|ESPN.com: MLB Playoffs 2012||[Print without images]|
BALTIMORE -- The New York Yankees will send the winningest pitcher in postseason history to the mound for Game 2 of the AL Division Series against the Baltimore Orioles.
Andy Pettitte, whose 19 postseason wins top baseball's all-time list, will get the ball Monday night against the Orioles, who have yet to name their starter. Hiroki Kuroda, the other Game 2 candidate, will start Game 3 at Yankee Stadium.
Pettitte will follow CC Sabathia, who will start Game 1 on Sunday night, an unusual decision by manager Joe Girardi, who generally does not like to start his two left-handers back to back.
"I think there's a couple of factors in this," Girardi said at a news conference before the Yankees' workout at Camden Yards on Saturday.
Girardi cited Kuroda's workload of 219 2/3 innings this year, a dozen more than he had thrown in any of his previous four big league seasons, as well as the fact that Pettitte has not pitched since Sept. 29, which means he will have been inactive for nine days by Game 2.
"We just felt the extra rest would probably help (Kuroda)," Girardi said. "And we don't want Andy to go too long without throwing. So it's kind of those two factors."
Not mentioned was the disparity in Kuroda's performance on the road as opposed to at home this season. At Yankee Stadium, Kuroda was 11-6 with a 2.72 ERA. On the road, he was 5-5 with a 4.23.
Kuroda went 16-11 with a 3.32 ERA. He was 1-1 against the Orioles this season with a 2.03 ERA, but both games were at Yankee Stadium.
Girardi also didn't mention the 40-year-old Pettitte's 19-10 record and 3.83 ERA in 42 postseason starts, as well as his 27-6, 2.52 career numbers against the Orioles. At Camden Yards, Pettitte is 16-4 with a 4.11 ERA.
After ending a one-year retirement after the 2010 season, Pettitte returned in May to compile a 5-4 record and 2.87 ERA in 12 starts, but his season was interrupted for 11 weeks after he suffered a broken left ankle from a comebacker June 27.
Pettitte returned Sept. 19 and won two of his final three regular-season starts, allowing just three earned runs in 16 2/3 innings. All three runs allowed came in his final start, a loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
"Last October, I probably spent a good bit of time down at my ranch, on the weekends when the kids weren't in school," Pettitte said Friday night before it was announced he would start Game 2.
"So it feels good. It's exciting to come back and have another chance."