The Andy Pettitte Factor
It's time to start wondering just how good the Yankees will be this year based on three factors. The lineup hitting in timely spots, health and the depth of the pitching staff. Andy Pettitte arrives in the last two categories and could realistically be the difference in New York making the playoffs and winning the division. Think about it. CC Sabathia, if healthy, will win 15-19 games. Hiroki Kuroda shows no signs of slowing down. And the lineup should do enough against average and bad pitching and show-up in spots in the big games against better pitchers, especially when the team gets to full strength.
What puts New York over the edge and earns a playoff spot with another possible American League East division crown? 15-18 wins from Andy Pettitte, that's what. Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes are unknowns. But if the Sabathia-Kuroda duo gets a helping hand of 15 wins from the grizzled lefty, the Yanks have a great shot at winning the division.
And that's why Andy Pettitte came back yet again. And that's why the Yanks took yet another chance on him. One more October.
By: Mike Lindsley, "Mid-Day with Mike," 1-4, Yankees pre/post game host on 104.5 The Team ESPN Radio. Follow him on Twitter @MikeLSports.