Andy Pettitte has had a remarkable MLB career. He's won 12 or more games in 14 of his first 15 seasons, and is the only pitcher in major league history to have a record above .500 for all of his first 15 seasons.
Missing amongst those accomplishments is a Cy Young award. This year may be Pettitte's best chance at that coveted pitching award yet—and seemingly, no one is talking about it.
The 37-year-old left-hander is 8-1 with an ERA of 2.46. His eight wins ranks second in the American League behind only David Price of the Rays, and his ERA ranks third behind Price and Doug Fister of the Mariners.
The National League's pitching has stolen the show this year. Ubaldo Jimenez, Jaime Garcia, Mike Pelfrey, Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Roy Halladay—the list just goes on and on, literally.
In the American League, Pettitte has been the epitome of consistent this year. In his 12 starts, he's given up more than two runs in just two of those starts. He's gone less than six innings just twice, and he's pitched seven innings or more six times.
Without research, an average baseball fan would assume Pettitte's W-L record would be enhanced because he pitches for an offensive powerhouse such as the Yankees. Obviously, it helps (New York averages 5.67 runs in the games where Pettitte pitches). But Andy's minuscule ERA is the real reason for his success thus far.
In fact, an ERA this low is quite uncommon for Pettitte. His career ERA is nearly a run and a half higher at 3.87, and his ERA's been higher than 4.00 in nine of his 15 seasons.
It's remarkable considering the park he pitches in more often than not is, to put it nicely, a joke. Lazy fly balls routinely find their way into the right field stands. While that little quirk has a way of leaving pitchers snake-bitten, it hasn't affected Pettitte too much this year...yet.
I bring up the Cy Young argument, because at his current pace, he will wind up with a record of 21-3. If the ERA can stay decently low, he should be a shoe-in for his first career Cy Young award. Which is such a cool story, considering he claims 2010 will be his last season .
Cy Young or not, the real story will be whether Pettitte still decides to walk away after this year, if he continues to pitch like he has over the next three and a half months. It'd be a shame to see a pitcher with more to give hang up his cleats, but we need to remember that those comments came before the season.
Andy's heart may be back in Texas with his family, but his arm is definitely still in the game.
It will be interesting to see which one he listens to.
While Pettitte may be one of the more under-appreciated pitchers in the game today, he may be rewarded with one of the greatest honors a pitcher can receive at the end of the year. That would definitely be hard to walk away from.