Tag:Michael Pineda
Posted on: June 6, 2011 4:50 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 5:19 pm
 

On Deck: It's opposite day

OD

By Matt Snyder


We've actually got a decent slate of games for a Monday night, with 22 teams in action. Plus, there's the MLB Draft, so it's actually a nice little Monday in terms of the middle of the MLB season. Let's dive in and take a look at three matchups chock full of contradictions.

BACK TO THE PACK: The Twins have won four in a row for the first time all season. The Indians have lost four in a row for the first time all season. Of course, seeing a Twins' winning streak and Indians' losing streak wouldn't have been so surprising if things went the way they were predicted to have gone this season. Most expected the Tribe to be where the Twins are and the Twins to be toward the top. So are the recent surges simply a correction, or just a fluke? Time will tell, but the Indians still lead the Twins by 12 1/2 games. On the hill Monday evening for the Indians is Josh Tomlin (7-2, 3.27), while Scott Baker (2-4, 3.86) gets the ball for the Twins. Minnesota at Cleveland, 7:05 p.m. ET.

CREW TURNING TIDE: The Brewers went down to Florida with a 9-19 road record. The Marlins were 14-12 at home and right at the heels of the Phillies in the NL East. Three games later, the Brewers are in position to complete a four-game sweep in Miami. Late heroics have sparked the Brew Crew -- they've won each of the three games by one run, twice with homers in their final at-bat and once with a two-run seventh. So far in 2011, the two pitchers taking the hill Monday night haven't performed to expectations. Zack Greinke (4-1, 5.29) has been blessed with pretty incredible run support, as the Brewers have scored 29 runs in his past four starts. That accounts for his good record despite only three quality starts in six tries. On the other side, Javier Vazquez (3-4, 6.02) has been pretty bad for the Marlins this year in his return to the NL East, but he's got a 2.84 ERA with 15 strikeouts and three walks in his past three starts. Milwaukee at Florida, 7:10 p.m. ET.

BOOM VS. BUST: The White Sox host the Mariners and, again, the fact that the Mariners have a better record at this point in the season would have been quite the surprising prediction back in March. Not only that, but back in March John Danks was expected to be a reliable starter for the White Sox while there were questions about whether Michael Pineda would be held down in the minors for one more year of seasoning. Instead, Danks sits at 0-8 with a 5.25 ERA and appears to have lost all his confidence. Meanwhile, Pineda is one of the top pitchers in the American League and a bona fide Rookie of the Year contender (if not front-runner). Is Monday when their respective fortunes continue or reverse? Seattle at Chicago, 8:10 p.m. ET.

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Posted on: May 16, 2011 4:13 pm
Edited on: May 16, 2011 10:12 pm
 

On Deck: Something's gotta give

Giants
OD

By Matt Snyder


In a stat that may only interest me, Monday night features six games pitting teams against each other that have either won or lost at least two games, meaning even modest "streaks" are going to be broken. The Padres-Diamondbacks, for example, isn't overly exciting just because both teams have won two straight games. The Phillies-Cardinals game (Phils have dropped two straight, the Cardinals three) is a nice match, but not because of the modest losing streaks. The Yankees (lost five straight) and Rays (lost two straight) is a big series because they're the top two teams in the very tight AL East. There are, however, two pretty extreme "something's gotta give" examples -- one on each end of the spectrum.

STREAK-BREAKERS, WINNING EDITION: The Blue Jays have won five in a row. The only team with a longer current winning streak is the Tigers, their foe Monday night in Detroit. The Tigers bring in a seven-game winning streak that has brought them to within 3 1/2 games of the surprising Indians, who sport the best record in baseball. Taking the hill for the Tigers is Max Scherzer, who is 6-0 with a 3.20 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 50 2/3 innings thus far in 2011. He'll have the task of dealing with the hot-swinging Blue Jays' lineup, specifically Jose Bautista. Bautista is pretty clearly the best hitter in baseball right now, and it's not even close. He leads the majors in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, runs, walks and home runs. His .368 batting average is tops in the AL and his 284 OPS-plus is insane. His three-homer game Sunday was yet another exclamation point. Toronto at Detroit, WATCH LIVE SCORING.

