Day: October 20, 2005

Andy Pettitte: Overrated Postseason Performer

Quick question:  Which of the following pitchers would you rather have?

Pitcher 1:  14-9, 4.11 ERA, 206 IP in 33 starts, 130 K
Pitcher 2:  14-5, 3.44 ERA, 209 IP in 33 starts, 199 K

Obviously, neither of these pitchers is a superstar, but given the lower ERA and higher strikeout rate of Pitcher 2, I’d go with him any day.

Now…

Pitcher 2 is Angels pitcher John Lackey’s 2005 season.
Pitcher 1 is Andy Pettitte’s career postseason statistics.

My point?  Anyone who says that Pettitte is this fantastic clutch postseason performer has no idea what they’re talking about.  The only reason he has so many wins is because he has had so many chances to pitch in the postseason, and if he didn’t have the Yankees offense behind him, he never would have won 14 games.  While Pettitte did have a great season this year, he’s always really been nothing more than a poor #2 starter or a good #3 starter his whole career.  So when I hear comparisons of Oswalt-Clemens-Pettitte to Smoltz-Glavine-Maddux it kind of makes me sick.  It’s Oswalt-Clemens…and then Pettitte.  How people can even confused the caliber of these 3 pitchers is beyond me; Pettitte’s not even close to being in their class.  I mean, come on, in 33 career postseason starts he doesn’t even have a single complete game?  Ugh.  Yet another beneficiary of unjustified New York hype.  At best, Pettitte is a guy that might keep your team in the game…but he’ll never win the game for you by himself, like Oswalt did last night.  And on the nights Pettitte doesn’t keep you in the game, he lets you down…bad.  Game 1 of the NLCS is one example, but does anyone remember Game 6 of the 2001 World Series?  Yankees up 3-2 with a chance to close it out and Pettitte just gets blown out of the freaking water by Arizona, while getting to watch a real ace, Randy Johnson, dominate the Yanks.  Final score of that game was 15 – 2, and Pettitte only made it through two measly innings.  What a dud.  And then everyone knows what happened in Game 7 of that series…

I’m not knocking John Lackey, he’s an above average pitcher.  But if he were on the Astros, no one would be talking about Clemens-Oswalt-Lackey with any sort of reverence, nor should they.  Trust me, there aren’t any hitters on the White Sox who are going to be thinking, “Aw crap, I gotta face Pettitte?”  Puhleeeez…

Prediction:  Astros in 7.

EDIT:  Okay, okay, I know that Pettitte doesn’t suck, but I guess I’m just trying to make the point that while he’s a decent pitcher, he’s not quite what people have made him out to be.  Basically, Andy Pettitte is Jarrod Washburn, just better looking and with a lot more press.  And if he can keep the Astros in games, then I’ll be very happy…for Astros fans.  But I’d prefer to have the Astros win and to have Pettitte’s mediocrity exposed.