Consider this part 2 in a 3 part series. After AJ’s last start in September (tomorrow) I’ll be doing one of these for him as well. I’m leaving out Joba Chamberlain because of the oddities caused by his innings limits and the mish-mosh of fifth starters isn’t really worth looking at unless you are into extreme pain.
Again, I’m doing these now because the absolute last run through the rotation is probably going to feature abbreviated starts unless something special is happening and that’s honestly pretty unlikely.
Andy is a guy who has always had ups and downs. He had an awful May–there’s no way around that one–and then two months where we found out later he was a bit achy. June, July and September all featured the usual assortment of quality starts and clunkers. His FIP says that maybe he was getting a bit unlucky those months but when you put a lot of balls in play that tends to happen.
August sort of came out of nowhere and Andy somehow lead the AL in FIP that month, don’t ask me how that happened but it was pretty obviously not going to keep up.
In the end, the Yankees got what they were expecting out of Andy which is an ERA somewhere between 4 and 4.5 and a good number of innings put in.
Looking at this it’s pretty easy to tell why he was so horrible in May, kinda bleh in September and amazing in August. The quality of competition (Seattle, for example) helped for sure but strikeouts are strikeouts.
One thing I found troubling about this season is that his BB/9 is .5 higher than his career norm. Was it an aberration? We may never know since his future is not locked up, but perhaps his pitching through some minor injuries hurt his command.
Interesting that Andy Pettitte was a groundball machine in the month where he performed the worst. But then again, maybe not so much as he gave up 7 homeruns in May which may indicate that he was just getting hit hard, and hard hit groundballs often find holes.
Other than that, it’s pretty standard Andy recording a few more flyouts for his groundouts. His numbers are down from his normal GB/FB ratio but that’s might be just a blip. About 10% of the flyouts he’s gotten this year have been infield pop-ups so maybe that’s the difference.
This is the sort of thing a Pitch F/X expert could analyze, but I am not one so I am not going to make an attempt at that.
Just in case you weren’t sure about how awful Andy was in May and part of June, here’s another way to look at it. A simplified way to look at this is batters facing Andy hit him like Robinson Cano hits everyone. That’s pretty bad unless he’s pitching for the other team, which Andy was not as far as I know.
Unlike May, in June his numbers are bumped by some real clunkers but he actually had a few good starts as well, and then he went on a roll before leveling out a bit in September.
Overall, Andy has had the season that was expected from him. Would I make him the #2 in my playoff rotation? No, probably not when you consider the quality of pitcher he’d be facing from the ALCS on and that his home/away splits show that he has pitched rather badly in Yankee Stadium and pretty well on the road this year.