STREAK-BREAKERS, LOSING EDITION: The Mariners have lost six games in a row. Fortunately for them, they don't have the longest streak of futility in the majors at present, because the Twins have lost eight straight. Late Monday night, the two last-place teams will square off in Safeco Field, and the good news is someone has to win. Surprisingly enough, it's actually a good pitching matchup. Scott Baker (2-2, 3.71) was roughed up last time out, but had a 1.59 ERA in his previous four starts and is striking out batters at a pretty high rate. Michael Pineda (4-2, 2.84) has been much better, though. He's struck out 45 in his 44 1/3 innings as a rookie and looks every bit the future ace he was projected to be. Considering the two offenses are the lowest scoring in the AL, this one could be a quickie. Minnesota at Seattle, WATCH LIVE SCORING.

UNDERRATED PITCHING MATCHUP: At first glance, Carlos Zambrano vs. Homer Bailey isn't an elite duel. Bailey (2-0, 0.69) brings in a hot start and is still young enough to be reaching a ceiling many thought was that of a top-of-the-line ace earlier in his development. Zambrano (4-1, 4.35) is actually 4-0 on the road this season and has a really good track record against the Reds and in Great American Ball Park. He owns Scott Rolen (.229 OBP in 48 plate appearances) and has had good success against Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce. Zambrano's career line at GABP is 9-2 with a 2.90 ERA with 73 strikeouts in 87 innings. Oh, he also has three home runs and an. 804 OPS in 39 career plate appearances at GABP. Chicago (NL) at Cincinnati, WATCH LIVE SCORING.

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Posted on: April 13, 2011 1:48 am
Edited on: April 13, 2011 2:21 pm
 

3 up, 3 down for 4/12: Alexei's missiles

By Matt Snyder

3UP

Alexei Ramirez, White Sox. The Cuban Missile launched a few bombs of his own Tuesday night, the latter of which emphatically ended an extra-innings victory for the White Sox. All told, he scored three of the White Sox's six runs and drove home four of them.

Tommy Hanson, Braves. The Braves entered the game having lost of five of six games while Hanson was 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA after two starts. With the offense entering the game reeling, a big pitching performance was needed to ease some of the pressure, and Hanson came through. The 24 year old worked seven shutout innings against the Marlins, only allowing four hits and two walks while striking out five. The outing -- along with the five runs the offense scored -- should be enough to get the team back on track.

Michael Pineda, Mariners. The burly right-hander is a specimin, I tell you. He stands at 6-foot-7 and hits up to 99 on the radar gun. Through seven shutout innings, he was absolutely dealing for the Mariners. They tried to get one more out of him and he didn't have enough steam left to finish the eighth. Still, he ended with 7 1/3 innings, five hits, two earned runs and seven strikeouts against a pretty potent offense in the Blue Jays. He picked up his first career win in his first career start at Safeco Field. 

3DOWN

The Cubs. What a disaster. Poor planning left this one an obvious loss for the Cubs. The players sure played like they expected to lose, too. Let's see ... three errors, Tyler Colvin loses a fly ball, back-to-back Astros bunt singles began the start for relief pitcher James Russell -- who was on a 55-pitch count by the way -- and you have the recipe for an 11-2 loss. To be fair to Russell, his final line shouldn't have looked near as bad. Nearly every batted ball found a hole and the defense was atrocious behind him. Plus, he's a reliever that was trying to get through three innings before the Cubs emptied the rest of the bullpen (is it spring training?). One Chicago outlet said Jeff Samardzija was a "bright spot." Really? He allowed three hits, a walk and two earned runs to the Astros in three innings. I'll grant it was probably the best he's ever looked, but that's not saying much at all. Just erase this one from memory and move on.

Cardinals pitching staff. Not to be outdone by their rivals, the Cardinals coughed up 13 runs to the Diamondbacks. Considering Chris Carpenter was taking the hill, this one has to be considered worse. He was lit up for eight runs on eight hits and three walks in just four innings. He gave up a reported 478-foot bomb to Justin Upton. What's worse for the Cards, the offense actually crawled back into the game -- cutting it to 9-8 at one point -- but then the middle relief melted down. The final tally: 13-8 D-Backs.

Cory Luebke, Padres. Well, he got two outs in the top of the 11th, but then everything unraveled. The blow-by-blow for the rest of the inning reads as follows: single, double, walk, single single, homer to dead center, groundout. That's six runs on five hits, including a mammoth exclamation point by Drew Stubbs to make it 8-2 -- the eventual final. Have fun trying to chip away at that ERA now an inning at a time, Cory. That's quite the unappealing uphill battle.

