Pettitte In Playoff Form

October 9, 2010 – 11:24 am

xyzzyNYY 5, Minnesota 2. Sure enough the May/June version of Andy Pettitte showed up, and all of a sudden the Yankee playoff chances went from very iffy to looking quite good. Pettitte threw seven very strong innings, on an amazingly low pitch count of just 88 pitches. He struggled a bit the first time through the order, giving up one run on three hits, but then settled down to retire at one point twelve Twins in a row. In the sixth he appeared to be faltering, giving up a solo home run and a triple, but then came back strong in the seventh, getting the side in order with two Ks and a foul-out. No doubt he could have pitched further and maybe even gotten the complete game, but with Wood and Rivera ready for the eighth and ninth, Girardi certainly made the right call in going to the bullpen for the last two innings. A great, great start by Pettite — the playoffs are all about pitching, and if Pettitte really is back to his early season form, then it’s a brand new game.

Meanwhile the offense was also showing signs of returning to it’s mid-season form as well, as there were contributions all up and down the lineup. Everyone got at least one hit except for Jorge Posada, but even then Jorge probably had the key at-bat in the game, getting a lead-off walk in the seventh which would lead to the winning runs being scored. Lance Berkman followed Posada’s walk with a double, and the speedy Posada actually scored all the way from first with the go-ahead run. You know things are looking up when Jorge kicks it in to high gear like that! Berkman also had a solo home run in the fifth, giving him the two key RBIs in the game.

So now the division series is all for the taking, with a 2-0 lead and home field for the next two games, and Phil Hughes on the mound. Hughes finished the season with two strong starts, plus one nice inning from the bullpen, so if he can match Andy’s performance, it ought to be a Twinkie sweep and some great momentum (at last!) going in to the ALCS.

Photo: Yahoo Sports! Box Score | FanGraphs Game Graph | PitchFX Game Tool

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