For the last three months, no pitcher has been as good as Andy Pettitte.
Pettitte is 13-2 with a 1.50 ERA since June 20—the most wins and best ERA in the major leagues during that span.
After missing the Astros’ postseason run last year because of elbow surgery, and watching them fall one victory short of their first NL pennant, Pettitte wants to do his part this year.
“It was a big series, obviously. All the starts are big right now,” Pettitte said. “I want to win, I want to try to get it done after last year.”
In Thursday’s 4-1 win over Florida, Pettitte allowed a run over eight innings to win his sixth straight start.
Pettitte will try to help the Astros bounce back from Monday’s 7-0 loss in the series opener on Monday. The defeat ended their five-game winning streak reduced their lead over idle Philadelphia to one game in the NL wild-card race.
Snell limited the Astros to three singles over eight innings for his first career victory, and Freddy Sanchez homered among his three extra-base hits against Clemens.
Jose Mesa, removed from the closer’s role earlier this month, pitched the ninth inning in a non-save situation to complete the ninth shutout loss in an Astros’ game started by Clemens this season. Until this season, no pitcher had been shut out as many as eight times in a season since San Diego’s Randy Jones in 1978.
“We’ve just got this demon hanging over our head, and it’s a zero,” manager Phil Garner said.
Pettitte will be going against one of Pittsburgh’s top prospects, lefty Tom Gorzelanny, who will make his major league debut.
“It’s just an honor to make my debut against a team like this,” Gorzelanny said. “Facing off against a guy like Andy Pettitte is going to be amazing. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Gorzelanny went 8-5 with a 3.26 ERA in 23 starts for Double-A Altoona this season.
“I think once Tuesday 3/8 comes, I might get a little nervous,” Gorzelanny added. “But I’m still just looking forward to it, getting ready and getting pumped up about it.”
Pittsburgh has won four straight and five of six.