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Posted on: April 5, 2011 11:24 pm
 

Six young arms impress on Tuesday

By Matt Snyder

One of my favorite things early in the season is when we get to the fourth and fifth games for each team -- because it's often the first look we get in the new campaign at a bevy of young starting pitchers. Whether the pitcher is making his debut, his first major-league start, or entering a season where he's expected to take a big step forward, it's always interesting to see how he fares. There were many on impressive display Tuesday. Let's take a look, remembering this snapshot excludes already-established stars like Clayton Kershaw and Yovani Gallardo (and obviously excludes stink-bomb outings like we saw from Madison Bumgarner and Luke Hochevar).

Andrew Cashner, Cubs. He'd never made a major-league start until Tuesday and I still noticed scouting types on Twitter saying he's still best suited as a reliever, but Cashner looked pretty solid before his injury . A bullpen meltdown prevented him from getting the victory, but only three baserunners and one run were given up through 5 1/3 innings. Perhaps most impressive was his efficiency, as he only threw 72 pitches.

Josh Tomlin, Indians. The 26-year-old is still a rookie despite making 12 starts last season and he handcuffed the Red Sox's vaunted offense. He worked seven innings, only giving up three hits and one run.

Mike Leake, Reds. After a huge start -- one where he completely bypassed the minor leagues -- Leake finished 2010 by going 3-4 with a 6.47 ERA after the first week of June. He would have began this season in the minors had it not been for injuries to Johnny Cueto and Homer Bailey, in all likelihood. Tuesday, Leake came out and threw six innings, only letting the Astros collect three hits, two walks and two earned runs. He got the "W" as the Reds moved to 4-0.

Michael Pineda, Mariners. Much discussion centered on if the Mariners should have let this prospect start the season in the majors, due to service time concerns. In terms of what he can do on the hill, there was no question he belonged. He showed it against a very potent Texas offense Tuesday. He took the loss, but threw six innings and held the Rangers to three earned runs. He struck out four, only walked one and showed his power pitching skills on several occasions. Keep an eye on this one.

Alexi Ogando, Rangers. With much of the attention on his counterpart, Ogando went out and gave the Rangers six shutout innings. The 27-year-old had 44 outings last season, but this marked his first career start in the bigs. He's ticketed back to the bullpen when Tommy Hunter returns from injury, but string a few more of these together and it's a really problem in Texas.

Jhoulys Chacin, Rockies. The 23-year-old has shown brief flashes of brilliance in his early career, but hasn't had the chance to turn national heads yet. Tuesday against the Dodgers -- a team which just took three of four from the defending champs -- Chacin tossed seven shutout innings. He struck out four and outdueled Clayton Kershaw.

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Posted on: March 28, 2011 5:42 pm
 

Michael Pineda makes Mariners rotation

Pineda

By Evan Brunell

The Mariners have decided to go with phenom Michael Pineda in the No. 5 spot of the rotation, as Geoff Baker reports on Twitter.

This is a surprise, as Pineda is just 22 and it would have been entirely justifiable for the Mariners to send him to Triple-A for some more seasoning and wait until June to promote Pineda. By allowing Pineda to break camp with the team, Pineda could hit free agency after the 2016 season. Of course, this is all assuming Pineda stays in the majors and doesn't lose service time in the future, but it is difficult to imagine Pineda blowing up and requiring a demotion. The Mariners would not have made the move to Pineda without being fully confident in both his current talent and ability to sustain it over a full year.

The right-hander was recently named the No. 20 prospect in all of baseball by CBS Sports and could eventually emerge to give the team a wicked complement to Felix Hernandez atop the order.

Pineda split 2010 between Double- and Triple-A, making 13 starts in the lesser league and earning a 2.33 ERA in 77 innings, walking 17 and whiffing 78. While he would walk 17 in Triple-A as well in less innings (62 1/3), he also dialed up his whiff proficiency, seating 76 by way of the K. Due to some bad luck, he finished his Triple-A season with a 4.76 ERA in 13 starts.

Now, Pineda will hit the majors and give fans and Ichiro Suzuki something to get excited about. There's promise in the Emerald City with Pineda hitting the majors and Justin Smoak manning first base after being acquired in the Cliff Lee trade. Top hitting prospect Dustin Ackley, who was ranked No. 8 among the top 100 list, will hit the majors at some point this season and take over second base. It will take some time for all the talent to gel together, but there's cause for real optimism.

Pineda will bring up the back of a rotation headlined by Hernandez and followed by Jason Vargas, Doug Fister and Erik Bedard.

