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New York Yankees Michael Pineda an “Enigma”

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Being a Yankee fan sometimes you have a ball player on your team that tends to drive you crazy. Michael Pineda is that player for me. Watching him pitch can give you ulcers. He sometimes look like the best pitcher in baseball and at other times one of the worst and this can happen all in the same game. Usually his problems start in the first inning, but by the second inning he appears to straighten himself out but is usually behind 2 to 3 runs.

He pitches real well for the next four to five innings and then will give up a home run, so by the time he is taken out of the game he has given up at least five runs as shown by his 5.12 ERA.

He teases for those four to five innings pitching lights out, but in the end his 6-11 record and current high ERA, is what he has earned by the up and down pitching. This is by a pitcher who has a tremendous slider and a 95-97 miles per hour fastball. I’ve seen lesser pitchers who win with a lot less stuff.

Pineda was traded to the Yankees from the Seattle Mariners on January 23, 2012, for pitcher Hector Noesi and catcher Jesus Montero. The Yankees also received a minor leaguer named Vicente Campos who has since been traded.

The Dominican native was injured before the 2012 season and did not make his first appearance with the Yankees until the 2014 season. With the Mariners in 2011, he had 9 wins and 10 losses with an ERA of 3.74 and appeared to have a very promising future.

In 2014, Pineda was 5-5 with a 1.89 ERA, which caused a lot of excitement in Yankee land. We were all looking forward to the 2015 season where we pictured Pineda to be the #2 starter in the rotation. He did finish 12-10 with a 4.57 ERA, highlighted by striking out 16 Baltimore Orioles batters in one game.

It appeared after that game he was not the same pitcher the rest of the season and 2016 brought us some hope.

Photo by Charles Wenzelberg

Photo by Charles Wenzelberg

The 2016 season has been a major disappointment for Pineda. He started terribly and always had a habit of giving up big hits with 2 outs and 2 strikes to batters. I watched most of his starts and I can tell you I would have traded him at the deadline. He was so bad that the Yankees were going to option him out to the minors in mid-year but lo and behold Pineda had one of his best games and the Yankees decided to keep him.

He went through several starts where he looked decent, still giving up big hits but at least giving the team some length and did win some games. Now the Yankees have decided to go younger, and to our surprise they are playing well enough to still be in the hunt for the last Wild Card spot.

Pineda has again lost big game after big game and is winless in his last three starts, averaging over five runs per game. A case can be made that the relievers have not helped him as they have let inherited runners score, but Pineda has only himself to blame by putting the runners on, continuing to give up hit after hit when he has the hitters on the ropes.

He refusing to throw his change up which could help him keep the batters off his slider and fastball. I would hate to see the Yankees trade him this winter and he become a great pitcher with another team but what options do they have, when he has not shown any improvement for the team to build on.

If the Yankees don’t make the playoffs, Pineda would be one of the major culprits. He could turn it around and win his last six starts and the Yankees would have a better chance of getting the last Wild Card spot, but I won’t hold my breath.

Pineda’s career stats:

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Elias is a native of the Bronx, NY and a lifelong baseball fan. In High School, he once pitched a gem on the same field as Ed Kranepool and grew up rooting for both the Mets and the Yankees. Elias is a retired NYPD and Ocala, FL Detective and spends his quality time with family and writing about the game he loves.

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