ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Andy Pettitte was as upset tonight as I've ever seen him after a loss, even after one in October from which you don't get a chance to come back.
The normally talkative left-hander was a man of few words after his, and the Yankees', loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, and those few words were mostly delivered between clenched teeth.
Clearly, he wasn't happy about taking his first loss of the season after three wins on three outstanding performances, and clearly he was disappointed with himself for being unable to pitch his way out of trouble after Brennan Boesch allowed Kelly Johnson's single to get past him in the fifth inning, putting runners on second and third with none out.
But there seemed to be more than just the outcome of the game bothering Pettitte. Asked about the two-run single he allowed to Ben Zobrist after getting two outs on strikeouts, Pettitte snapped, "Just a bad sequence."
Asked to explain what he meant by "a bad sequence," Pettitte repeated, "It was just not a good sequence."
A third attempt at clarification was met with this: "It was just really not a great sequence for me. It wasn’t a terrible pitch, but obviously it was the wrong pitch at that time, I think.”
It raised the question of whether Pettitte was displeased with catcher Francisco Cervelli's pitch selection, or with his own failure to shake him off and throw what he considered a better pitch.
Of course, there were other reasons the fifth inning went bad, starting with the 1-2 pitch to Jose Molina that Pettitte bounced off the former Yankee's foot, giving the Rays a leadoff baserunner. Then came Johnson's hit and Boesch's misplay. Still, Pettitte came close to escaping when he struck out Desmond Jennings swinging and caught Ryan Roberts looking.
Then, with two out and first base open, Joe Girardi might have chosen to walk Zobrist, who had a .368 career batting average and two home runs off Pettitte in 20 at-bats, to pitch to Evan Longoria, who had shown difficulty against Pettitte with just two hits and 11 strikeouts, also in 20 at-bats. The Yankees chose to pitch to Zobrist and it backfired when Zobrist doubled to right-center, driving in both baserunners.
"I had no idea what my numbers were on him," Pettitte said. "I’m just trying to get him out. I wasn’t concerned with who was up there; I was just trying to make pitches and I didn't, and that's tough to swallow."
If he had known the numbers, would it have changed Pettitte's approach?
“No," he said. "I feel like everybody is hitting over .300 off me in their career, to tell you the truth."