Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Pettite Loses in Return to Bronx

Sunday, May 13, 2012. The day that Andy Pettitte pitched again in the Bronx.

This day was the first game of Andy's third stint in pinstripes. A grateful crowd was on hand at the Stadium to see him back in action.

Pettitte has been a consistently reliable pitcher over the course of his career. His rate statistics are solid and he has logged north of 3000 innings in his career.

I was in attendance for the Mother's Day matinee. There was already an eager buzz about the ballpark as I arrived. I was eating lunch at around 12:30 when I saw the Yankee players on the big scoreboard, sticking to a simple script and welcoming the fans to the park. After Girardi, Andy Pettitte's face appeared on the screen. After saying "Hey fans, this is Andy Pettitte, and welcome to Yankee Stadium," he received a fairly large response from the fans already in the park. Soon thereafter, he started making his way from the dugout to the bullpen in right-center, received sparse amounts of clapping from each section that he passed.

After a live rendition of God Bless America, the lineups were being announced. Anxiousness arose as the names passed. As Andy's name, number, and position boomed over the speakers, the crowd expoded in a huge standing ovation. Once some people started to sit after ten or fifteen seconds, Pettitte's name was chanted continuously.

An-dy Pe-ttitte clap clap clap clap clap

An-dy Pe-ttitte clap clap clap clap clap

An-dy Pe-ttitte clap clap clap clap clap

The bleacher creatures resumed the chants just minutes later as the final stop of their role call. Pettitte never acknowledged them, and the call carried on for maybe four or five pitches before it lost steam.

Not a surprise, Pettitte received a very large cheer (and standing ovations from some) after he completed the first innings. During the inning, he reached as high as 90 MPH on the gun.

Pettitte was extremely effective and economical into the seventh inning. He had not given up his first hit until the fourth, and he had cruised his way through the previous innings with the help of many ground-ball outs. Then, following a walk, Smoak took out Pettitte, a two-run homer in the first row over the auxiliary scoreboard. Two innings later, Casper Wells clunked a two-run shot off of the right field foul pole. After an out in the seventh was recorded, Pettitte exited with another standing O around him.

Millwood was successfully crafty in seven innings. The Yankees only pushed across one run from a Martin bases-loaded walk. They later tacked on another via a Robby Cano base on balls.

Clay Rapada surrendered two more in the ninth, reaching the final 6-2 score.

I did happen to notice that Andy was slow to get off of the mound when grounders were put into play. On one instance, a drag bunt was dribbled past Pettitte, rolling toward the second baseman. Teixeira fielded the ball because he was close to the infield grass. As he slid to his right to field the ball, there was nobody covering first. On another play, Tex was playing deeper when a grounder came his way. He was able to race to the bag to record the out, but it was a closer play than it had to be.

Andy Pettitte may not be as effective as he once was, but he can certainly still be an innings-eater. In his first start since the 2010 playoffs, he managed to record nineteen outs. With Rivera done for the season and Robertson on the 15-day DL with an oblique strain, the starters need to go deep.

“I thought it was so awesome." Nick Swisher commented afer the game. "I was so excited. I know we lost today and that’s what a lot of people are going to focus on — I could really care less about that. We got our boy back.”

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