kids, their minds drifting to cartoons or ice cream cones, were so lax.

"That's the biggest thing that has stuck in my mind about him," said Tom Pettitte, his father. "He looked up at us from the back and he was still crying. He said he was crying because they lost and because the other kids didn't care. 'Why don't they care?'"

You see, the reason why Yankees fans care so much about Pettitte starts right there. He always seemed to care as much as you did. While you were yelling at the screen, he was yelling at himself on the mound.

But no one receives the tributes that Pettitte and Mariano Rivera have received by just caring. There have to be results, and Pettitte's had plenty. Saturday night, Pettitte will take the mound for the 575th time in his career between the regular season and postseason. He is 255-153 with a 3.86 ERA in the regular season. In the playoffs, he was 19-11 with a 3.81 ERA.

Pettitte, 41, will make his final start of his career on Saturday. When you think about, it seems wholly appropriate that Pettitte will end his career pitching in Houston against a Clemens -- Paul Clemens.

UP NOW: Ian O'Connor on Robinson Cano. Alex Rodriguez says he is probably done for the season. Mariano Rivera will decide if and where he plays this weekend. Pettitte was honored by the Astros.

ON DECK: Ian and I will have you covered. Game time is 7 p.m. ET.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: How should Joe Girardi handle taking Pettitte out?