Stats say Pettitte off to career-best start

Stats say Pettitte off to career-best start

ANAHEIM -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia opined that Andy Pettitte is pitching "the best we've ever seen him, probably ever" after Saturday's start, and as far as the numbers are concerned, he may be right.

The Elias Sports Bureau did some digging and revealed that Pettitte's numbers through four starts -- a 3-0 record, 1.29 ERA, 22 strikeouts in 28 innings -- are the lowest ERA and also the highest strikeout total that Pettitte has had through his first four games in any of his 16 seasons in the Major Leagues.

"The thing I was surprised about, the first couple of starts, my stamina wasn't there," Pettitte said. "I felt like I was fortunate that I've been able to get off to the start that I've been able to get off to. Now the stamina is there."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said in the spring that several rainouts might wind up helping Pettitte in the long run, giving him a few extra breathers after pitching into November last year, including the World Series clincher on Nov. 4 against the Phillies.

Pettitte felt like his pitches were all where they needed to be when the Yankees headed north, but he did not necessarily feel like extra rest -- even the additional day here and there during the schedule -- would help him.

"I don't want to feel strong, and that's what happened to me in the third inning [Saturday]," Pettitte said. "I got off to a good start and was nice and relaxed and felt like I had everything going.

"I tried to add a little bit to it because I was feeling so strong, and when I do that, it goes south. Later in the game I got a little tired, and for me, I don't throw quite as hard to the catcher and it's usually a good thing."

Still, you could have fooled Scioscia, who wondered if Pettitte had found the Fountain of Youth. Girardi chuckled when asked about his rotation's Ponce De Leon.

"That's something I'm going to ask him, if he found it, because I'm going to look for it too," Girardi said.