It’s a baseball axiom that “real” pitchers learn to adapt to their diminishing stuff and maintain their excellence through mastery of the craft’s fundamentals. Generally, such hurlers tend to see lower strikeout totals, but that goes along with improved control. Basically, they try to become Greg Maddux.
Andy Pettitte has come out of retirement this season and turned into an inconsistent Kerry Wood.
He has been great in three of his five starts, and in each of them, the strikeout has been key. It was again last night, as he struck out ten batters in 7.1 innings, allowing just two hits and two walks in a 7-0 Yankees victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Pettitte’s control has always been above average, with a career rate of 2.82 BB/9. And he’s been excellent this year, walking just five batters in his 28.1 innings pitched thus far. But the real shocker has been his ability to punch people out.
In those three positive outings, he has struck out 27 batters over the course of 22.1 frames. Of...