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ALCS: Yankees hope Andy Pettitte stabilizes rotation in Game 3

Andy Pettitte

Andy Pettitte Credit: Getty

A long layoff didn’t affect Andy Pettitte one bit going into the ALDS last week. And that’s a good thing, considering how CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes just performed in the Yankees’ ALCS split against the Texas Rangers after sitting a week.

As they return to Yankee Stadium for Game 3 tonight, the Yankees can only hope Pettitte can keep a hard-hitting Rangers lineup from exploiting him in the early innings, as it did Sabathia and Hughes.

Hughes gave up five runs in the first three innings Saturday, and Sabathia allowed five early Friday. So much for what had been dominant starting pitching.

“Our starters have not pitched well so far,” manager Joe Girardi said. “Our starters pitched extremely well and everyone was giddy about them the last series. I don’t ever get involved in snapshot pictures because those can be dangerous.”

In all, Sabathia and Hughes allowed 12 runs over eight innings for a 13.50 ERA. And the Yanks have to face Rangers ace Cliff Lee and his 3.18 season ERA. In seven postseason starts, Lee is 6-0 with a 1.44 ERA.

Runs may come at a premium. Pettitte knows it. But typically, he is keeping a low-key attitude about it.

“I’ve made so many postseason starts and they’ve all seemed so big,” said Pettitte, who is 19-9 in 42 playoff starts. “It’s another game. I just hope I can go out and get in a good rhythm and get everything working like I want it to be working.”

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