Number 46 has a special spot in the hearts of New York Yankees fans and will one day have a spot in Monument Park. By the close of 2009, Andy Pettitte had earned the W in all three rounds of the 2009 playoffs and won his fifth World Series with the Yankees. None of this came as a surprise to Yankee fans who would expect nothing less from one of their core four that includes Pettitte, Jeter, Posada, and Rivera.
As the first month of the 2010 season comes to a close, Pettitte, the Major League record holder with 18 post season victories, is off to the best start of his career. He has posted a 3-0 record, 1.29 ERA, and 22 strikeouts in 28 innings, which are the lowest ERA and highest strikeout totals Pettitte has recorded in his sixteen year career.
It is still early, but it is not out of the question to think that Pettitte is capable of reaching 20 wins this season. He previously reached this achievement in 1996, going 21-8 with a 3.37 ERA in 221.0 innings and, arguably, should have been named the American League CY Young award winner over Pat Hentgen. That season, the Yankees went on to win their first title since 1978 and the birth of a dynasty began. In 2003, Pettitte once again went 21-8 with a 4.02 ERA in 208.1 innings however, the Yankees fell to a young and extremely talented Florida Marlins squad in the Fall Classic. Other notable seasons include 1997 and 2000 in which Pettitte won 18 games and 19 games, respectively.
“The thing I was surprised about, the first couple of starts, my stamina wasn’t there. I felt like I was fortunate that I’ve been able to get off to the start that I’ve been able to get off to. Now the stamina is there,” says Pettitte.
Limited spring training starts have been attributed to Andy Pettitte’s success in 2010 and there is no reason, injuries aside, that he will not continue to pitch well. Pettitte has the best team in baseball behind him and is poised to add more October wins to the record books and a sixth ring to his collection.
Jay Ferraro is the Executive Producer of Baseball Digest LIVE and Gotham Baseball LIVE. He is also the Fantasy Editor for Baseballdigest.com as well as a columnist for Baseball Digest Magazine and Gothambaseball.com. You can reach him at Jay_Ferraro@Juno.com , follow him on Twitter , add him on Facebook and check out his Official Website.