Pettitte hopes to revert to August form
New York (79-62) at Kansas City (62-78), Saturday, 7:10 p.m. ET
The Yankees, riding a three-game win streak, will turn to Andy Pettitte on Saturday night against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
Pettitte, among the league leaders in innings pitched this season, will be expected to provide another strong effort. In Friday night's win, manager Joe Torre used Joba Chamberlain for six outs and Mariano Rivera and Kyle Farnsworth for one inning apiece.
Chamberlain is definitely unavailable for Saturday and possibly for the rest of the weekend. According to self-imposed team rules, Chamberlain must have one day off for every inning he pitches. Since he threw two innings on Friday, he cannot pitch until Tuesday; Monday is an off-day.
And Pettitte will be expected to provide quality innings, something he has done with frequency all season. He is 8-2 with a 3.16 ERA, having lasted nearly seven innings per start, during the second half.
The Yankees have won six of Pettitte's past seven starts, a stretch in which the lefty is 6-1 with a 2.98 ERA.
And any win for New York is crucial. The team is 1-0 on its nine-game road trip, one that can help provide separation in the American League Wild Card race. Entering Saturday, New York is three games ahead of Detroit.
"We still have to win ballgames no matter if it is against Kansas City or against Boston," Chamberlain said. "We have to win games and be prepared for this last stretch of the season, because every game is important."
New York will face Brian Bannister, arguably the season's best rookie pitcher, for the first time this season. Bannister is 7-1 with a 2.17 ERA and eight quality starts in his last nine outings.Pitching matchup
NYY: LHP Andy Pettitte (12-8, 3.82 ERA)
It was a gamble to ask Pettitte to go after Carlos Pena in the seventh inning last Sunday against Tampa Bay, and the Yankees lost that bet. Out the window went Pettitte's six-start winning streak, but he still showed sharpness, even on a lethargic afternoon in the Bronx. KC: RHP Brian Bannister (12-7, 3.16 ERA)
Bannister continued his fine season with eight impressive innings against the Twins last Sunday. Royals manager Buddy Bell called Bannister the best pitcher he has managed during his career. Bannister, who ranks among the AL leaders in ERA, is 7-1 with a 2.17 ERA in his last nine starts. He has posted nearly identical splits at home (6-4, 3.22 ERA) and on the road (6-3, 3.10 ERA). This will be his first career start against the Yankees.
Player to watch
Alex Rodriguez continues to mount his case for an MVP season after hitting his 49th homer of the season (and the 513th of his career) on Friday night.
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Official game notes On television
YES On radio
WCBS, 92.7 WQBU (Español) Up next
Sunday: Yankees (Chien-Ming Wang, 17-6, 3.68) at Royals (Zack Greinke, 6-5, 3.87), 2:10 p.m. ET
Tuesday: Yankees (Phil Hughes, 2-3, 5.33) at Blue Jays (TBD), 7:07 p.m. ET
Conor Nicholl is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.