Just Like The Old Days: Pettitte, 37, Still Yankees' Go-To Guy

Spencer DavidsonContributor IMay 20, 2010

NEW YORK - MAY 05:  Andy Pettitte #46 of the New York Yankees delivers a pitch against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium on May 5, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Today is May 20, 1997.

OK, no it's not, but nobody would know that by looking at the stats for Yankees pitcher, Andy Pettitte. In last week's 7-1 rout of the Minnesota Twins in the Bronx, Pettitte did something he hasn't done since 1997.

Pettitte got the win last Saturday, which brought him to a perfect 5-0 start to begin the 2010 campaign. At age 37, the southpaw continues to show that after spending over a decade in pinstripes, he is still the most consistent pitcher in the Bombers' starting rotation.

Tonight, Pettitte will take the mound against the first place Tampa Bay Rays, where he will try to do something that he has done so many times for the Yankees before: provide a solid bounce back performance after a difficult loss the night before.

Pettitte has the highest winning percentage of any Yankees pitcher, possibly of all time, following a Bomber loss. After last night's 10-6 loss, and with the importance of this divisional matchup, there is no one who is better qualified to take the mound than Pettitte. And that is something that should give Yankees fans comfort.

Not only will the lefty have a chance to turn around a two-game skid following consecutive losses to the Rays and the Red Sox, but he will also have a chance starting the season 6-0, something that hasn't been possible since the '97 season.

At age 37 and after 15 seasons in the major leagues, Pettitte is still one of the game's best pitchers, and certainly one of the most consistent. After 12 season in Pinstripes, the fact that Pettitte has a chance for a perfect 6-0 start is something truly spectacular.

With what seems to be a yearly flirt with retirement, and eventual one-year signing with the Bombers, Andy Pettitte has also become perhaps the biggest steal in baseball. Over the past three seasons he has contemplated hanging up the cleats, and yet every year he ends up coming back to give the Yankees a solid season performance, giving them a chance to win whenever he is on the mound.

There is no denying it, Andy Pettitte is something special, and regardless of whether or not he gets to 6-0 tonight, at 37 and in the league for 15 years, this is something that nobody could have expected, and Pettitte has certainly been better than the Yankees ever could have hoped.

With a 1.79 ERA, Pettitte shows no sign of slowing down, and whenever he is on the mound, the Yankees know what they are going to get. No matter what happens tonight, Pettitte has already solidified himself as one of the greatest, and most consistent Yankees pitchers of all time.

If CC Sabathia is considered the ace of the Yankees starting rotation, then Andy Pettitte is certainly the heart of the rotation. He is the rock that holds this Yankees rotation together, and he is a doctor who will always stop the bleeding if the Yankees begin to struggle. At age 37, and at 5-0, Pettitte is still one of the most dominating pitchers in the game, and whether or not he remains perfect from this point forward, Yankees Universe can always breathe a sigh of relief, and feel good whenever no. 46 takes the mound.