Andy Pettitte is your new all-time leader in strikeouts for the Yankees.
Pettitte fanned Twins first baseman Justin Morneau in the bottom of the third inning tonight for his 1,958th strikeout with the club, passing Whitey Ford for first in team history. You can watch the strikeout here.
Pettitte entered tonight’s action needing just two strikeouts to pass Ford. The 41-year-old southpaw struck out Clete Thomas swinging in the second inning before fanning Morneau in the third. They were his only two strikeouts for the night, as he allowed four runs on four runs on six hits and four walks over five innings before exiting.
Ford sat atop the strikeout leaderboard with the Yankees for nearly 50 years, as he passed Red Ruffing for the franchise lead on September 9, 1963. The Hall of Famer is still first in franchise history with 236 wins. Pettitte has 213 wins with the Bombers. That record appears pretty safe for the foreseeable future.
I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.
Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.
This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.
Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.