With a healthy Andy Pettitte, the New York Yankees are the team to beat in October


Don’t be shocked if Andy Pettitte wins a sixth World Series title this autumn.

Appearing for the first time since fracturing his fibula near his left ankle on June 27, Andy Pettitte pitched five shutout innings to lead the Bombers to a 4-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays yesterday afternoon at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

“My arm feels great. My break area feels great. I’m a hundred percent,” said Pettitte, 40, a member of the “Core Four” who was the winningest hurler in the 2000s. “Just real happy with how my arm is feeling. More than anything it’s my legs. I just got to get my legs back in shape.”

The 6-foot-5, 225 pound Pettitte (4-3, 2.97 ERA), whose 19 postseason victories are the most in Major League Baseball history, will greatly bolster a Yankees (84-63, 44-29 home) rotation featuring CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova.

Performing in his 17th season, the towering Texan, who has amassed 243 wins, in comparison to a measly 141 losses, for a 3.87 ERA, is the player capable of separating New York from the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays over the final 14 games.

As a southpaw with an exceptional pickoff move to first base, Pettitte, a three-time All-Star whose captured five crowns in pinstripes, will balance the Yankees’ arms and give the team arguably the best staff heading into October.

Blessed with an elite bullpen, and an explosive offense now able to manufacture runs with the presence of speedster Ichiro Suzuki, the Bombers have a legitimate opportunity to capture their 28th World Series championship in franchise history roughly six weeks from tonight.

No matter the ultimate outcome, excluding the irreplaceable Mariano Rivera, the New York Yankees should somewhat miraculously enter the playoffs at “a hundred percent.”

As Billy the Kid said in Young Guns, “I like these odds!”

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