(Andrew Eugene Pettitte. Courtesy of Getty Images)
A little bit of the luster was taken away from Andy Pettitte's return start after Mother Nature forced it from last night's main event onto the undercard of today's doubleheader. But only a little bit, because Andy coming back and pitching is still a big deal and Andy is still awesome. There was some added pressure on Andy to deliver in his limited pitch count, because Joe was going to have to be strategic with his bullpen usage, but the offense could have helped take some of that pressure off against the very hittable and generally terrible Toronto starting pitcher Henderson Alvarez. They got off to a good start on that front, then faded and had to hold on for a semi-nail biter of a win.
- After a scoreless top of the 1st from Andy, the offense came out and got 3 straight hits to get things rolling against Alvarez, the big blow a Robinson Cano RBI double. A couple more runs on outs and the Yanks had a nifty little 3-0 lead.
- Andy wasn't shy about using all of his pitches today, and some were sharper than others. He didn't use the cutter much, and he was throwing strike 1 regularly, but didn't seem to have the putaway location to work as efficiently as he would have liked.
- Pettitte worked around a couple baserunners in the 2nd, a pair of Nick Swisher errors in the 3rd, and a pair of singles in the 4th to keep the game scoreless, then had his best inning of the day in the 5th- a 7-pitch, K-groundout-groundout frame to end his day.
- The offensive disappearing act went into full effect after the 3-run 1st. Alvarez retired 12 of 13 to keep them at 3 through 5 innings, and got a "strike 'em out, catcher interference 'em out" double play on A-Rod and Cano to end the 7th.
- A smattering of bullpen arms got the Yankees to the 8th with the 3-run lead intact, and Joe handed it over to David Robertson. Unfortunately, D-Rob has fallen in love with his cutter lately, not realizing that he sucks at locating it and his curveball is his best pitch. D-Rob gave up 2 earned runs on 4 solid hits without getting out of the inning to cut the lead to 1.
- Ichiro Suzuki got a rare day hitting leadoff and he didn't disappoint. He singled and scored the game's first run in the 1st and came up with a bloop double down the left field line with 2 outs to keep the 8th inning going. Swish singled him home for a big insurance run.
- He cleaned up D-Rob's mess in the 8th, and Rafael Soriano disposed of the Jays with the quickness in the 9th to give the Yanks their first win of the day. Give this guy his due; he's been money since Mo went down.
- Cano: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 K, 2 LOB. The only run-producer in the middle of the lineup who actually produced a run the way you want to see your run producers produce runs.
- Pettitte: 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K. All things considered, this was a very good outing for Andy. He still has work to do, but to come back and toss 5 scoreless innings, even against the gutted Blue Jay lineup, is a great start. In typical Andy fashion, he battled and made pitches when he had to to work out of trouble.
- Ichiro: 3-4, 1 2B, 2 R, 1 K. Who says he's done? I thought Ichiro did a fine left-handed Derek Jeter impression from the leadoff spot to drive the offense.
- D-Rob: 0.2 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 K. Robertson has looked very much like the 2008-2009 "Heart Attack Houdini" version of himself in September, and I don't think it's a coincidence that he also happens to be throwing roughly 70% cutters this month and only 25% combined curveballs and four-seamers.
- Alex Rodriguez: 0-3, 1 RBI, 2 K, 3 LOB. A-Rod, your batting line. Whoof!
The second half of this double feature is coming up in a few hours. Ricky Romero faces David Phelps and we can expect to see a completely different Yankee lineup. That 2-game sweep that I talked about early today is still in play.