Yankees 2013 Roster Report Card: Andy Pettitte

Al Bello

In his last season in pinstripes, Core Four member Andy Pettitte headed into retirement with dignity, posting another solid season to cap off an excellent career.

Grade: B

Statistics: 11-11, 185.1 Innings, 3.74 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 16.3% K%, 6.1% BB%, 3.2 fWAR

2014 Status: Retired

In his final season in pinstripes, Yankee stalwart Andy Pettitte was yet again his dependable self, producing another good season to cap off a great career. After un-retiring in 2012 and returning to the Bronx, only to lose two months of his season to injury, Pettitte decided to take one more shot with the Yankees in 2013. While he didn't blow opposing lineups away, he was, for the most part, his old self. He kept the Yankees in a lot of games and, many times, found himself on the losing end only after his offense failed to show up. This wasn't one his best seasons, but, in the midst of a tumultuous Yankee campaign, Pettitte's steady performance gave the Yankees some of the consistency that they lacked all year long.

Over the first month and a half of the season, Pettitte got off to a good start, recording a 4-3 record with a 3.83 ERA. However, he was placed on the 15-day DL due to a strained trapezius muscle on May 17. Upon returning to the team, Pettitte found himself mired in a bit of slump. His June ERA of 4.83 was the highest of any month of his season, and his struggles continued into July, in which he posted a 4.42 ERA, struggled to get strikeouts (just a 9.9 K% during the month, his only single digit strikeout percentage in any month this year), and gave up six home runs in just over 36 innings pitched.

In August, however, as the Yankees closed to within striking distance of the wild card, Pettitte regained the form he'd had earlier in the season and for much of his career. After a disastrous start on August 5 against Chicago (where he lasted just 2.2 innings and gave up seven earned runs), Pettitte gave up one earned run or less in four straight starts, including three straight at the end of the month where he pitched at least six innings and earned three straight wins. His ERA for the month was 3.04, he gave up only home run in 26.2 innings, and he played a pivotal role in getting the Yankees three crucial wins against AL East teams as the season neared September.

The Yankees' failure to reach the playoffs cannot be blamed on Pettitte. September was the veteran's best month of the season, as he once again rose to the occasion, pitching his best when the stakes were highest. As the Yankees made their futile push for the playoffs, Pettitte posted a 2.63 ERA while pitching at least six innings in all of his six starts that month. This consistent ability to go deep into games became even more important as the Yankee bullpen imploded during the last few weeks of the season (good riddance, Joba).

His final game in Yankee stadium was a classic Pettitte performance. He threw seven innings while giving up just two runs on two hits. Unfortunately, it was also a classic 2013 Yankees performance, as an injury-riddled offense devoid of many of its stars failed to provide Pettitte with any run support, and the Yankees lost 2-1. He threw another classic gem in his final start, which was fittingly in Houston, the only other team he ever played for. Pettitte threw a complete game, giving up only one run on five hits. While it would have been nice to see Pettitte's career capped by another postseason run, it was still good to see Pettitte go out on a high note, and not as a shadow of his former self like so many other stars who hang on to the game far too long.

As a younger fan who's only known Yankees teams with Andy Pettitte on them (I choose to ignore those years in Houston), it's tough to say goodbye to a great Yankee who played such an integral role in so many postseasons and in five World Series titles. It will certainly be hard to replace him, both in the clutch and in the clubhouse. Thanks for the memories, Andy. You'll be missed.

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