Pineda allowed two runs on four hits and three walks over four innings in a no-decision against the Reds on Saturday. He struck out four. It looked like it might be a very short night for Pineda as he allowed a run on two hits and a walk before even recording an out. Devin Smeltzer was warming up to potentially replace Pineda early in the game, but Pineda rebounded and went on to retire five straight hitters to end his night. Pineda made five regular-season starts after returning from suspension, posting a 3.38 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 25:7 K:BB in 26.2 innings, and he did not allow a single home run all year. The 31-year-old is in line to start the third playoff game for Minnesota; he could potentially work in tandem with Rich Hill early on in the postseason.
Pineda (2-0) earned the win over the Cubs on Saturday, pitching five innings and allowing one run on four hits and no walks. Pineda only struck out one but was nonetheless effective, holding Chicago to a single run to pick up his second victory of the campaign. Since returning to the mound on Sept. 1, the veteran right-hander has posted a 3.18 ERA and 1.10 WHIP over 22.2 innings covering four starts. That has allowed him to stake a claim in Minnesota's rotation, though it's not yet clear how the Twins will line their starters up for the three-game opening round of the playoffs. Pineda will have one more tuneup prior to the postseason, currently scheduled for Friday at home against the Reds.
Pineda allowed three runs on eight hits and a walk over 4.2 innings Sunday, striking out eight in the win over Cleveland. He did not factor in the decision. Pineda wasn't especially effective Sunday, needing 98 pitches to get through just 4.2 innings. He yielded an RBI single to Carlos Santana in the first inning before another two runs scored in the third. The veteran right-hander owns a 3.57 ERA in 17.2 innings this season. Pineda will look for his second win when he takes on the Cubs in Chicago on Saturday.
Pineda (1-0) picked up the win Monday against Detroit, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks across seven innings. He struck out eight. After notching a quality start in his season debut Sept. 1, Pineda was even better Monday against the Tigers. Detroit pushed a run across in the fourth and added one more in the seventh, but the right-hander was nearly flawless outside of those two innings. The 31-year-old has allowed just three runs across 13 innings, while posting a strong 12:3 K:BB. He will take a 2.77 ERA and 0.92 WHIP into his next start, which figures to come either over the weekend vs. the Indians or early in the following series against the White Sox.
Pineda is slated to make his next start at home in Monday's series finale with the Tigers, Do-Hyoung Park of MLB.com reports. Pineda returned from a suspension to make his season debut Tuesday, working six innings and giving up two runs en route to taking a non-decision against the White Sox. Despite an off day Thursday that would have allowed the Twins to temporarily keep all of their starters on four days' rest, manager Rocco Baldelli will instead opt for a bullpen game for one half of Friday's doubleheader with Detroit. That will result in Pineda missing out on his second start of the week Sunday, and the right-hander may need a strong showing Monday to maintain a permanent rotation spot. Minnesota could get Jake Odorizzi (abdomen) back from the injured list as soon as next week, and his return would likely prompt Baldelli to move one of Pineda or Randy Dobnak to the bullpen in order to keep a five-man rotation intact.