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Posted on: March 16, 2011 11:02 am
Edited on: March 16, 2011 12:34 pm
 

Pepper: Sign spring's end is near



By Matt Snyder


How can you best tell when spring is winding down and the real Major League Baseball season is nearing? Well, a few things. The snow finally stops falling. I guess, though this year who really knows. It's liable to snow at some places into May at this rate. Another good sign is watching the NCAA basketball tournament on CBS (shameless plug alert). How about baseball teams starting to name -- or get close to naming -- a fifth starting pitcher? That's a pretty good one, and it's happening in a lot of different places right now.

We've already passed along that Mark Rogers has been demoted, which leaves Wily Peralta the Brewers' likely five . We've also noted Michael Pineda being in Seattle's driver's seat as well. But there are plenty more.

Esmil Rogers looks like he's opening up a lead over John Maine and Greg Reynolds for the Rockies, after working five innings Tuesday and only facing the minimum 15 batters. (Denver Post )

Brandon McCarthy has gotten in the good graces of manager Bob Geren for being "impressive" and "consistent" in looking to win the A's fifth starting job behind a pretty underrated top four of Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Dallas Braden and Gio Gonzalez. (San Francisco Chronicle )

Ever since Adam Wainwright went down with injury and the Cardinals said they were going to look internally, Kyle McClellan has been the front-runner to take the remaining spot. And every outing since then, he's gotten rave reviews and been tabbed as the front-runner. Thus, it would be pretty shocking if he didn't get the job. Still, the word from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is that McClellan is merely "closer" to getting the nod.

Speaking of shocking, it would be just as shocking if Randy Wells doesn't win one of the Cubs' two remaining rotation slots. He's throwing well this spring and has the past experience. It also appears that former first-round pick Andrew Cashner is putting some distance between himself and the rest of the field as well. We'll get back to Cashner in a second. (MLB.com )

Of course, there is one team a bit behind the curve here. The Texas Rangers, your defending American League champs, still have a whopping seven guys in the mix for two spots. If a decision is made to start Neftali Feliz, one that seems increasingly likely with each passing day, that narrows the field to six guys for one spot. Those six: Derek Holland, Matt Harrison, Michael Kirkman, Alexi Ogando, Dave Bush and Eric Hurley. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram )

THE PROFESSOR: Of the two nicknames you see listed for Greg Maddux on baseball-reference.com, I always preferred "the Professor," even though it's nowhere near mainstream. He was so much more cerebral than his opposition, seemingly getting guys out just with his mind. Thus, it's only fitting he's passing along some knowledge to Cashner in Cubs camp as a special assistant. His latest nugget? "Walks are overrated." It's not surprising, coming from a guy who probably never walked someone by accident in his prime. Those who remember watching him in the mid-90s are nodding in agreement. You could feel when Maddux was walking someone on purpose; otherwise it didn't happen. Oh, and if Maddux's wisdom isn't enough, Kerry Wood has also taken Cashner under his wing. (Chicago Tribune )

RUSSELL THE MUSCLE: Hey, someone has to fill the void left by Mark Reynolds -- both in terms of power and strikeouts. Despite his lackluster defense -- which is reportedly a concern for manager Kirk Gibson -- Russell Branyan is turning heads by killing the ball this spring, to the tune of a 1.274 OPS. And don't scoff. While Branyan has a bad batting average and strikeout issues, his career OPS-plus is 115 and he averages 31 home runs over the course of 162 games. He need only hold off Juan Miranda and once-big prospect Brandon Allen. (MLB.com )

NO WORRIES: Clayton Kershaw was torched Tuesday by the Rangers, but Dodgers manager Don Mattingly isn't worried about his likely ace. Nor should he be, considering it's only the spring and Kershaw entered the game with a 0.00 ERA through 11 1/3 innings. (Los Angeles Times )

SWITCHBACK: Prior to the ALDS last year, the rules for the dreaded catwalk at Tropicana Field were altered, but now those rules are reverting back to where they were in the regular season of 2010. Check out the complete list on St. Petersburg Times .

GETTING GRADY BACK: Sunday could be the day. Grady Sizemore hasn't seen game action in about 10 months, but reportedly he has a real shot to play Sunday. Obviously huge news for the Tribe. (Cleveland.com )

KEEPING DICE-K: There's been a lot of talk about the Red Sox trading Daisuke Matsuzaka of late. Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe makes a good case to fans that Dice-K is actually a pretty average major-league pitcher and that, as the fifth starter, that's really all the team needs. Put the absurd salary aside and just enjoy the good Red Sox team, he pleads. I tend to agree. (Boston Globe )

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Posted on: March 14, 2011 4:28 pm
Edited on: March 14, 2011 5:46 pm
 

Seattle's Robertson to have surgery

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Michael PinedaMariners right-hander Nate Robertson will undergo elbow surgery on Wednesday, aidig the case of the team's top pitching prospect, Michael Pineda (right), as the team's fifth starter.

Robertson's surgery will remove "loose bodies" from his left elbow and won't be able to throw for four weeks after the surgery.

Robertson made two spring starts and was 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA. He'd allowed 11 hits and six earned runs in seven innings pitched, along with seven strikeouts and two walks.

Robertson told the Seattle Times he would likely be ready to pitch for the Mariners by early June. He also said he was told by the team they'd like to keep him going forward. He signed a minor-league deal with the team in January. He was 6-8 with a 5.95 ERA with the Marlins and Phillies last season.

Pineda, a 22-year old right-hander, is the team's top pitching prospect. He's appeared in three games this spring, starting two, and allowed two earned runs in seven innings. He's struck out five and walked three, while allowing five hits.

Pineda can hit triple digits with his fastball and has shown improvement in his slider and changeup. He's expected to pitch again on Thursday against the Royals.

Pineda is already on the team's 40-man roster.

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Posted on: March 12, 2011 5:07 pm
Edited on: March 12, 2011 5:23 pm
 

Mariners top prospect Pineda to make rotation?

PinedaBy Evan Brunell

Former Nationals GM Jim Bowden is now a host on MLB Network radio and tweeted the Mariners rotation as he sees it after discussing it with manager Eric Wedge and GM Jack Zduriencik.

Topping the rotation to no one's surprise is Felix Hernandez, the AL Cy Young Award winner this past season. Behind him are Jason Vargas and Doug Fister -- soft-tossing pitchers with some success at the major-league level, but nothing to write home about. Vargas did have a 3.78 ERA in 31 starts over 192 2/3 innings, but clearly benefited from Safeco Field -- his home ERA was 2.86, away 4.85 while his overall xFIP was 4.82.

Fister, meanwhile, had a 4.11 ERA in 28 starts and 171 innings pitched, but paired his stingy 1.7 BB/9 rate with a 4.9 K/9 mark. His xFIP was actually intriguingly close to his ERA at 4.27, but exhibited drastic first- and second-half splits. Prior to the All-Star Game, Fister had a 3.09 ERA in 13 starts that spiked to 5.09 in 15 post-break starts.

It's the two starters behind Vargas and Fister that are intriguing. The No. 4 starter appears to be Erik Bedard, with good reports coming out of camp that the lefty is healthy and ready to contribute. When Bedard has been able to take the field the last three years (and not at all in 2010), he has delivered on the promise he flashed in 2009-09 with the Orioles. If Bedard can put together a full season, he could easily be the club's No. 2 starter.

The No. 5 starter appears to be Michael Pineda, the No. 20 prospect in CBSSports.com's Top 100 Prospects list. This isn't a surprise, as Pineda's talents are exceptional and appears near-ready for the majors. However, to come out with Pineda starting the season in the rotation is a bit odd. While money shouldn't be a major influence in a player's arrival in the majors, that's doubly so for big-market teams and/or those in competition. The Giants, for example, won the World Series on the back of Rookie of the Year Buster Posey, who was held down until late May. The Giants ended up needing the final day of the regular season to win the division.

However, the Mariners harbor no illusions that they are not better than the Rangers and Athletics, if not the Angels as well. While .500 is not out of reach for Seattle, the added value of keeping Pineda down until he wouldn't qualify for being a Super Two arbitration-eligible player seems worth more than having Pineda grab 32 starts with the big-league club. While Seattle is a big-market team, that doesn't mean the M's shouldn't take advantage of the rules.

Plus, Pineda hasn't torn apart Triple-A yet and only has 12 starts at that level. The 22-year-old posted a 4.76 ERA last year in those 12 starts after a 2.22 mark in 13 starts. Pineda's strikeout and walk rates in Triple-A held steady, but coughed up a few extra home runs that was likely the difference in the ERA. There just doesn't appear to be an overwhelming reason to bring Pineda up immediately along with No. 8 prospect Dustin Ackley who is preparing to become the second baseman.

Once the calendar flips to June, absolutely bring up Pineda and Ackley. Until then, the Mariners need to focus on getting these players additional seasoning at Triple-A and delaying their clocks as long as possible. 

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com