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Andy Pettitte is among the people surprised by how well Andy Pettitte is pitching

Jun 6, 2012, 11:19 AM EDT

Seattle Mariners v New York Yankees Getty Images

Andy Pettitte struck out 10 batters in shutting out the Rays for 7.1 innings last night, improving his ERA to 2.78 in five starts since coming out of retirement.

And afterward the Yankees left-hander admitted to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com that even he’s surprised by how well he’s pitching at age 39:

The feel for all my pitches has just gotten better, I feel like. I feel like as long as I can stay healthy and you carry somewhat of a velocity on your fastball to keep hitters honest, if I can keep moving the ball around and keep the feel of my pitches, I feel like I’m going to be how I was when I left. I’ve said it, you don’t really know what to expect coming back, but I’m obviously pleasantly surprised so far that I’ve been like I’ve been.

Pettitte’s average fastball has lost some zip, going from 89 miles per hour before retirement to 87 miles per hour now, but his secondary numbers show that his first sub-3.00 ERA since 2005 isn’t merely a fluke. He’s inducing more ground balls than ever before and has a 32/7 K/BB ratio in 36 innings for his best strikeout rate since 2004 and the best strikeout-to-walk ratio of his 17-year career.

  1. proudlycanadian - Jun 6, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    As a baseball fan, I am also surprised by his performance. At one time, I did not think that he was Hall Of Fame worthy. I am beginning to change my opinion of his Hall Of Fame credentials.

    • nukeladouche - Jun 6, 2012 at 11:40 AM

      I’m a Yankee fan, and while I don’t think he’s HOF-worthy, I’m pleased as punch, as they say, to have him back and pitching this well (and I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t expect anything like this when he announced he was coming back). Fingers crossed hoping he can keep it up.

    • baseballisboring - Jun 6, 2012 at 3:07 PM

      5 starts changed your mind?

  2. atworkident - Jun 6, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    It’s not surprising. I think he took a year off the recover and clear his name from the Roger Clemens steroid scandal. He was a good pitcher when he left. After a year to recover its not shocking that he is still good.

    • awesomenar - Jun 6, 2012 at 11:44 AM

      It’s not shocking that he still knows how to pitch, but it is somewhat shocking that he has such exceptional command over all his pitches so quickly after not throwing for over a year. How would you expect an elite golfer to play after not touching a club in that long?

    • giantsfan428 - Jun 6, 2012 at 2:20 PM

      “I think he took a year off the recover and clear his name from the Roger Clemens steroid scandal.”
      I think that’s ridiculous. If anything, he would have continued to pitch instead of coming back after a year off. Because he’s pitching so well, dumb@$$es like peterjmancuso down there are making snide comments that he’s gotta be on steroids rather than he was just a good pitcher. And another point, if he was truly trying to distance himself from the steroid scandal then why make your comeback WHILE YOU’RE ON THE WITNESS LIST FOR A FEDERAL TRIAL ABOUT SAID STEROID SCANDAL? He testified in May! During the season! In the middle of his comeback! Not exactly the strategy I would take if I was trying to “clear my name”.

  3. yankeesfanlen - Jun 6, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    Mr. Fiddley-Fart is doing fine. Guess at the tender age of almost-40 he’s learned that throwing to the plate is more productive than throwing to first base 3 times per hitter.
    Last night’s game was only 2:45 or so, must be some kind of modern record for AL East competition

  4. randygnyc - Jun 6, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    Hes got excellent command of his fastball, curveball, cutter and 2 seam fastball, which he said was they key to all his pitches being effective. He worked on the 2 weaker and made some tweaks during a bullpen session this week. The thing about pettitte is that his delivery and arm action is effortless. Without injury, I expect him to be able to sustain this success despite his age.

  5. peterjmancuso - Jun 6, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    yeah I’m sure he has a really good uhh “training program.” Nothing suspicious here.

    • cackalackyank - Jun 6, 2012 at 2:10 PM

      Gosh I would have been SOOOO dissapointed if someone hadn’t tried to take away credit from AP by bringing up a hint of steroids. -sarcasm

      • peterjmancuso - Jun 6, 2012 at 2:22 PM

        yeah it’s totally out of line to question someone who has been caught cheating before. -sarcasm

      • bigharold - Jun 6, 2012 at 9:34 PM

        “yeah it’s totally out of line to question …”

        Except that it was clearly noted that his fast ball is slower which would indicate that he’s in fact not doing anything suspicious. Try harder next time.

    • yankeehatersaredelusional - Jun 6, 2012 at 2:53 PM

      that’s why his fastball is 2 mph slower right?

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