Andy Pettitte won his 200th game last night, leading the Yankees to a 2-1 victory over the hapless Orioles in the Bronx.
Pettitte went 7 2/3, allowing one run on seven hits and two walks, before yielding to the powerful combination of Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera.
For as long as the offense has carried the Yankees in the second half, it was nice to watch the starting pitching pick up the bats for a change. The Yankees pulled to within 1 1/2 games of division-leading Boston. It would be nice to win the division, mostly for bragging rights, but it's more important that the Yankees face Cleveland in the first round. Anaheim still seems to have the Yankees' number, and the Bombers have dominated the Indians this year.
But right now, the focus should be on Andy Pettitte and his tremendous accomplishment. As much as anyone, Pettitte represented the '96-'01 dynasty Yankees, and the team never should have let his Houston vacation happen. Yes, of course Pettitte has benefited from being on a very good team, but he's been one of the most consistent left-handers in the game since he was brought up. His return to the Yankees has been the feel-good story of the year, and without him, the Yankees might not be in the playoff picture at all.
And I still hate Buck Showalter for not bringing him in to relieve for Jack McDowell in extra innings of Game 5 of the 1995 Division Series.