Happy Cinco de Mayo, peeps! In the rubber game of this 3-game series, it's Andy Pettitte against Dan Straily. My advice to Straily, based on what I've seen so far this season, is simple: Keep the ball down, down, and down. When Straily's fastball is above the belt, it appears to flatten out and sit on a tee waiting for the batter to launch it. And LHs at Yankee Stadium don't need to launch balls very much in order to play pepper with the RF seats.
I think Straily's fastball is fine down at the knees, where it can co-mingle with the sliders and changeups Straily wants to throw in the lower half of the strike zone as well. If Straily can keep the ball below the belt, I think he can come up big, but if he's up at all with his pitches you might see a redux of batting practice.
As far as Pettitte is concerned, his career stats may surprise you. Pettitte has a great winning percentage of .633 (248-144), but that's largely because along with being durable and getting deep into games throughout his career, Pettitte has almost always played on teams that scored a lot of runs.You might also have an inflated sense of Pettitte's acumen because he has handled the A's well throughout his career, sporting a record of 11-6 and a 3.35 ERA.
However, Pettitte's career ERA is 3.86 and he has allowed more than a hit per inning (3,286 hits in 3,163.1 career IP). He's good, but he's not great, and pitching for a Yankees lineup that is not Yankee-like he might not enjoy the usual run support he has depended on to put 248 wins on the board. So why stop at allowing 3,286 hits, Andy -- shall we add a few more to the ledger on this fine Sunday?
The starting lineups, in which Josh Reddick gets the day off and you wonder where Michael Rouse is: