Command is often considered the most significant difference between getting rocked and dominating a game.
Andy Pettitte has made three starts since returning from a groin injury and though he felt decently about his cutter last week, the complete command has yet to return. If it’s missing again tonight in Game 2, the fact he has extensive postseason experience becomes irrelevant.
“If you don’t have great command, you will get knocked around,” Pettitte said. “The first half of the season, I was able to have the success I had because I was moving the ball around with all my pitches, not just my fastball. I was able to locate my cutter, was able to locate my change-up down and away whenever I wanted to throw it.”
Before missing two months with a groin injury, Pettitte was 11-2 with a 2.88 ERA. He went just 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA after his return.
“It is all repetitive and just getting the same feel and release point on each of your pitches,” he said.
The veteran certainly had command during three series clinching wins last year, but this is the first time Pettitte is making a postseason start after a short return from injury.
“I wouldn’t say he was 100 percent pitching like normal,” said manager Joe Girardi, who sent CC Sabathia to pitch in last night’s Game 1. “Usually you have the six starts since spring training to get ready for the season and you build on it … he was kind of on a fast track. He made two rehab starts basically and went at it. So I think at times he didn’t feel like he had all of his weapons, but I think he does now.”