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16-10. That’s the record of the first place American League East team, the New York Yankees. The impressive nature of hitting and bullpen use has been leading the ball club to winning an astonishing 13 games out of 17. Although the Yankees’ success has been evident of recent, their pitching rotation still remains wary.
Michael Pineda has proven to be the foundation of the Yankees’ pitching rotation throughout the year. Pineda holds a perfect record of 3-0 and a 3.73 earned run average (ERA). For those who may not know, Pineda was acquired in a trade with the Seattle Mariners in 2012. The Mariners dealt Pineda, in addition they also dealt pitcher Jose Campos, and received catcher Jesus Montero. Montero, at the time, provided an electric feel to the Yankees by hitting .328 in 18 games and slugging four home runs and 28 RBIs.
As the 2015 season had begun, the primary concern for the Yankees, after missing the playoffs yet again, was to stay healthy. Unfortunately, the Yankees have seen a temporary fall to their prized possession in Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka, who has had concerns last year due to a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL), landed on the disabled list due to wrist tendinitis and minor strain in his forearm. In addition to Tanaka’s injury, the Yankees have not been receiving the quality starts from pitcher CC Sabathia as well; as stated earlier, the pitching rotation has been wary and inconsistent. Thus insert Pineda here.
Flashing back to his Mariners’ days, Pineda was an All Star and finished fifth in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2011. In his debut year, he struck out 173 batters in 171.0 innings pitched. In Pineda’s first year with the Yankees, in 2014, he started 13 games and had a winning percentage of .500, winning five games and losing five games. The most impressive statistic of the 2014 season was his ERA being at an all-time career low of 1.89.
Although, as of now, the Yankees lack a true ace, Pineda can provide more trust for not only fans, but the organization as well. Both the fans and organization have waited about three years, due to injuries, to see Pineda at full strength.
If anyone were to say that this was Pineda’s year, you’d be inclined to agree. The opportunity has fallen to Pineda, with the injuries and lack of productions from Tanaka, Sabathia, and Ivan Nova, in which, if capatilized correctly, Pineda could be the considered the new ace of the pitching staff for the Yankees.
*All statistics come from Baseball-Reference.com