Michael Pineda Countdown: One Start Left


Of all the things to be doing tonight, a handful of people found themselves watching a Mariners game.  This game wasn’t unlike other Mariners games: they lost, they couldn’t hit for the most part, and there was a young rookie on the mound flashing some heat.  All in all, a typical Mariners Saturday night.

This night, however, was more than just a typical night for one player.  While the Mariners are out of the pennant race, there is one player on the team still in a race.  One player still vying for an accolade.  That race is for the Rookie of the Year award.  He only has one start left, and he has to make the best of it if he wants to make his case.

His name is Michael Pineda.

Tonight, he nearly was the most dominant he has been all season.  He struggled early in the game, but after he settled down, he settled into a nice groove that made the Royals look foolish throughout the rest of the night.  He went the longest he had ever gone: eight full innings.  Michael Pineda looked great tonight, and if there were any baseball fans watching, they must’ve enjoyed it.

The Mariners are far out of any race.  Pineda is still in the thick of it.

Michael Pineda brought his good stuff tonight.  To showcase, I present Billy Butler, who struck on on three pitches, of which each one he swung at:

Two of them were well out of the zone.  Butler isn’t a bad player, but they goes to show you how silly Pineda can make batters look.  Pineda made him look silly.  Flat out silly.  Looking at the numbers, he made the Royals look silly swinging the bats 19 times, and that’s out of 53 attempts: a 35.8% swinging strike rate.  Let’s look at a chart, shall we?

It’s not like the Royals are a bad team.  Obviously, they aren’t a free swinging team, or we’d see a dramatic difference in total swings.  It’s not like they aren’t seeing the ball well, because they are fifth overall in baseball in average and third overall with hits.  The Royals can swing the bat.  But tonight, while they did swing the bat well enough to get the win, Michael Pineda made most of them look dumb.  A SwStr% of 35.8 is ridiculous.  During Blake Beavan‘s last start, he produced an 18.6% swinging strike rate.  I’m excited for the future of the Mariners and Michael Pineda.  If he can make his delivery consistent, he’ll be a cornerstone of the rotation.

There isn’t much to talk about offense wise, because the Mariners only had two hits.  Each of those hits were solo shots, one by Justin Smoak, and one by Mike Carp.  There are a couple different story-lines here, so let’s examine further, shall we?  Smoak’s homer was hit a good 390 feet, a row or so back from the fence.  This is great news – the replay shows he has great hip-shoulder separation, so I would assume he’s getting close to completely healthy.  That, and he hit that jack from the left-side of the plate, so he doesn’t have to wear that silly Arbiter helmet.

Mike Carp almost went 2-for-3, in that, Jeff Francoeur robbed a homerun from him in the bottom of the seventh.  To make matters worse, in the top of the ninth, Francoeur hit a bomb into the Mariners bullpen off of Tom Wilhelmsen.  Frenchy does not like it here.  Or maybe he does like it here.  He probably likes it here very much.

I thought that Carp’s defense would be suspect at best, but in the top of the ninth, he made a diving catch to rob Eric Hosmer of extra-bases.  It wasn’t the prettiest, sleekest catch, but he got the job done.  I wouldn’t complain if he played left field while Smoak played first.

Ooo-boy this game is frustrating, mostly because the Mariners threw away a great Pineda start.  Yikes – maybe he can get use to it now?  Gotta prepare for the future, right?  Most of the credit for the Mariners demise should go to Felipe Paulino.  He had great control and stuff over the course of the night, and he occasionally touched 98 mph.  He stayed ahead in the count, and made most of the Mariners look silly.  Hey! Isn’t that what Pineda did, too?

  • Baseball.  We saw Miguel Olivo almost hit for the cycle last night, and the Mariners all around had great offense.  Tonight, other than two solo homeruns, they couldn’t get a runner in scoring position.  Baseball.
  • As great as Pineda was, Paulino was just as good, striking out 11 while walking zero.  If this is the future of Paulino, then the Rockies are sure in for a treat.  Oh wait! Silly me!
  • No Tim Collins sighting.  Still on watch.  Still pipe dreams.

The Mariners and Royals now have the same amount of wins.  Now it’s a race for the highest draft pick.


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