Tuesday, March 20, 2012
What If Andy Pettitte Had Never Left the Yankees?
With the "third coming" of Andy Pettitte, I bring back this piece, inspired by Lisa Swan of Subway Squawkers (see link to the right).
December 15, 2003 (point of divergence): As he previously had to talk George Steinbrenner and Brian Cashman out of trading him in 1999, so again does Yankee manager Joe Torre succeed in getting them to sign Andy Pettitte to a new contract.
October 20, 2004: Sorry, Yankee Fans, but Andy is no help in the meltdown against the Red Sox. In RL, he got hurt and didn't pitch after August 12. The Astros made the Playoffs anyway, but lost to the Cardinals. Andy doesn't come back any sooner if he stays in New York.
October 7, 2005: If the Yankees keep Pettitte, they don't desperately need another lefty, and they don't get Randy Johnson. So Pettitte starts Game 3 of the ALDS against the Angels. Instead of the Big Unit allowing 5 runs in the first 3 innings, resulting in an 11-7 Angel win, Pettitte allows 4 runs over 6, and the bullpen holds on for a 7-6 Yankee win. The Yankees take the series the next day.
October 16, 2005: Bad news: In RL, Andy started in the World Series for the Astros against the White Sox, but the South Siders still swept. I doubt he would have made a difference in a Yanks-ChiSox ALCS. No Pennant here. Besides, the White Sox had won just 1 Pennant in the last 86 years. It wouldn't have been right to deny them.
October 6, 2006: Another bad ALDS Game 3 for Randy Johnson turns into a good performance for Andy Pettitte, but it doesn't matter, as Kenny Rogers -- the Tony Fernandez of pitchers, he's lousy for the Yanks and Mets but great for non-New York teams -- pitches a shutout. The Yanks still lose the ALDS.
And in 2007, Andy has never left, and history resumes as we know.
So keeping Pettitte wouldn't have helped, unless it can be argued that he wouldn't have gotten hurt in New York 2004, the way he actually got hurt in Houston.
Sometimes these What-Ifs work out well. This time, the only real difference is that Randy Johnson never pisses us off in Pinstripes. Only in the uniforms of other teams.