Saturday, June 8, 2013
Pettitte as precise as when it all began
By ESPN Stats & Information
Getty ImagesIt took Andy Pettitte a few tries, but he finally reached 250 wins on the day his son Josh was drafted to pitch for the New York Yankees.
Can you tell the difference? The Pettitte on left is from win #250. The Pettitte on right is circa 1995.
Win number 250 came 18 years and one day to the day of his first win and the starts were nearly identical in nature from a statistical perspecitve, though separated by about 3,000 miles in distance.
That the victory came against the Mariners was noteworthy because that’s the one team he’s struggled with the most among American League clubs. He’s 12-13 in his career against them, 182-99 against the rest of the American League.
Pettitte isn’t done with milestones just yet. His six strikeouts gave him 1,940 with the Yankees. That is 16 shy of Hall-of-Famer Whitey Ford’s all-time franchise record.
The Elias Sports Bureau noted that Pettitte is the fifth pitcher to win his 250th career game in a Yankees uniform, joining Red Ruffing (1942), Roger Clemens (2000), Randy Johnson (2005) and Mike Mussina (2007).
Elias also shared that 23 pitchers have earned their 250th career win over the last 70 years, but only five had fewer losses at the time of their 250th win than Pettitte: Johnson, Clemens, Greg Maddux, Mussina, Jim Palmer and Tom Seaver.
How Pettitte won
What made Pettitte so good in his 250th win was what made him so good in his previous 249.
Though Pettitte has never been an overpowering pitcher, he’s always been a precise one.
Saturday, that meant throwing his slider/cutter (some call it one thing, others call it another) knee-high on the inside corner to tie up a righty, and off the outside corner to make a lefty reach for it.
Pettitte threw that pitch 24 times and netted eight outs with it (including five of his six strikeouts), yielding only one hit.
In all, Pettitte got 18 outs with pitches in the strike zone, his most in a game since August 31, 2009 against the Orioles.
He started 13 batters with an 0-1 count and retired all 13. He got to two strikes on 12 hitters and retired all 12. It’s the first time this season that he retired every hitter against whom he got to two strikes.
The Mariners were 0-for-5 in at-bats ending in pitches to that location.
That's an unusual type of success for Pettitte. In his last five games, batters are 2-for-24 (.083) in at-bats ending on pitches "up" against him.