Yankees-Indians: Why New York Needs Andy Pettitte

Tim MorleyCorrespondent IOctober 5, 2007

Starting pitching was a weak point for the Yankees this year.

The Yankees were eighth in the AL with a 4.49 ERA. The only two bright spots were Chien-Ming Wang and Andy Pettitte.

After Wang's thumping at the hands of the Indians last night, there is but one hope left.

Andy Pettitte began his career with the Yankees in 1995, and has won 164 games with the team. After twice winning 20 games and playing an integral role in the Bombers' run of championship seasons, Pettitte signed with the Houston Astros in December 2003.

In my opinion, GM Brian Cashman made a horrible mistake in letting Pettitte go. Thankfully, the error was corrected before this season, when the Yankees brought Pettitte back into the fold.

What makes Pettitte so valuable to the Yankees now isn't his year-in, year-out consistency—it's 14 career postseason wins.

Pettitte fights for every out in the playoffs, and gets the Yankees deep into games. People think that's to be expected—but remember that these are the best hitters in the world, and you have to face them three or four times apiece.

Pettitte's ability to shut them down makes him special.

Anyone who's watched Pettitte pitch over the course of his career knows it’s never pretty. He gets in jams. He has to make big pitches to get out of them.

And for years now, he's been able to do just that in the postseason.

With the Yankees reeling after a demoralizing defeat , Andy Pettitte is just what the doctor ordered—a true gamer who will show up with fire and intensity.

Hopefully everyone else will too.

I write a daily article on the state of the New York Yankees. You can read my past articles here at bleacherreport.com or at http://www.nyypride.com