Two postseasons ago, while he was still in New York pitching for the Yankees, Pettitte was the Game 2 stopper in each of the three rounds, defeating Minnesota, Boston and Florida after the Yankees had dropped the first game of each series.That Game 2 magic didn't take hold on Sunday night. "I can't allow myself to even think about that," Pettitte said. "All I can think about is just going out there and pitching my game. Man, I just hope I give us a quality start and be on the mound as long as I can." This is his first postseason for the Astros after elbow surgery cut short his 2004 season, but though Pettitte has been just as determined, he hasn't been as fortunate. Before starting Game 1 of the NLCS at St. Louis, Pettitte was running the bases during batting practice when he was drilled in the right knee by a Roy Oswalt line drive. Pettitte took a pain-killing shot so he could start the game, but he wasn't effective. Though Pettitte insisted that the injury didn't affect him, the Cards led 5-0 through five innings on their way to a 5-3 victory. Pettitte worked six innings, allowing five runs on eight hits. In Game 5 at Minute Maid Park, he continued to struggle, but left in the seventh inning having allowed two runs on seven hits. On Sunday night, Pettitte held the White Sox to two runs on eight hits, but he had obviously run out of gas when Garner pulled the plug. "He hasn't had a break," Oswalt said in Pettitte's behalf after the game. "They were trying to get the pitch count up, going deep in every count. Make him throw 15, 20 pitches an inning. This late in the season after elbow surgery last year, he gave us six solid innings. You couldn't ask for anything more."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less