these two pitchers have faced each other already twice this season, both times in houston: on may 4, when the astros dealt the cardinals their 4th consecutive loss, and july 9, on sunday night heading into the all-star break, in which izzy blew a save; cards won that context in 12 innings, 7-5. they also pitched against each other in games 1 and (memorably) 5 of the nlcs last season.
pettitte's season has been the reverse of mark mulder's. he couldn't get anyone out for the 1st two months --- as of june 3 his era was 6.03, and his record stood at 4-7. but since then he has gone 9-6 with a 3.20 era, 8th-best in the national league over that 3-month span (carpenter ranks 5th on the same list). interesting fact about that list: of the 10 top eras in the national league, 4 belong to rookies (anibal sanchez, chad billingsley, scott olsen, and matthew cain). not bad for a whole half-season of pitching.
the #1 guy on the list is 902-year-old roger clemens (2.27).
it'll be interesting to see what pettitte, a free agent after this year, commands on the market. the astros surely feel as if they got their money's worth out of the present 3 yr / $31.5m deal -- one trip to the world series, one trip to game 7 of the nlcs (although pettitte admittedly contributed little to that), plus whatever they can muster in 2006. he will turn 35 next june, which ain't that old for a left-handed pitcher; is closing in on 200 wins, and has pitched in 7 world series. this season won't go down as one of his best, but his peripherals are still pretty good, and his BABIP (.338) suggests there's a bit of bad luck polluting his stat line. the hardball times lists his FIP at 3.89, 15th (among 43 qualifiers) in the national league --- ie, a solidly above-average starter . . . . .
he's from texas and likely will give the astros a hometown discount. if he were inclined to move on (doubtful), i think he'd be an outstanding pickup.